Harnessing Student Energy in the History Classroom: Projects, Debates, and Games
In this session, we explore how you can change your students’ perspective of history from boring to compelling. We discuss three techniques that many teachers find helpful — Project Based Learning (or PBL), Classroom Debates, and Classroom Games — to foster far deeper engagement with real historical content and far greater levels of interest than more traditional instruction.
James Fraser, New York University
All of us who teach history face a common problem. Too many students just are not interested. Too often students come to a history course with a preconceived notion that it is going to be boring. Happily there are wonderful exceptions, students who are excited from the start. But if we are to reach all of those bored skeptics we need to find ways to make the study of history active and engaging without sacrificing quality. This session will explore three techniques that many teachers find helpful—Project Based Learning (or PBL), Classroom Debates, and Classroom Games. I confess I began my work with these pedagogical techniques as a bit of a skeptic myself, not sure if “gimmicks” would dilute the curriculum. But having seen these approaches tested in many middle and high school as well as college classrooms, I am now convinced that they can foster far deeper engagement with real historical content and far greater levels of interest than more traditional instruction.