Our March question was: How do you asses historical thinking. I know it is the middle of April already, but I finally finished with a blog post for our history group. Here it is.
Why didn't you teach me to think historically old social studies teacher?
Dear Social Teachers of my Past,
I know teachers usually teach in the they they were taught. Heck, most new parents use the parenting skills of their parents. But does that make this correct? Yes and No. While I am sure you are taking the best skills of the teachers of your past, don’t get sucked into the their worst traits. This means, don’t lecture any more! Well at least not all the time. You need to teach me to think, and history teachers, you needed me to think like a historian!
Throughout school, you always had us write essays, take tests, do projects, etc, etc, etc. While in school I thought you were trying to give us busy work, in reality you were trying to teach us to think historically, I think. You believed that if students could memorize facts and repeat information, then they must be able to think like a historian. Well, not so fast my old teachers!
Today old teachers, I think it is more important to teach your students how to think historically. This reason maybe why history repeats itself! Most people have forgotten the facts they were made to memorize for the test! Here is how.
First, engage me in great questions. Yes you heard me, ask great questions. Not one of those Lower Blooms questions that I can simply Google or what you call a test that has multiple choice and fill in the blank questions, but give me something that will actually make me think. While I may not like it this moment, I will thank you later (which I have for the harder work you made me do!). Secondly, teach me to think historically. What does this mean? Well, teach me to look at viewpoints objectively, teach me to weigh and analyze conflicting evidence. Teach me to think for myself and be a great citizen. This is the tricky part, how do you do this?
First you need to teach me to ask questions. I need to be able to collect information from texts, images, videos, or any other type of Primary/Secondary source. Secondly, I need to be able to contextualize the information. What does that mean? Well it means I am able to put events in place and time. If I am reading a document from the 1800s, I can visualize time and place. Thirdly, I need to be able to carefully consider what the source is saying. I need to be able to understand the language they are using. Fourthly, I need to be able determine points of agreement and disagreement. I need to be able to compare and contrast these sources. Finally, I am able to make judgements about what is really being said.
As to not be to objective, make a rubric that has what you are expecting me to know based on the criteria above. Remember, I am a sponge and I want to learn. Teach me to ask questions, I will always use this skill.
Some of this information is based on the data I learned from http://historicalthinkingmatters.org/
George Phillip is a social studies teacher and designer.
Ramsey Musallam - www.cyclesoflearning.com
Karl Lindgren-Streicher -
Josh Stumpenhorst -
Jason Bretzmann -
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