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''Why Won't You Just Tell Us the Answer?''

Teaching Historical Thinking in Grades 7-12

Bruce Lesh

Every major measure of students' historical understanding since 1917 has demonstrated that students do not retain, understand, or enjoy their school experiences with history. Bruce Lesh believes that this is due to the way we teach history - lecture and memorization.

 

Product Details

  • Author: Bruce Lesh
  • ISBN: 978-157110-812-8
  • Year:2011
  • Media: 240 pp/paper
  • Grade Range: 7-12
  • Item No: WEB-0812

Every major measure of students' historical understanding since 1917 has demonstrated that students do not retain, understand, or enjoy their school experiences with history. Bruce Lesh believes that this is due to the way we teach history -- lecture and memorization. Over the last fifteen years, Bruce has refined a method of teaching history that mirrors the process used by historians, where students are taught to ask questions of evidence and develop historical explanations. And now in his new book "Why Won't You Just Tell Us the Answer?" he shows teachers how to successfully implement his methods in the classroom.

Students may think they want to be given the answer. Yet, when they are actively engaged in investigating the past - the way professional historians do - they find that history class is not about the boring memorization of names, dates, and facts. Instead, it's challenging fun. Historical study that centers on a question, where students gather a variety of historical sources and then develop and defend their answers to that question, allows students to become actual historians immersed in an interpretive study of the past.

Each chapter focuses on a key concept in understanding history and then offers a sample unit on how the concept can be taught. Readers will learn about the following:

  • Exploring Text, Subtext, and Context: President Theodore Roosevelt and the Panama Canal
  • Chronological Thinking and Causality: The Rail Strike of 1877
  • Multiple Perspectives: The Bonus March of 1932
  • Continuity and Change Over Time: Custer's Last Stand
  • Historical Significance: The Civil Rights Movement
  • Historical Empathy: The Truman-MacArthur Debate

By the end of the book, teachers will have learned how to teach history via a lens of interpretive questions and interrogative evidence that allows both student and teacher to develop evidence-based answers to history's greatest questions.

Table of Contents

Preview the entire book online!

Contents
Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter 1: Reinventing My Classroom: Making Historical Thinking Reality
Chapter 2: Introducing Historical Thinking: Nat Turner's Rebellion of 1831
Chapter 3: Text, Subtext, and Context: Evaluating Evident and Exploring President Theodore Roosevelt and the Panama Canal
Chapter 4: Using the Rail Strike of 1877 to Teach Chronological Thinking and Causality
Chapter 5: "Revolution in the Air": Using the Bonus March of 1932 to Teach Multiple Perspectives
Chapter 6: Continuity and Change over Time: Custer's Last Stand or the Battle of the Greasy Grass?
Chapter 7: Long or Short? Using the Civil Rights Movement to Teach Historical Significance
Chapter 8: Trying on the Shoes of Historical Actors: Using the Truman-MacArthur Debate to Teach Historical Empathy
Chapter 9: "How Am I Supposed to Do This Every Day?" Historical Investigations Versus Sleep
Chapter 10: Overoming the Barrier to Change
Afterword: The End or Just the Beginning?
Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Bruce Lesh
Bruce Lesh has been a teacher and department chair for eighteen years at Franklin High School in Reisterstown, Maryland. A past president of the Maryland Council for the Social Studies and current vice-chair of the National Council for History Education, Bruce teaches American history and advanced placement U.S. politics and government. >more

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