Changing History, Reshaping the Way Students Learn

By: Sonia Randev
By: Sonia Randev

"I think one of the challenges history teachers always face is to be able to take events from the past and make them relevant in today's terms," says Katherine Brown, professor at Mary Baldwin.

Making students care about the past has always been a tough task for history teachers. But recent history could be making that a little bit easier.

"Students come in with questions, and we need to answer those questions," says Angela Loane. Many of those questions are about the war in Iraq and the 9/11 attacks. And for elementary school teachers like Sally Williams, it has become a challenge.

"You have to be extremely careful that you don't set fear in with the children and elaborate on issues that may later cause great concern or stress with child at the age of nine and 10," says Sally Williams.

Some teachers are using the events in the past to draw similarities and help students better understand what's going in the world today.

"End of WW11, we talk about when Israel was started as a country, and you get into the Middle East conflict, and you can get into the reason why Arabs may dislike Americans. You can lead that into the terrorist attacks, so it’s all related," says Grand Cockrell.

The history teachers were at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton today as part of a program on how to better teach history in schools.


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