Teaching History

By Laura

History education at a primary school level and undergraduate level prioritizes the memorization and regurgitation of facts, and although some educators are very skilled at encouraging critical thinking of texts, history teachers often fail to explain the significance and relevance of studying history to children and young adults. In this way I can’t help but feel that history education in this country is hitting the target but missing the point. We should be encouraging discourse among students rather than the regurgitation of facts. After reading Dr. Kelly’s book, Teaching History in the Digital Age, I was inspired to look up theories on education, so I watched a few TED talks.


Charles Leadbeater discussed in his TED talk that education shouldn’t be an academic analytical activity but something productive; it should be relevant and have an immediate payoff. 


Ken Robinson encourages students to be creative and follow passions rather than be good workers and linear thinkers. He explains that there are different types of intelligence and we need to stop prioritizing academic analysis and start encouraging individual talents.


Ramsay Musallam, a Chemistry teacher, provided three rules he follows to spark learning:

  1. Curiosity comes first. Questions can be windows to great instruction but not the other way around.
  2. Embrace the mess. You don’t always have to follow taught methodologies; trial and error is ok.
  3. Practice reflection. We can revise education and create new paradigms for educators as cultivators of curiosity and inquiry rather than disseminators of information.


What I have come away with is that history education desperately needs to change. We should be encouraging students to be productive, curious, and creative. Writing is still essential to the way we learn history, but “students need a diversity of writing experiences” (Kelly, chapter 4).  Actively participating in historical practice and discourse may provide more practical skills
Source: Visual Inquisitor  

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