Virtual Gazebo

June 28, 2009 - 9:18 PM

Welcome to a virtual gazebo for exploring the literature of history teaching and learning.  Any comments herein are purely my opinion and don't reflect some meta-position on the part of the larger BHH community.

With that disclaimer established, I'll try to explain the origin and purpose for this blog...

The blind man feeling the elephant is an apt analogy for how I've developed a relationship with the history ed literature.  Over the years I've scaffolded an understanding of the major frameworks that have been developed to explain how children make sense of the components of history.  But I was a spectator to the texts I read, a bit like the novice reader of history in Sam Wineburg's On the Reading of Historical Texts (2001).  I read them largely as received wisdom, though I would make notes in the margins, such as "This is BHH!" or "I see this in our 2nd graders!"  My relationship with the literature began to change when I one day said, "Wow, the students I've observed in BHH classrooms can do so much more than this research team is saying children of this age can do."   And while the study that triggered that reaction was particularly ill-conceived and interpreted, and shall be nameless in this particular blog post, it nonetheless provided a service.  It shifted my relationship to the literature from receiving to participating.  I use "participating" loosely -- I only just submitted my first piece for peer review publication last year -- as a description of how I read.  

While my book margins have always been messy places of musings and connections, they've now become sites of affirmation and argument unbeknownst to the writers that filled the spaces between those margins.  I frequently reach the end of a paper or chapter and wish I could invite the author to my gazebo for a glass of sangria and an evening considering the permuations of their studies, their data and their interpretations and conclusions about said data. 

Given that there is no time to even share such conversation with fellow readers much less the authors, I've resorted to beginning this blog.  I want to see if a virtual gazebo is a workable surrogate for the real thing.  I have my doubts.  Essentially, I'm still scribbling in the margins.  But at least if others are looking for a bit of information on a paper or two, maybe they'll find their way here and make some use of my musings. 

I will try to include in each entry a link to a bibliography on the web that may be of use to members of various parts of the history ed K-PhD community.  In that spirit, I start off with the bibliography of Works on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning History:    This is on the site of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in History.  Several leading British history ed researchers of the late 20th and early 21st century aren't included on the  bib.  But the SOTL-H site includes an open invitation for members to send in additional titles, so it's a work in progress. 

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