Such clips were helpful because textbooks alone

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Rights Movement; demonstrations against the Vietnam War; Presidential debates. Such clips were helpful because textbooks alone cannot dramatize the passion of King’s speech, the anger and intensity of Civil Rights protestors, the outrage of young anti-war protestors; the personality, seriousness, and, sometimes, silliness of political debates. Again, it is the rawness and individual humanity that Loewen says should not be kept from students; it is a variation of Mrs. Sperling.
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Loewen also addresses the critical role that teachers play in enhancing or blocking a student’s intellectual growth and understanding. He says that too often young teachers read the chapters in textbooks only a short time before the students themselves because they are just barely ahead of their students, such teachers have only a superficial, unintegrated understanding of what they are to teach and how to go about it. It does not hurt the teacher; he or she has a degree and will collect a paycheck. But it does impair the student whose ability to think critically is not facilitated and whose connection with history is left undeveloped. In conclusion, students tend to dislike history classes because textbooks do not serve as reliable, involving sources of relevant information and because too many teachers only go through the motions of teaching and hope that their students will understand their personal connection with history when they have given no cause for students to do so. Students may understand some key terms and memorize some key dates or conflicts, but they are given no methodology or rationale for integrating these isolated “facts” into their own lives and perspectives. If teachers would do more to ground the material in recognizable situations and individuals and provide more opportunity for hands-on, face-to-face encounters or reasonable substitutions for such, then maybe students would have a more heightened desire to really learn history, to think critically about it, and to appreciate their own place in it. Textbooks currently do not reach out and grab a reader’s attention, and teachers too often fail to engage their students’ attention. Consequently, many students are left feeling bitterness toward history in general and ultimately tune out the subject totally. As Loewen says, students are never helped to perceive how the past has created the present; or, how the present can
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throw light on the past. College physics relies on basic laws of inertia taught in middle school and builds from there. That is a given constant. College history starts at square one because so much of what has been “taught” has to be unlearned -- “Iconoclasm I and II”, as Loewen reports a friend describes it. As the original source of Loewen’s comment says: “Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are condemned to repeat them.”
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Christopher Reinemann
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