Subordinating teaching to learning
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Activities for the Study of History and Becoming a Historian
What follows is a commented description of two activities from a longer series of activities, proposed at the beginning of a 12-hour, intensive workshop on the teaching of history, held on 22-23 October 1988 in Besançon. The workshop participants were all adults, but the exercises have also been used with students between the ages of 9 and 15 in school and during normal classroom periods. For the reader to understand what follows, I suggest he or she do the exercises proposed and simultaneously observe himself or herself doing them.
Ask students to take a piece of paper and in 10 minutes to write down their points of reference in history or whatever comes to their minds when they think of History.
At the end of the time, which may be shortened or extended depending on student response to the challenge, ask students, who are willing, to read their lists. Make no comments about the contents during this part of the activity.
After the lists have been read, ask the students to say what they noticed while their colleagues were reading.