Friday, February 13, 2009

Collective Cluelessness

This information comes from a research study, so it must be true.

Brenda M. Trofanenko, a professor of curriculum and instruction in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, says that teaching history by rote is a pedagogical method guaranteed to get students to tune out and adds to our collective civic and historical cluelessness.

“We need to start thinking differently about our students’ abilities,” she said. “They can think critically and engage in historical inquiry if they’re actually given the opportunity. Instead, we make them learn facts and test them on their ability to regurgitate them at the end of the week. I think that’s really insulting to them.”
It's interesting that the hypothesis blames accountability measures of the No Child Left Behind law. If it can't be quantified, it can't be measured. So the easy way to quantify knowledge of history is to rely upon memorization of dates. It's so much harder to grade an essay.