Friday, March 12, 2004

Teaching Historical Thinking.

Teaching Historical Thinking. Students don't come to class ready to think about history. This paper examines ways that a teacher can teach historical thinking.

From the site:

Over the past decade, cognitive studies researcher Samuel Wineburg has conducted empirical studies to compare the way historians think about primary and secondary sources with the thinking processes of high school students and teachers. Wineburg discusses his research in a recently published (2001) book about historical thinking, which is the main source for this Digest. Wineburg's research demonstrates the importance of domain-based or subject-specific thinking in the teaching and learning of history. This Digest addresses Wineburg's conception of historical thinking and its application to the teaching and learning of history in schools. The Digest discusses (1) Wineburg's "sourcing heuristic" and "corroboration heuristic" in historical thinking, (2) Wineburg's findings on historical thinking and domain-specific knowledge, (3) applications of historical thinking to reading and interpreting documents, and (4) Internet-resources for teachers of historical thinking.


Wineburg uses two key concepts -- the "sourcing heuristic" and the "corroboration heuristic" -- to explain how historians think as they read documents. When historians examine primary sources, they engage in the sourcing heuristic by asking questions about an author's credentials, motivations, and participation in events at the time a document was written and the audience for whom the document was intended. Historians contextualize the content of a document, which enables them to appreciate ways of perceiving and thinking that are quite different from conventional ways of perceiving and thinking today. When teachers and students use the sourcing heuristic, they can create a distance between their own views and those of the people of earlier eras.

Historians also use the corroboration heuristic to compare information learned from several documents. Historians make inter-text links while reading documents, noting corroboration among primary sources as well as among historians' interpretations.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Woodrow Wilson: A Brief Biography

Woodrow Wilson: A Brief Biography This is another biref Presidential biography by me.

From the site:

THOMAS WOODROW WILSON was the 28th president of the United States. Born on the 28th of December 1856, he was an American scholar and statesman who was best remembered for his high-minded and leading the United States into World War I.

Wilson was born to religious and well-educated people, mainly of Scottish background. Wilson's father, Joseph Ruggles Wilson, studied for the clergy at the Presbyterian directed Princeton University. He married Janet Woodrow, and early in the 1850s the Wilsons moved to Virginia, where he became minister of a church in Staunton. There, in 1856 Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born, the first son and third child.

Apparently dyslexic from childhood, Wilson did not learn to read until he was 10 and never became a rapid reader. Nevertheless, he developed passionate interests in literature and especially politics. He attended Davidson College North Carolina, for a year before entering Princeton University in 1875. At Princeton he blossomed intellectually, reading widely, engaging in debate, and editing the college newspaper.

After graduation from Princeton in 1879, Wilson studied law at the University of Virginia, with the hope that it would lead to politics. However, he became inpatient with the fine points of law and only reluctantly mastered them. Although his work was outstanding, he found public speaking and political history more satisfying. Despite intermittent illness, he received his law degree and in 1882 settled in Atlanta, Georgia, where he opened a law practice. In 1883 he became tired of the firm and abandoned his law career for graduate study in government and history at Johns Hopkins University, where in 1886 he received a Ph.D.

Wilson's doctoral thesis was also his first book, Congressional Government: A Study in American Politics (1885), which further developed his comparison between the American and parliamentary government and suggested reforms that would make the American system more efficient and more answerable to public opinion. Accepted and published early in 1885, it sold well. Influential reviewers found Wilson's attitude toward American democracy novel and stimulating.

Monday, March 08, 2004

The Historian Underground

The Historian Underground This site provides articles, links, and other resources related to historiography and historical methodology, as well as philosophy of history.

From the site:

Nietzsche has argued that history ought to be useful to life. Too often academic history simply judges the past, separates the past from the present, and makes the historical ineffective for use in contemporary struggles. The philosophy of the Historian Underground seeks to break this trend. The task of history is not in judging the past but to judge the present. The study and investigation of history can be an important tool in providing a ground for critique. It can be a tool for liberation of thought and a freeing of possibilities. This site has attempted to bring together a diverse collection of materials towards that end. Below you will find articles unique to this site, a growing list of history quotes, and a large collection of related Links. And now you can also Visit our shop. Also feel free to check out the new associate sites of The Historian Underground, as well as our recently added Book Search Center. Comments and criticism are most welcome and can be sent to David Kosalka or you can Sign my Guestbook.