Sunday, May 13, 2007

Teaching history backward

Tucked into this story about a history teacher getting fired for showing his students the HBO documentary Baghdad ER is an idea that is so simple and brilliant I can't believe it hasn't already toppled the reigning standard: teaching history backward. You start with current events and situations, which students are most aware of and most interested in, then work backward to show how these all came to be.

Obviously, there is potential for some "controversial" reverse-timelines – say, of the Iraq War and the U.S.'s relationship with Saddam Hussein – but then, those subjective interpretations exist in forward-running history courses, they are just masked.

More on the idea here and here.

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