Pedagogy In The Wild

In a thoughtful discussion of teaching at USIH, I commented

In addition to all the other qualifications and tensions around teaching, there are gaps between disciplines that are frequently ignored by both pedagogy “experts” and administrators alike. I’ve gotten to the point that I tune out of any discussion of teaching that isn’t centered on history, because there are just no other disciplines that have the same mix of content, skills, sources, and myths. I’ve looked at all the fads and trends, including the ‘lecture is dead’, and there’s maybe one person in ten writing on this that even considers history, much less actually teaches in it.

And, to be completely honest, as a World/Asia specialist, I’ve started just skimming over the history pedagogy discussions that only involve US history. I know, it’s a lot to cover in two or three semesters, that whole 300 years or so, with all those sources in English, and as much as we complain about the lack of preparation on the part of our students, at least they know *something*…. It’s all very well to talk about ‘uncoverage’ (and most discussions of the coverage debate are disengenous, at best, anway, because nobody really tries to cover everything and we all make choices and skip stuff) when the basics of the narrative are part of the dominant culture, reinforced constantly by media and entertainment, but when most of what an incoming student knows about the field is just wrong, you have to work in a more integrated and cohesive manner.

Seriously, if I have to sit through one more “uncoverage” discussion that sets up “teachers who thoughtlessly cover everything” as the strawman on “the other side” I’m going to go running into the night, or at least go back to the book exhibits.

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