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    Re: Why study history

    11/10/10, HBarbosa
    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.