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Author Topic: How to teach history!
Lewkowski
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It seems that it would be a good idea to get into the minds of people back then to better understand events in US history? Well why not have students study the textbook that they used for oh the first 100 years in America? The New England Primer.

http://my.voyager.net/~jayjo/primer.htm

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Everard
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Probably because what was taught 100 years ago isn't what we'd really want to teach today? Aside from being totally unconstitutional to put in public schools, of course.
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Zyne
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Great idea! We should turn back the clock on the education of doctors and dentists, too. Hell, if it was good enough for Jesus, it ought to be good enough for everyone. Lew, you wanna go first?
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flydye45
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I think the point he is making, all snarking aside Trollette, is that in the beginning, teachers were forced to teach the important things, not transgendered, handicapped studies for 5 year olds.

And quite frankly, there is a point. If I need to "get into the mind" of a racial minority to understand him, how much more do you need to get into the mind of our ancestors, who come up short because of our lack of understanding their worldview.

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TomDavidson
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Yeah, because it's a lot more important to praise the greatness of the Invisible Pink Unicorn than to appreciate the handicapped...?

I'm not sure I get that one. [Smile]

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Everard
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" If I need to "get into the mind" of a racial minority to understand him, how much more do you need to get into the mind of our ancestors, who come up short because of our lack of understanding their worldview"

QUite a bit less. I don't live in the same neighborhood as washington, jefferson, adams, and lincoln, but I do live in the same neighborhood as blacks, hispanics, and asians.

That said, you can't really understand history if you only look at it from the perspective of those on top. Until recently, thats what we've done. The more perspectives you look at, historically, the more complete your understanding of that history will be. Knowing what women were doing during the revolution is important not because they are women and we have to be politically correct, but because women made up half the population, so if we don't look at them, we're ignoring half of the history of that period.

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Ivan
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Are "Humiliation" and "Gratification" really six syllables? The book says to pronounce "tion" as two syllables, but everyone I've spoken two pronounces it as one.
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The Drake
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I didn't post at first, because I wasn't sure what the point was. If you take it at face value, Lew is suggesting that students study the primer, not use the primer as a textbook.

I think looking at literature from various time periods is a useful part of the study of history. But since few people would dispute that, I wondered if Lew had another point to make.

Clarification would be handy.

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TomDavidson
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I suspect that Lew's point was "Look, the Bible was really important back then, mainly because few other works of literature were widely known! It should be just as important for schoolchildren today, and it's a shame it's not!" I use exclamation points because that's how Lew talks in my head.
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Vance
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Hmm. That's not how I read his statement at all. I thought he was saying that understanding the minds that put together and studied the primer would give us greater insight as to how those folks understood their perspective on history, complete with bias, omission, and out-and-out falsehoods.
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Haggis
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I would love to have students compare and contrast that curriculum to the curriculum of a Taliban madrassa.
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Vance
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That would rock!
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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by Vance:
Hmm. That's not how I read his statement at all. I thought he was saying that understanding the minds that put together and studied the primer would give us greater insight as to how those folks understood their perspective on history, complete with bias, omission, and out-and-out falsehoods.

That's certianly what he said. I think Tom is more interested in what he meant, and is attempting, unfortunately, to read his mind.
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Haggis
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Looking at Lew's track record, I have yet to find one one posting that would suggest that he had the slightest interest in bias, omissions, or out-and-out falsehoods, at least from the Christian perspective. So I certainly do understand Tom's skepticism.

However, had you come up with the post, javelin, I would most definitely disagree with Tom.

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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by Haggis:
Looking at Lew's track record, I have yet to find one one posting that would suggest that he had the slightest interest in bias, omissions, or out-and-out falsehoods, at least from the Christian perspective. So I certainly do understand Tom's skepticism.

However, had you come up with the post, javelin, I would most definitely disagree with Tom.

Understood - the track record isn't great, and I appreciate the compliment (well, I think it's one, at least [Smile] ) - but who knows? Maybe, for once, Lew does care about that - we can't know unless he tells us. Probably best to ask and get an answer, then assume - especially since it ISN'T what anyone else is arguing or interested in.

[ November 28, 2005, 02:01 PM: Message edited by: javelin ]

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EDanaII
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Regardless of what Lew was trying to say, in order for you to see depth, you need two eyes, not one. In order to understand the past, you need two perspectives: ours and theirs. Viewing the past with only one point of view leaves one's opinion somewhat flat. [Smile]

Ed.

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Haggis
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jav: Yes, it was a compliment. [Smile]

Lew: How would you use it in a classroom? What learning objectives would you like this curriculum to cover? What would be your lesson plan?

I think the answers to these questions will cover it, not that I'm expecting any.

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The Drake
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Best not to assume. That's my motto. Unless you are assuming the best possible motivations. Then I guess it is okay. [Big Grin]

But I do think that there is a sad lack of any "original" source material used in history. I can understand why this happens, there's very little time to cover hundreds of years of American history - let alone thousands of years of human history.

It's hard to say if original source material would be more effective. Maybe if it were used sparingly, Ken Burns style. I remember vividly the reproduction of a slaver manifest along with a diagram of how slaves were to be stacked in the cargo hold. Chilling, to say the least. But I believe I saw that in a museum, not reproduced in a textbook.

For me, history was dull until I was able to read nuts & bolts books, and actually visit locations or reproductions.

I read about the internment of Japanese-Americans, and I knew it was wrong. But I never got a sense of how awful it was, until I visited a Nevada camp with the original housing in the July heat. Packed together in cots, seeing the actual notice posted in San Francisco demanding that they turn themselves in.

I had the same sense visiting Fort Ticonderoga as a student. Of course, field trips are becoming few and far between, especially with liability and expense issues.

Getting back on track, I think that using more original source material - whether written or artifacts - is probably more effective but also more time consuming. You'd have to sacrifice some historical events in order to cover the remaining ones in more depth.

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Pelegius
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Although historical events have not changed, the study of history has changed a great deal. Lew may not really like the Hegel-inspired history that, with the various reactions to it, has dominated the study of history since Marx, but we will not be helping children by telling them that they need not learn of ideas which are foreign unto them.
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Richard Dey
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There's no sense in teaching history without teaching time. We don't teach chronology anymore because it's the NOW generation?

I've also used time lines giving historical lectures because my up-to-date audiences are such idiots. It really doesn't occur to the modern generation that history is a sequence of events. The idea that one thing follows another and doesn't just 'happen' is seems to annoy them to the point of tuning out.

It's like the kid who asked me why Roland, with his too-late trumpet, hadn't just used his cell phone to get help from Charlemage. It's sadly true [Mad] .

The Primer, unfortunatly, must be restricted to adults today; it's too controversial for children.

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Everard
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"But I do think that there is a sad lack of any "original" source material used in history. I can understand why this happens, there's very little time to cover hundreds of years of American history - let alone thousands of years of human history."

Original source material does show up, especially in AP us history classes, but you are right. Its not very common. The major problem, in high school, with original source material is that you need a bunch of it for each event you look at, because no one source is going to teach what needs to be taught.

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