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Memorization is History

by Alison DeNisco

District Administration

Article excerpt

School history shifts toward accuracy & diversity

“In the past, we’ve been accused of teaching trivia, and we recognize now that this is an information age and kids have access to answers at their fingertips with technology,” says Alice Reilly, coordinator of K12 social studies at Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. For example, one teacher developed a lesson called “What’s in a Name?” for a unit on imperialism.

Our take

Engaging Students in Creative Inquiry

No more dry textbooks? No more rote memorization of historical “trivia”? Ready access to a wide range of digital resources is changing the way history is being approached to a more inquiry-based mode of instruction where students set out to explore the answers to questions like: “Was the image of the 1950s happy housewife accurate?” Could the same approach boost engagement in other subject areas?

Students are better engaged when they can actively participate in the learning process. The ability to approach various subjects from the basis of exploration, as opposed to memorization, can aid both engagement and learning. This approach can readily be applied to a variety of subjects using the approaches illustrated in this article. Bonus for teachers: better in-class discussion and participation.