Civic Spotlight: Redesigning a Thematic World History Curriculum

While reading Civic Spotlight: Redesigning a Thematic World History Curriculum, I found some interesting things the author had to say. I personally enjoy his understanding that everyone has different tastes and not everyone has to enjoy history for example. I personally do enjoy history but that’s beside the point. One thing I can completely agree with the author is the idea that many teachers give random pointless facts and make them a question on an exam. The specific example the author had was that of a fellow teacher asking “who is the inventor of the cotton gin?” While sure, knowing that can be a fun fact it isn’t necessary at all.

That is why I very much enjoy the teaching philosophy that the author of the article has. He asks himself two rather simple questions such as “why do I have to learn this” and “how has this affected my life and the world and society in which I live today?” I feel this is a great way of looking at things because it can actually lead to students learning useful material. I would like to use the popular example of math. As much as math teachers try to deny it much of mathematics just isn’t necessary to many people on this planet. Other than in mathematics class I never needed to do the Pythagorean theorem in the real world.

That is something I feel teachers should focus on. They should be able to focus on teaching actual relevant material. That is something the author kinda went into but I feel I disagreed with what he had to say. In the article he mentioned that he doesn’t understand the point of teaching the French Revolution for example as no one in the class is French. Instead, he should teach Latin American history because many of his students are Hispanic. I feel that is fine in itself but I feel it is a flawed perspective to believe that you only need to learn about topics of your own race or ethnicity. I feel there would just be no point in only learning about your own race because then how are we actually learning stuff about the world? It is very possible to teach relevant material without only teaching the material of someone who may look similar to you. If we did something like that all it does is lead to a bias towards other races. 

I agree that we should focus on teaching relevant material to students. However, I don’t think his way of doing it is the best in a classroom setting. All in all, we should continue to push how teaching works and be able to teach students how to enter the real world.