the Past Is Truly Forgotten
- Subject: the Past Is Truly Forgotten
- From: Peter Farruggio <pfarr@UCLINK4.BERKELEY.EDU>
- Date: Sun, 3 Feb 2002 06:41:25 -0800
- Comments: To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
Teach to the tests and you'll get test-takers, not students of history......
February 3, 2002
For Students, the Past Is Truly Forgotten
[T] o the Editor:
I was not surprised at all that Prof. Anders Henriksson of Shepherd College
in West Virginia has once again shown that American college students know
little about history ("Beware the Yikes of March," Big City column, Jan. 29).
Every semester with the students in my social studies methods courses, I
draw a blank time line on the board of the last 10,000 years of human
history and ask the students how well they could fill in the major events.
A nervous silence immediately permeates the room.
My students readily admit that they know very little history, and most say
they would get an F if they had to complete the time line.
But I then ask my students to write down memories of how they were taught
social studies over the years. Overwhelmingly, they say they have
experienced traditional teaching methods.
Many critics of progressive education say that our children are not
learning because of progressive and child-centered philosophies. But this
is just not the reality.
My students' memories are filled with the same list: teacher lecture and
silent students, rote memorization, textbooks, work sheets, tests and
irrelevant content void of emotion and controversy.
If we really want meaningful learning in history, or any subject, then we
had better start questioning how we're teaching.
Chicago, Jan. 31, 2002
The writer is an assistant professor of teacher education, Northeastern
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