Assigning reading is easy, getting students to actually read the assigned work – well, that’s a bit of a bugger. Some of my colleagues create multiple-choice quizzes to ensure students glanced at the readings. But if I had assigned eight primary documents, I now have the unenviable task of crafting exam style queries for all of them: besides, a multiple-choice quiz on readings seems somehow punitive. I want students to think, not practice rote memorization.

A cure may be found in (more…)

Admiral John Byng lives an immortal life. Executed by his government for the crime of “not doing one’s utmost”, time and history have worked to mythologize events.

The latest in memory-making belongs to The Telegraph of London. The newspaper printed one of those ‘On this day’ articles: in this case, a commemoration outlining Byng’s execution by firing squad aboard HMS Monarch (14 March 1757).

Yet The Telegraph’s brief article contained many egregious errors, (more…)

Today, in Episode three a story entitled, “Homeland to Promise Land.” In this case, the homeland is Laos, a nation state in Indochina that borders Vietnam. Chenu Lo is a millennial – a student at Butte College in Northern California – home to a significant number of Hmong people… including Chenu Lo’s relatives. Chenu’s story begins in (more…)

 

Episode two was written and produced by Jacob Maphet. Jacob raises an interesting dilemma – an observation that I have witnessed and experienced, and perhaps some of you may have thought of this as well . . .  Jacob sincerely asked how is that I have a heritage? (more…)

I came across a blog post written by Ted Lienhart entitled, “Characteristics of Historical Thinking.” Here, Lienhart listed fifteen of his favorite history-learned abilities (list provided below). As I read the list, I could not help but think that most, if not all, can be taught and assessed.

Take Lienhart’s first must of historical thinking: the ability to (more…)

Welcome to “I Am America,” a new podcasting series recorded and produced by students at Butte College in Northern California. These podcasts reflect student-centered explorations of both history and themselves. Every student has a story, and they truly want to share, especially the part about what makes them uniquely American.

Our very first episode was written and produced by Yolanda Antone. She’s young, bright, filled with possibilities – but she also wears two masks (more…)

Richard, my supervisor, and I were musing over a primary document some years back. Our attempt to dissect the words of an eighteenth-century letter had somehow devolved into a curious struggle to pinpoint the author’s state of mind. How can you really see tone in a letter written in the 1750s? Can you truly get inside the mind of someone who lived 270 years ago and judge their emotional state (more…)