We’re still teaching like this?!October 29, 2007 at 5:52 pm | Posted in best practices, education, history, strategies, teachers | 3 Comments
About two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit a high school American History class and what I saw shocked me.
On the board was listed 10 weeks worth of homework assignments by due dates:
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3
- Q&A, pg blah blah
- Chapter 4
- Chapter 5
- The Constitution
Well, at least there was clear expectations…for the materials that the students need to cover. What exactly are the students supposed to learn of American History? I don’t know, but I do know they need to read a chapter a week, who cares what the chapter’s about.
Perhaps I’m alone in looking at the list and feeling outraged.
Somehow, I thought History class should be more interesting, more involved, more though provocative given the state of our country today.
Now, keeping in mind that I’m a second grade teacher and that MY American History teacher taught in the EXACT same manner as above and I don’t remember a THING about American History, here’s a proposed list of assignments that I would have liked to have seen on the board.
- Who lived in pre-colonial America? Choose one people to read up on, create an artifact relevant to these people and be prepared for show-and-tell.
- What happened to indigenous population once European settlement of the Americas began? Choose a side, pro or con, and be prepared for a debate on the benefits of European settlement.
- Could colonial America be built without the use of slavery? Be prepared for a debate on the pros and cons of slavery. You will be assigned a side at the time of the debate.
- Was it ethical for colonial America to declare independence from Great Britain? Write a Declaration of Independence to secede California from the U.S. You may work with partners or alone.
And so on.
It’s not as if as a teacher you would need to create new materials. The mandated textbook could be used to find all this information. Of course, some students might decide it’s worth their time to look up the information on the Internet, maybe even a library search, or a discussion with their parents…