Teaching in Themes

Imagine you are a student in an American History class. You expect that the curriculum just revolves around what war America is going to be involved in next. To every student, it just seems that history is just a buildup to whatever war is next. This is why many teachers are beginning to teach in themes instead of teaching chronologically. Students are just being presented with facts on a piece of paper. What is that worth? They are just using it to pass some tests at the end of the year and then they will forget it soon after. Diana Laufenberg evokes a famous quote from Albert Einstein “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We can not keep expecting our students to learn anything if we keep doing the same thing over and over again. We need a new way to teach our students. This week’s readings suggest teaching in themes instead of teaching history chronologically. When you teach chronologically it almost places an emphasis on war and on Europe and Asia. When you teach themes it can allow you to teach about other events in history such as what’s happening in countries or continents at a certain time. I think this is a very good idea for history teachers. Since history is a social study we can look at other courses that are considered social studies and see how they are taught. For example, Anthropology, Geology, Sociology, and Psychology are all taught thematically. Why is it that history is the only one that is taught chronologically? One reason may be that it is how it’s always been taught, but like Einstein said why would we do the same thing over and over again to get the same results? While it is harder for history teachers teaching this way helps both students and teachers. Teachers will become better educators and students will be able to create their own versions of history. If we as History teachers want our students to truly learn we need to teach in a thematic approach and stop following the ways of the past.