Still don’t know much about history
Why do so many students find history boring? Here’s why, from David Bernstein, a nonprofit executive who lives in Gaithersburg, Md., and has two sons, ages 7 and 15.
By David Bernstein
When I took high school history in the early 1980s, the job of the history teacher was to provide a steady stream of facts, and the job of the student was to commit those facts to memory. Even though I was deeply interested in public affairs, I found both American and World history boring and irrelevant. But later in life, I came to realize, like so many others, that it was impossible to understand modern politics and the interplay of ideas without some grounding in the subject.
When my son reached middle school, I was curious if teaching history had changed. At first, I was pleasantly surprised. In eighth grade, he had a charismatic teacher who eschewed the memorization curriculum in favor of interesting projects and interactive lesson plans that brought historical ideas to life. But, unfortunately, that year turned out to be an exception. Since then, it’s been mostly one big lesson in historic trivia....
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