Teacher's Lounge Archives

  • Rate the Losers: A Game to Teach Students Important Lessons of History

    by Robert Cook

    IntroductionWhether it is Dave Letterman, the History Channel, professional historians, pollsters or sports writers, we seem to have a fascination with itemizing the ten best of this, the five worst of that.While list making is by no means an historical enterprise in and of itself, some list making can provide an educational opportunity for further research or productive counterfactual reasoning.The ever po

  • Do Students Care About History?

    by Anders Henriksson

    Civilization woozed out of the Nile about 300,000 years ago...Old Testament profits include Moses, Amy, and Confucius...Plato invented reality...During the Dark Ages it was mostly dark...Machiavelli wrote The Prince to get a job with Richard Nixon...Spinning Jenny was a young girl forced to work more than 40 hours a day...Westward expansion ended at Custard’s Last Stand...Few were surprised when the National League failed to prevent another world war....Hitler, who ha

  • Don’t Know Much About History

    by Jane Hall

    As a journalist-turned college professor, I was dismayed--but not surprised--by the dismal results of the latest U.S. History Report Card testing the knowledge of high-school seniors about what used to be considered major events in American history. To be fair, I'm not sure I could write a long essay on the War of 1812. But 52 percent of 12th-graders failing-on a multiple-choice exam--to pick out the forme

  • Great Quotes About History

    by Ferenc M. Szasz (ed.)

    Historical sense and poetic sense should not, in the end, be contradictory, for if poetry is the little myth we make, history is the big myth we live, and in our living, constantly remake. Robert Penn WarrenHistory does not repeat itself. The historians repeat one another. Max BeerbohmTo know the truth of history is to realiz

  • Should We Be Alarmed by the Results of the Latest U.S. History Test? (Yes)

    by Diane Ravitch

    On May 9, 2002, the U.S. Department of Education released the results for the 2001 National Assessment of Educational Progress assessment of U.S. history. It was a good news-bad news report, with more of the latter than the former. The good news was that children in the fourth and eighth grades had improved their performance when compared to a similar asses

  • We Need to Develop New Ways to Teach Students History

    by Sam Wineburg

    Psychologists define craziness as the tendency to keep doing the same thing while expecting a different result. So take the following history test and find out if your ideas about our kids and what they know about history are crazy or not. Identify the source of this quotation:"Surely a grade of 33 in 100 on the simplest and most obvious facts of American history is not a record in which any high school can take pride." Does this statement come from: (a) A 198

  • Join in the Discussion: Teaching Kids Who Find History Boring

    Surveys routinely rank history at the bottom of students' favorite subjects. To those of us who teach history that's almost impossible to understand. How can history be boring? But many find that it is, impairing their ability to absorb the important lessons teachers teach. On this page teachers can share tips to get students interested in history. All you have to do to participate is post a comment, below. Related Links

  • Should Students Be Allowed to Get Away with Plagiarism?

    by Matthew Warshauer

    Editor's Note: Mr. Warshauer participated in a Faculty Senate Committee focused on rewriting Central Connecticut State University's Academic Misconduct Code. His work on this subject prompted him to launch a National Survey on Faculty perceptions of Academic Misconduct/Plagiarism. To participate in the survey, please link to http://www.history.ccsu.edu/Form/Plagiarsm_Questionnaire.htm.After having

  • Resolution on Proposed Georgia Social Studies Standards

    Resolution on Proposed Georgia Social Studies Standards Georgia State University Department of History February 16, 2004 The Georgia State University Department of History unanimously approves the four attached responses to the proposed Georgia Social Studies Performance Standards. The responses will be posted on the history department web site. In addition, an effort will be made to disseminate the responses as widely as possible, including through all the

  • The Keys to the White House

    by Allan Lichtman

    This article was published by TomPaine.com in 1999. Forget the polls and the pundits. Political conditions now favor the victory of Vice President Al Gore over Texas Governor George W. Bush or any other Republican nominee for president in 2000. However, Democrats could still forfeit the election by worrying about meaningless polls and waging the kind of bloody nomination struggle that invariably has foretold defeat for Democrats seeking to retain the White House. That is the v

  • HNN's Guide to the History of Saudi Arabia

    Review of Alexei Vassiliev's The History of Saudi ArabiaReview of Joshua Teitelbaum's The Rise and Fall of the Hashimite Kingdom of ArabiaDaniel Pipes,"Why We Must Hope and Pray that the Saudi Monarchy Reforms" (HNN)

  • 9-11: What Should We Tell Our Children?

    by Adam Garfinkle

    Around noon on September 11, 2001, my son Gabriel, away at college, called our house just outside of Washington and left this message on the answering machine: "Mom, Dad, Hannah, Nate: Is anybody there!? Is everyone OK? Dad, tell me, please: What the hell is going on?!" When I heard the message a few hours later, it made a lasting impression. My handsome, brash and outwardly confident 19-year old's voice was quavering, just shy of crying. I had never heard this voice before, bu

  • One Way to Approach the War with Iraq

    by Peter L. Hahn

    Following is the text of a lecture Mr. Hahn delivered at the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians on April 5, 2003. He spoke at a panel devoted to the subject of the Iraq war. I applaud the OAH for organizing this panel discussion. It is indeed appropriate for an organization whose members are the custodians of the American collective memory to provide time for discourse about current events that might form a major watershed in the history of the American

  • Are College Textbooks Miseducating Students About Terrorism?

    by Stanley Michalak

    "Terrorism is a strategy to weaken a hated political authority. It is a security threat, but almost the opposite of the nuclear one: little pinpricks instead of a huge bang."Last winter when the shock of 9/11 was drawing down, I decided to peruse the international relations textbooks on my home and office shelves. "What would students learn," I asked, "if they consulted any of these texts in order to make sense out of the events that so shocke

  • So You Want to Try Writing an Online Course?

    by Kimberly J. Morse and Lewis L. Gould

    Mr. Gould was responsible for writing"History 315L, The United States since 1865" for the Distance Education Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Gould and Ms. Morse collaborated on the transformation of HIS315L into an online course. The course recently received the 2003 Distance Learning College Course Award from the University Continuing Education Association. Writing and teaching online courses can provide an exciting and creative means for historians to reach o

  • No, You Don't Have to Teach History After You Get Your Ph.D.

    by Kenneth Durr

    Practicing the historian's art and craft in a commercial setting involves no more compromise-and sometimes less-than in the academy. That's a lesson I've learned working at History Associates Incorporated (HAI) in Rockville, Maryland. Currently a firm with forty-five employees, HAI has been in the history business for more than twenty years. It began after the founders succeeded in writing a history of the Three Mile Island incident even before the incident had faded from the newspap

  • Open Admissions at Parkside

    by Thomas Reeves

    Open admissions, the policy of permitting students to enroll in a college or university without regard to academic qualifications, grew largely out of the turmoil of the period 1965-75 that coincided with America's intense involvement in the Vietnam War. This era featured a sharp turn to the left by elites, especially among the intellectuals and in the media, who decried special privilege and employed such emotionally satisfying but vaguely defined slogans as "Po

  • My Experience Teaching Apathetic Students at a School with Open Admissions

    by Thomas Reeves

    Since 1970 I have taught history at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, in Kenosha. This campus admits 95 percent of its applicants and boasts in newspaper ads that acceptance can be granted almost immediately. In the fall of 2000, only 8 percent of its incoming freshmen ranked in the top ten percent of their high school class. A whopping 42 percent ranked in the bottom half of their high school class. Parkside's graduation rate has been woeful. In 1989, of a