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Effective History Teaching. Bringing Life to the History Class . 1. Enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the first and most important way to bring life to any classroom. The teacher’s enthusiasm for the topic and the teaching is the key to success. Any lack of enthusiasm is unfair to the students.

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effective history teaching

Effective History Teaching

Bringing Life to the History Class

1 enthusiasm
1. Enthusiasm
  • Enthusiasm is the first and most important way to bring life to any classroom. The teacher’s enthusiasm for the topic and the teaching is the key to success. Any lack of enthusiasm is unfair to the students.
1 enthusiasm1
1. Enthusiasm
  • Teachers need to know the subject and learn something more about it each day. And teachers should make what they teach a part of themselves.
2 rely less on textbooks
2. Rely less on textbooks
  • Let the textbook guide the outline for the course, but teach from other sources, especially primary sources, as well.
  • Pick the best historical sources that are a pleasure to read.
2 rely less on textbooks1
2. Rely less on textbooks
  • Teachers should choose sources that have had the greatest impact on themselves. Not only will they inspire the students, but they can also teach them with passion.
3 use well written secondary sources
3. Use well-written secondary sources
  • Secondary sources are critical for contextualizing and making sense of those rich firsthand sources.
  • It is the job of the teacher to prepare the students by giving them the background they need to fully understand the primary sources (context).
4 look at the things that matter today
4. Look at the things that matter today
  • Stop thinking of history as battles and wars, kings and presidents and start thinking in terms of ethnicity, social groups and gender.
4 look at the things that matter today1
4. Look at the things that matter today
  • This is how we identify ourselves.
  • If we are going to teach tolerance, we are going to have to teach respect for different ethnic groups, social groups, genders, and sexualities.
5 use generous amounts of local history to teach european and world history
5. Use generous amounts of local historyto teach European and World History
  • Some historical development may make a lot more sense to a student if he or she can see a local manifestation of it.
5 use generous amounts of local history to teach european and world history1
5. Use generous amounts of local historyto teach European and World History
  • Teachers can use local newspapers in a variety of ways.
    • How did local people deal with World War II?
    • How did the war affect advertising?
    • What values were important in the 1940s compared to the 1920s?
5 use generous amounts of local history to teach european and world history2
5. Use generous amounts of local historyto teach European and World History
  • Teachers might have students locate the issue of the local paper for the day they were born--or the day their mother or father was born.
    • What was the important news of that day?
    • What were merchants advertising?
    • What were the values visible in the ads?
6 use music and film to appeal to those senses not stimulated by reading
6. Use music and film to appeal to those senses not stimulated by reading
  • Music can touch the emotions in a unique way.
    • Starting a discussion with a song can break the ice we so often struggle with in starting a class discussion.
    • Help the students develop their listening skills by printing out the lyrics of the songs for them.
6 use music and film to appeal to those senses not stimulated by reading1
6. Use music and film to appeal to those senses not stimulated by reading
  • Teachers should not hesitate to play different versions of a song to illustrate how people can take a song from one context and reshape it for another purpose.
6 use music and film to appeal to those senses not stimulated by reading2
6. Use music and film to appeal to those senses not stimulated by reading
  • Film can be a powerful way to get the students' attention. Teachers should not to use films to replace teaching.
  • Teach the film!
    • Tell the students what to look for in the film.
    • Stop the film at critical points and get feedback from them.
    • Do not feel compelled to show the film in its entirety. Use the film as you would any other source.
7 become more computer literate
7. Become more computer literate
  • Find out the best web sites for the topics you are teaching and pass them on to your students and then discuss what they are learning on those sites.
7 become more computer literate1
7. Become more computer literate
  • For years, we taught our students that just because it is printed in a book does not make it true. Now we have to make very clear that just because it is on the Internet does not make it true.
  • What is the source of the information? Is it reliable? How can you tell? Not only will they have a better understanding of the past, but they are learning a skill they can use in other aspects of their lives.