If you’ve ever worked with students, you know that lectures and PointPoint presentations are a sure way to kill any interest in history or historic places. In Teaching History Through Inquiry, Stephen Lazar, a social studies teacher at the Academy for Young Writers in Brooklyn, lists six ways he engages high school students to provide cultural literacy and help them develop as critical thinkers:
- Carefully craft your questions.
- Engage students in examining evidence.
- Move on to more nuanced questions.
- Navigate myths with the inquiry approach.
- Identify helpful resources.
- Prepare critical thinkers.
You can find details of each of these points at TeacherMagazine.org, which is making this premium article available for free. But let me add another point:
7. Engage with the real thing: use original documents, visit historic sites, look at objects, and examine historical photographs and maps. Those experiences bring mind and eye (and perhaps heart) together in a way that’s not possible in textbooks and classrooms.