ERIC Number: ED367577
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Dec
A Is for Apathy.
This document discusses the experience of a history professor at a two-year college. The professor's students sit placidly through class, exhibiting politeness, but no interest in the lecture. Different teaching methods are discussed. One solution would be to just accept the students as they are, deliver neatly packaged lectures, give multiple choice examinations, and make sure all students get high marks. To do so would be cheating students out of a good part of what a college education should entail: being challenged, learning to think analytically, learning to write in an organized, purposeful, and insightful way; thinking about things one had never thought of before; and changing one's mind about things one had always taken for granted. The instructor uses only essay examinations as the only way to check in any sort of real way to see if students have thought about the materials at all, if they have some sense of historical connections and chronology, and if they can see what is important and what is not. The examination questions are given out well in advance in the belief that the students are unable to cope with reading, thinking about, and answering a question in the same class time. The professor stops the lecture often, asking questions in order to get the students to participate. Occasionally carefully planned discussions in which students have an opportunity to represent different factions are scheduled. Also, students are assigned a family history project rather than a term paper because of poor library facilities and plagiarism problems, and these assignments usually arouse real interest and involvement. (DK)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association (San Francisco, CA, December 1993).