A Thematic Approach to History

Again, this week, we revisit the question, “what is the best way to teach history?” Before we discussed the importance of stepping away from lecture-based teaching and utilizing more project-based learning. Instead of teaching students, we put learning into their hands and allow them to investigate and ask questions. A lot of my experience with history classes has been strictly fact recall. Additionally, I was never truly taught the importance of history and why we study it. Had my high school teachers pointed this out more profoundly in their lessons, I might have developed a greater appreciation for the subject much sooner. Nonetheless, I have grown to love history and the challenges it brings. As a future history teacher, I aim to discover the most beneficial ways to present historical information to students and help them understand why history is important and that there is more to it than facts. 

Therefore, the article about a thematic world history curriculum appealed to me very much. I never had much experience with a history curriculum other than one based on chronology. As a result, I had a hard time thinking creatively when designing my own curriculum map. This article brought to light many creative ideas that will change how we teach history and broaden students’ historical knowledge, and foster relationships within communities. I appreciated how the author of the article compared our role as teachers to those trying to sell products to customers. He said we must “package and brand our curriculum in a way that it appeals and eventually becomes a part of our students’ lives.” A thematic curriculum approach is a great start if we want to steer away from lecture-based teaching. As the article mentions, a thematic approach to history makes it easier to apply project-based learning. Students can ask questions that will broaden their understanding of history. Not only is this approach beneficial to students, but teachers as well. A chronological approach places a lot of pressure on us teachers to teach as much content as possible. Thus, we may have difficulty making connections between the past and the present. A thematic approach opens the door for student-led learning, creativity, and stronger relationships within the classroom as a whole.