Monday, December 19, 2005

The Importance of Knowing Dates

I hope many of you have used the link on my blog roll to visit Ed Tech Talk - if not please check it out - great discussions going on by people all over the world about education and technology. This past Saturday I joined their show via conference call and at some point during our conversation the question can up about how much a history teacher should stress that students know the specific date of major history events and how it compares with the importance of knowing the context of the event. I mentioned that I was not as concerned about my students knowing if the Boston Massacre happened in 1770 or 1771 as much as I was concerned that they understood the event and its importance in relationship to other events. Others listening to the show entered the discussion and it became quite a debate. It is a little hard to explain without listening to it so I would like to direct you to the link so that you may hear it for yourself:

Link to listen to Ed Tech Talk - Brainstorm 16B - The Ed Tech Massacre

I am very interested in what you may think about this topic - one way or the other. I do plan on bringing this question back to my fellow history teachers at South Valley Jr High and my students but it will probably have to happen after we return from winter break since we are doing finals today in class. Please e-mail me your reactions: speakingofhistory@gmail.com

4 comments:

  1. It was good to hear you on the podcast. I've posted my response here:
    http://budtheteacher.typepad.com/bud_the_teacher/2005/12/when_do_you_nee.html

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  2. I posted a comment over at Bud's place... to summarize: I'm with you on the whole date thing.

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  3. In an ideal world, we would like our students to know both dates and event/context. However, in the real world we have a limited number of hours with our students.

    Taking the time to "drill" students on dates in order that those dates are committed to long-term memory takes away from the limited amount of time available. Time which, in my opinion, would be better spent learning about causes, effects, etc.

    Kim

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