Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Pleasures of Teaching History

Chris Webber:

Axtell, J. (2001, August 14). The Pleasures of Teaching History. History Teacher, 34(4), 443-446.
This is a great article and very relevant to me, being a history teacher. The author explains how alarmed he is that most young American students are so ignorant of most things historical, and are also very naïve when it comes to all things historical. He mentions that history teachers have “professionally challenging and socially important jobs…” , which just happen to be very enjoyable. The article suggests that as a history teacher it is important at the beginning of the instructional year to attempt to combat pseudo-familiar historical stereotypes. According to Mr. Axtell students have these stereotypes because of their propensity to associate self-knowledge with historical knowledge. This self knowledge, according to the author, is usually learned through identification with superficial actors that become familiar to the students over a long periods of time. The fun part of the job as a history teacher begins when the teacher starts to remove these ingrained stereotypes and starts to replace that with actual historical facts as they pertain to the world in which the students live.

The author mentions at length, and very honestly, that other pleasures of teaching history include the idea that we can talk about our favorite countries, characters, tribes etc. with students, that we get to use professional deductions to travel to exotic locations, and that we get to use deductions to buy books that we would usually buy anyway. I totally agree with these “perks” of being a history teacher and found this article to be very validating of my choice of profession.

1 comment:

Carlos Bandeira Cravid said...

Experiências individuais ensina até os mais sábios.

Post a Comment