One of the greatest challenges for a history teacher in today's "do-it-now," "new is always better" world is in convincing students that studying the
One of the greatest challenges for a history teacher in today’s “do-it-now,” “new is always better” world is in convincing students that studying the past can be interesting. One of the easiest ways to do this is to create assignments that encourage students to understand that history was created by real people who shaped and were shaped by the times in which they lived. One of the most enjoyable educational techniques for achieving this is through role-play or simulation. These simulations can be created in many essay on role of internet today the following ways.
Constitutional Convention and a Mock Senate. There are a few caveats. The most common involves the problem of presentism in which the students’ portrayals become so infused with their knowledge of the events and values of the present that they do not accurately reflect the thinking of the period being studied. Another problem arises with students who are reticent about performing in public.
This can be a particular problem with high-school students who are often very anxious about peer approval. I encourage students to come and talk with me if they have a problem. Then, I work with the student to create a short-planned speech. Having spoken once, most students find each additional speech easier and often graduate to more extemporaneous comments. The last problem deals with the complexity of a successful role-play, or simulation. It is very important that the students have a clear understanding of the assignment, their responsibilities, and the criteria on which they will be judged.
Although this plan focuses on the ideas of the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, this format can be used to discuss the ideas of any group of thinkers. Learn in detail about one figure of the Enlightenment period. Create a nameplate that represents some of the most important interests or personality traits of their Enlightenment figure. Play the role of that individual during the talk show. Apply Enlightenment ideas, with special emphasis on those of their assigned individual, to concrete events and problems of the period. Verbally express and defend their Enlightenment thinker’s views on the issues.
Verbally support or question the views of the other Enlightenment thinkers. Develop an understanding of the wide-ranging effects of Enlightenment thinking on the political, economic, religious, social, and intellectual climate of the eighteenth century. Analyze the ideas of the Enlightenment, in general, and the Enlightenment philosophers, in particular, and apply them to concrete events and problems of the period. Students will be assigned one of the following Enlightenment figures.
Scientific Revolution or the period of Enlightenment that followed. Depending on the size of the class, pick the ones that you believe will work best with your curriculum. This information will be put onto the notecards, with one for the biographical material and one each for the individual topics. Remind the students that they will be able to refer to the notecards during the talk show, and that after the talk show they will be collected for assessment. Many students are uncomfortable speaking in public.
Even though the talk show is very informal, some students will be very reluctant to speak. Explain that everyone will be expected to speak a minimum of three times, but that a short, relevant sentence or a good question will be considered one instance of participation. This really depends on your class size and the length of the period. On the day of the talk show, students will bring a name card.
The teacher will develop a list of appropriate questions for the talk show. These questions were prepared for a 12th grade AP European History class. Some of your ideas, such as religious toleration and artistic and scientific freedom, sound like they would be right up my alley. How do you people feel about large armies? Do you think your Enlightenment ideas would help me achieve my goals? I am a poor peasant.
I’ve gotten a raw deal under both monarchical and aristocratic rule. Is there hope for me in this new age of “Enlightenment”? I want my children to learn to be enlightened. What do you believe to be the best form of education? What would be the most important subjects for them to study? For years I listened to the church or the king tell me how to live.
Now you are telling me their ideas are all wet. What have you done for me lately? I am calling with a serious problem. I want to be enlightened but really!
When are you people going to get “enlightened” about the other half of the world? I don’t know where to turn. Now, I am having trouble deciding on the right thing to wear. How can I make decisions if there are no right answers? I like your economic ideas about getting rid of mercantilism, but I’m worried that this will weaken my country. I don’t want to be meat for the Prussian grinder.