Teaching With Primary Sources
Teaching with Primary Sources
The Library of Congress’s Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program works with a number of colleges, including Mars Hill, to help teachers use the Library’s vast collection of digitized primary sources to enrich their classroom instruction. We are committed to bringing teachers and school library media specialists professional development with primary sources as its central focus.
What are Primary Sources?
Primary sources are actual records that have survived from the past – perhaps letters, photographs, articles of clothing and music. They are different from secondary sources, which are accounts of events written sometime after they happened.
Primary sources are all around us – in our homes, communities, libraries and museums. The primary sources found at the Library of Congress include documents and books, correspondence, newspapers, advertisements, maps, pamphlets, speeches, public records and music, as well as visual arts items like photographs, paintings, cartoons and films. Millions of these are digitized and accessible by computer.
Why should we use Primary Sources?
Primary sources make your classroom come alive by providing an unfiltered record of artistic, social, scientific and political thought and achievement, produced by people who lived during that period.
Students are enthusiastic about learning directly from primary sources. Use of primary sources in instruction guides students toward higher-order thinking and better critical thinking and analysis skills. Studying primary sources helps students form reasoned conclusions, base their conclusions on evidence, and connect documents to their larger context of meaning. In analyzing primary sources, students move from concrete observations and facts to making inferences about the materials.
What can MHC TPS do?
The TPS staff, dedicated teachers and librarians in your community and Mars Hill College faculty are working together to bring classroom-tested primary source activities to your school. Whether you want face-to-face, online or hybrid environments, we can create a custom workshop that connects your students with the past and makes learning meaningful and engaging. We also host a number of Summer Institutes where teachers can collaborate to develop strategies and materials to bring the power of Primary Sources into their classrooms.