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Ruining learning about WW2

Article about: As a certified high school history teacher, I definitely agree that the scope of what we teach is absolutely too broad and not in enough detail. Unfortunately, with these big standardized te

  1. #11

    Default Re: Ruining learning about WW2

    As a certified high school history teacher, I definitely agree that the scope of what we teach is absolutely too broad and not in enough detail. Unfortunately, with these big standardized tests looming at the middle and end of the year, we are often forced to rush through or skip things all together.

    In an ideal world, we would be able to spend weeks if not months on each era and event in history... but it's just not possible. As the others have said, use your passion to self-educate! Also, if you plan on going to college you should definitely be able to classes that focus on your particular interests!
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  2. #12

    Default Re: Ruining learning about WW2

    I was a bit more fortunate in that regard as I attended German School until the age of 13...a few of my teachers were Wehrmacht veterans and we would get them off topic so they would tell us their stories...That fed my interest in the subject even more...But I'm basically self-taught as most of us are...
    Glenn

  3. #13

    Default Re: Ruining learning about WW2

    I have never taught in a high school, but the complaint with regard to the General Education (GE) requirements for US History, Institutions, and Government in the California State University (CSU) System are exactly as Reynard wrote, "a mile wide and an inch deep." The problem here in California (aptly called the land of fruits and nuts) is the liberals' politically correct, social agenda, which requires that all GE history courses include "the contribution made to US history by all minority groups, the role of women in American history, and the role of Gay, Transgender, and Lesbian people in shaping American society." Two semesters, three hours per week, are alloted for US History in the CSU System, which leaves no time for any worthwhile discussion of the Civil War, WWI, and WWII. Handling three wars in two semesters, when they take second place to such pressing social issues as are now required, leaves no room to discuss three "big" wars. And the US "non-wars," Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East trio, aren't even considered. The sad truth is that most American students today abhor history either because it was so poorly taught in high school (read boring and pendantic), or because they perceive history as a useless subject.
    I will add this word of caution. Don't put too much stock in History Cannel presentations, which are often filled with errors and skewed "facts." The History Channel is, after all, entertainment television. The value of its programing is the vintage film footage they provide, but a lot of the blather around the footage is just that--blather. Dwight

  4. #14

    Default Re: Ruining learning about WW2

    Is it just my monitor, or does that girl have one pink and one white foot?
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  5. #15

    Default Re: Ruining learning about WW2

    Quote by Wagriff View Post
    Is it just my monitor, or does that girl have one pink and one white foot?
    She does!.....
    It's a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.



    I'm Spartacus, not really i'm Paul!...

  6. #16

    Default Re: Ruining learning about WW2

    Quote by Wagriff View Post
    Is it just my monitor, or does that girl have one pink and one white foot?
    Ah high school kids... crazy...

  7. #17

    Default Re: Ruining learning about WW2

    And I bet she's got a pair of socks exactly like it at home...

    TV documentaries are only one small part part of what's available, and like books, it depends on who wrote them and for what kind of audience. Not everybody thinks or does analysis in the same way. Seeing one documentary or reading one book on any given topic is never enough anyway - you have to read or watch around the subject to get a balanced view.

    Dwight, I can't say anything at all about TV in the US, I'm going on what I watch here in the UK. But if you can get hold of it, I'd highly recommend the series "The World at War". Yes, it's old, produced in the 1970s, but it's one of the best and most compelling documentary series on the war that I've come across.

    And as has been said, interest in a subject at school or uni depends greatly on the teacher or lecturer. A good one can foster an interest above and beyond what is taught, a bad one can put you off something for life. IMHO history is about making things real, accessible and put into context.

  8. #18

    Default Re: Ruining learning about WW2

    Reynard: You are absolutely correct when you wrote that, "...interest in a subject at school or uni depends greatly on the teacher or lecturer. A good one can foster an interest above and beyond what is taught, a bad one can put you off something for life. IMHO history is about making things real, accessible and put into context." Unfortunately, today's curriculum requirements stifle innovation, at least here in California. I haven't taught since May 2002 when I retired, and the situation was already bad and getting worse. Fortunately innovative and original teaching can still be done in courses that are not subject to the specific GE requirements. I taught at San Jose State University, which at one time had a very good Military History faculty and program. But that's all gone now, since Military History is not considered politically correct for a primarily Liberal Arts university.

    You are also right that The World at War (Time-Life, 26 episodes, 1973-74) was, and still is, an excellent television production, and much better than almost anything produced for American TV today. My good friend and colleague, George Moore, Ph.D. used the series for his lower division course, on WWII. My take on what Little I see that comes out of the UK is that it is head-and-shoulders above anything produced for TV here. I was involved in some pieces that BBC did on WWI, which I never got to see, but I was impressed with the care and concern for accuracy that the producer expressed during our meetings. Dwight

  9. #19

    Default Re: Ruining learning about WW2

    The BBC does some truly excellent work, Dwight. Their recent series "Wartime Farm" produced in conjunction with the Open University was a real eye-opener when it came to life on the rural home front. They also did a two-week run of programmes called "How we Won the War", which was also based on the home front. I've subsequently picked up a modern reprint of Marguerite Patten's Victory Cookbook, which is stuffed full of wartime recipes and food tips, many of which were mentioned in both series.

    Am actually determined to try some of the recipes, more out of curiosity than anything else. I wonder what they'll taste like... Will it be as bad as what some people said wartime food tasted like?

    Have to admit, my own history teachers at school were fairly uninspiring. We did all the usual stuff, dibbing and dabbing our way through the centuries, ommitting the truly great moments in British history like Trafalgar and Waterloo. We also omitted some of the more embarrassing ones, but that just goes to show, I suppose. Admittedly that was the best part of 20-ish years ago. I can't say what it's like now, but in a recent survey though, it showed that most British kids barely know who Winston Churchill was, never mind naming Henry the Eighth's six wives... That's kind of scary.

  10. #20

    Default Re: Ruining learning about WW2

    Reynard: Oh boy, you sure pushed a hot button when you wrote, "a recent survey though, it showed that most British kids barely know who Winston Churchill was, never mind naming Henry the Eighth's six wives... That's kind of scary." On the first day of every semester, I asked the class a few questions just to see what they knew and what they didn't know. Actually, I should have asked the questions just to find out how little they did know. The class was called History 15A/B which was a hybrid of US History and Political Science. If ever there was an oxymoron, it's political science. I taught the History side and another prof handled the Political Science part. Anyway, I asked the class, "Who was Ulysses S. Grant?" Dead silence. Finally a guy in the last row raised his hand and offered, "Wasn't he some kind of Civil War dude?" Well, I guess the man who led the Vicksburg Campaign (1862-63) and later became Gerneral-in-Chief of the Union Army (1864) would qualify as a "sort of Civil War dude." At least he had the right war. Dwight

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