Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sometimes Teaching Really Is About the Content

As I begin to prepare myself mentally for my new junior high social studies position I have been doing some content reading. I have been a history buff for a long time, in fact the first series of books I remember reading were on famous American Indians when I must have be 7 or 8. I particularly enjoy the colonial and American Revolution time periods

I asked for some input on twitter, love #sschat, and got some recommendations for both geography and history. So I bought Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present and pulled out my copy of Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen. In a lot of ways they are pretty similar texts. Their purpose is to take a hard look at the history that has been taught in schools and compare it to history from other people's perspectives. Fortunately, a lot of the information I am reading I have already been exposed to through other sources or even in college classes.

As I read through these texts I can't help but think that we really can't separate how the students learn with what they are learning. We can use best practices and get our students to learn to the best of their abilities, but if we don't critically view the content and allow students to see different perspectives and points of view we are not doing our jobs. It isn't enough that they learn, they need to learn how to learn critically.

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