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ERIC Number: EJ1150090
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1535-0584
The History That Is inside of Us: L. Thomas Hopkins and the Transformation of American History at Brewster High, 1912-13
Davis, O. L., Jr.
American Educational History Journal, v41 n2 p327-335 2014
On the day before the Thanksgiving school recess in 1912, teacher L. Thomas Hopkins made an unusual admission to his small American history class at Brewster High School on Massachusetts' Cape Cod. He told his students that he knew they disliked the course. He confessed that he, too, disliked how the course was going. Following a short period of silent wonder, Hopkins remarked that they should not have to endure a course that was unsuccessful to them, and neither should he. So, he promised them that when classes resumed after the holiday during the 1912-1913 academic year they would spend some time discussing the course's problems. He claimed that they could influence the nature of their historical study through the remainder of the year. What followed for Hopkins and his class, according to his frequent telling of the story, constituted recognition of a series of important personal discoveries that prompted a radically transformed American history course. In addition, his story dealt with changed academic expectations both for students and for himself. The retelling of Hopkins' story of teaching high school American history in the 1912-13 school year can inform thinking about curriculum and teaching. It can stimulate considerations of fresh initiatives. Central to Hopkins' account of curriculum revision was his recognition that some of the relevant subject matter already resides within individuals. He believed that this knowledge within individuals, for the most part, likely is inadequate, partial, and may be false, yet it exists, and students will use it as they seek to make sense of additional knowledge as it becomes available to them. On the basis of the skimpy available evidence, it is said that Hopkins" students thanked him for helping them understand that the history that is inside themselves truly mattered and richly related to their studies of history written by others.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A