Nov 11, 2010
I think Churchill said it best as to why we study History. History
is a great way to see what happened in the past and grow and learn
from it and if we do not pay any attention to it them we are
doomed. I think that it is sad that many schools in the So. Cal
have taken it out of the curriculum, such as the elementry schools
that I have visited. I am training to be a 6th grade History
teacher and I have a feeling that many of my students are going to
come into my class not knowing any prior knowledge. I will have to
change up my lessons some to accomidate this, but I think that the
students may be excited to learn about it because they havent had
much teaching of it. I think that history is very important and I
cant wait to make sure my students understand that as well.
On 11/11/10, Megan R wrote:
> I think that this is a great idea, especially if this is done at
> the beginning of the school year.
> On 10/27/10, veteran history teacher wrote:
>> On 10/25/10, Cathy wrote:
>>> I teach 7th/8th grade history. I would like to teach a
>>> quick one week unit on why we study history. I have a few
>>> ideas, but wondering if anyone has a great lesson they do
>>> for this. Thanks.
>> I do but - the answer to it is surprising.
>> Winston Churchill said we study history to avoid the mistakes
>> of the past. "He who forgets the past is doomed to repeat
>> it." was really what he said and history teachers have used
>> that for years to justify the study of history (although
>> that's not what Churchill was talking about at all really)
>> So I have the kids write down three things in world history -
>> or US history - that they think should never have happened.
>> (natural disasters don't count and the war in Iraq is off-
>> limits, sorry) I tell them they can take three things out of
>> history - what three things will they be?
>> NO conferring with neighbors- just this once. No discussion -
>> just this once.
>> So they do but usually they press me for 'what do you mean -
>> a mistake?' Then I say - something that happened from which
>> NO good came.
>> This list should be three things in human history from which
>> NOTHING positive came.
>> Now they're really thinking...
>> And then when done, I say let's see if we're in consensus on
>> anything. Surprisingly, we're mostly not. Some kids will
>> write down the Holocaust - who wouldn't? - but some protest
>> saying it gave rise to the state of Israel and they see that
>> as good (very touchy subject there)
>> What I'd like is if an entire class could come to consensus
>> on just one thing being a mistake - in that it should not
>> have happened. One year the only thing the kids could agree
>> on as being purely bad with NO positive outcome was the
>> invention of the spray can. ( I'm tempted to agree with that
>> but then we had a kid whose dad was s surgeon who saved lives
>> somehow with spray cans and since then no class will come to
>> consensus again on the spray can)
>> Anyway, the kids love the thought exercise and almost never
>> can 20+ kids ever agree on any one thing in human history
>> having had absolutely no positive outcome at all. Maybe it's
>> a testament to their ability to think positively ( I
>> personally see no good from the Iraq war and that's why I put
>> it off limits from the exercise - to me it's an easy answer
>> to an otherwise hard question)
>> But some of my colleagues say this exercise defeats their
>> purpose of trying to talk kids into studying history. I
>> disagree. It gets them thinking and my kids are too smart
>> anyway to be swooped up by Churchill's comment anyway.
>> Then I spend the year showing them the ins and outs of
>> history - modesty aside, kids like my class and they almost
>> immediately stop asking 'why do we have to study history'
>> because they like the class.
>> History is the rich drama of the human experience - there
>> just can't be anything boring about the mad sweep of people
>> across the planet. All the family of nations is is something
>> like a group of students all jockeying for social status and
>> extra lunch money. If kids are saying history is boring, it
>> can be time to reconsider how we're teaching it.