History is learned when students are involved.
Prior articles, including, Immersing students in the historical environment, We assume so we can assimulate but novelty makes us think, and Witty music videos teach history showcased the need for interactive strategies during class. This article shares another example.
The New Jersey Courier Post reporter Barbara S. Rothchild filed an article late last year focusing on Burlington County Institute of Technology teacher Jeanne DelColle. The article states that DelColle, a frequent traveler and arts and archaeology devotee, uses pottery shards, bits of flint, and other artifacts she collects during her travels.
Rothchild reported that DelColle believes the approach helps students in “…discovering history as primary scientists. You are hypothesizing about what people used long, long ago.”
DelColle, not relying on a textbook to teach history, instead uses music, art and culture to teach about each society she teaches.
As quoted in the article, DelColle explained the following.
“Because we’re a vocational school, most of our students are working with their hands at some point of the day. Education needs to be hands on, and these kids need to know that what they do matters.”
The article listed a variety of interactive learning techniques DelColle uses to bring history alive.
- Classes begin with a philosophical question that students must decide with a yes or no answer and then defend their opinion.
- The song “Frere Jacques” is used to memorize the twelve major Chinese dynasties.
- A mid-term exam featured the creation of wiki pages providing information on nuclear proliferation.
- Students are asked to design their own country, negotiating the values they believe most important.
The unusual lesson plans have received extremely favorable reviews from DelColle’s students. Rothchild reported the following comments.
Tiana McMillan, 18 stated, “Ms. DelColle always fills things with purpose.”
Shawn Carmega, 17 added, “She can adapt to your individual learning curve. I feel like I lived through those times — I feel like I was Napoleon — because I could relate on the basis of my own characteristics.”
Samantha Jackson, 17, explained, “She really gets all her students involved and is doing it with a passion. She takes us personally.”
DeLois Howard, 16, a senior cosmetology student said, “I actually learned there. In other classes, it was just memorizing.”
DelColle’s techniques were recognized by New Jersey Council for the Humanities when she was named the 2010 Teacher of the Year.
It sounds like the award was well deserved.
Lenn Millbower is president of Offbeat Training LLC where he provides speaking, coaching and consulting services to help trainers, teachers, speakers, and other presenters keep their audience awake so the learning can take™!