• About Farm School

    "There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live."
    James Adams, from his essay "To 'Be' or to 'Do': A Note on American Education", 1929

    We're a Canadian family of five, farming, home schooling, and building our own house. I'm nowhere near as regular a blogger as I used to be.

    The kids are 18/Grade 12, 16/Grade 11, and 14/Grade 10.

    Contact me at becky(dot)farmschool(at)gmail(dot)com

  • Notable Quotables

    "If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
    William Morris, from his lecture "The Beauty of Life"

    "‘Never look at an ugly thing twice. It is fatally easy to get accustomed to corrupting influences."
    English architect CFA Voysey (1857-1941)

    "The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men’s hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead."
    Clarence Day

    "Anyone who has a library and a garden wants for nothing."
    Cicero

    "Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend."
    Sir Francis Bacon, "Essays"

    "The chief aim of education is to show you, after you make a livelihood, how to enjoy living; and you can live longest and best and most rewardingly by attaining and preserving the happiness of learning."
    Gilbert Highet, "The Immortal Profession: The Joys of Teaching and Learning"

    "Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."
    Walter Wriston

    "I'd like to give you a piece of my mind."
    "Oh, I couldn't take the last piece."
    Ginger Rogers to Frances Mercer in "Vivacious Lady" (1938)

    "No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem."
    Booker T. Washington

    "Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member."
    Attributed to Groucho Marx in "The Groucho Letters" by Arthur Sheekman

    "If you can't say something good about someone, sit right here by me."
    Alice Roosevelt Longworth

    "If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, we feel all our hard work ain't been in vain for nothin'."
    Jean Hagen as "Lina Lamont" in "Singin' in the Rain" (1952)
  • Categories

  • Archives

  • ChasDarwinHasAPosse
  • Farm School: A Twitter-Free Zone

    antitwit
  • Copyright © 2005-2016 Please do not use any of my words or my personal photographs without my express permission.

Good habits and the historical mind

I’ve just started catching up on my blog reading, and one of the places I turned to first was J.L. Bell’s Boston 1775 (and I hope to get caught up at Bell’s Oz and Ends sometime soon), where I found the recommendation for this “damn good article”: “Teaching the Mind Good Habits” by Sam Wineburg, originally published in The Chronicle of Higher Education several years ago.

Wineburg is Professor of Education and History at Stanford University and author of Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching the Past.

From the article:

When I’ve broached the topic of habits of mind with historians, I’ve often encountered an uncharacteristic reticence. Those who comment often refer to general critical-thinking skills that could apply just as easily to texts about astrophysics or wire-haired terriers as to historical documents. Yet across the many historians I’ve interviewed, from the most traditional diplomatic historian to the hippest adherent of the trendiest subfield, I’ve been able to discern the contours of a shared disciplinary culture. …

For students, historical habits of mind constitute major intellectual hurdles. Students see their professors’ thoughtsas finished products, tidied up and packaged for publicpresentation in books, articles, and lectures. Historians shield from view their raw thinking, the way they try to make sense of their subject.

We need to bring this messier form of expertise into the classroom. Students who believe that knowledge bursts Athena-like from the professor’s head may never learn to think like historians, may never be able to reconstruct past worlds
from the most minimal of clues. We need to show students that the self-assured figure lecturing from the podium is not what a historian looks like in his or her office, puzzling through difficult texts.

In fact, the processes by which a scholar makes sense of material — what I sometimes call the intermediate processes of cognition — are powerful teaching tools. Historians can model in class how they read by having students bring in unfamiliar texts and demonstrating how to interpret and assess them. With a companion document, they can show the strategies they use to corroborate evidence and piece together a coherent context. Or professors could refer students to the useful Web site History Matters (http://www.historymatters.gmu.edu), whose section on making sense of evidence includes acclaimed historians’ discussions of how they evaluate different genres of primary evidence.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: