Using Deliberative Techniques to Teach United States History

By Eleanora Von Dehsen; Nancy Claxton | Go to book overview

Introduction
International Debate Education Association (IDEA) believes that free and open discussion is essential to the establishment and preservation of open, democratic societies, and its work supports initiatives promoting excellence and innovation in formal and informal education. IDEA cooperates and maintains contact with educational institutions in over 40 countries. It has extensive experience in conducting teacher training at all levels, as well as in organizing public speaking and debate events for secondary school students through workshops, competitions, and educational institutes. To complement these activities, IDEA has consistently produced quality curricula and educational resources.Responding to the needs of secondary school teachers in many countries, IDEA has developed deliberative methodology (or deliberative education), which uses interactive teaching and learning approaches—role-play, simulations, debates, speeches, presentations, and so forth—to facilitate learning and create a new form of relationship between you and your class.Deliberative education methodologies assist teachers in achieving a number of educational goals:
Fostering interactive instruction, democratic dialogue, student–teacher partnerships, and cooperative learning
Promoting student ownership of learning and application of knowledge
Developing students’ listening and communication skills
Developing students’ critical thinking and argumentation skills
Developing students’ research (traditional and computer) and critical reading and evaluation skills

Deliberative education is especially suited to the teaching of history, where the goal is not for students simply to learn names, dates, facts, and events, but for them to engage in historical thinking, ask questions, examine the historical record, and research evidence in support of theses. Using deliberative methodology furthers these goals, as it encourages students to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate historical information in order to create and present their own historical arguments and narratives.


DEFINING THE NEED FOR TEACHING HISTORICAL THINKING SKILLS

While most think of facts, dates, people, and events that must be taught when they consider the content of a history curriculum, it is essential to realize that without having the skills to critically analyze these facts, dates, people, and events, history would be incredibly dry in the classroom. It is the study of exploring these details, finding out the whys and hows of events, and trying to make sense of how those details brought us to the world we live in

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