CatherineM's Response

1) Levesque states that we need not only the understanding of the narrative of history, which is what we can get from books, and is what is so heavily stressed today in our learning of history. However he also stresses we need an understanding of things like evidence, primary documents, empathy, continuity and change, etc. These are skills we are not given and have to be honed and built up, and which is not fostered in our traditional ways of learning. We are given chapter of a test book to read, but are not given the source documents so we can form our own interpretations, we are reading about slavery but we are not putting ourselves in the though processes of people of that time. We are given the narrative but we are not told to question whether its the right narrative, or given the tools to help create a narrative of our own.

2) Levesque seems to propose a more hands off approach to learning altogether. The teacher is encouraged to act more as a facilitator and promote the majority of the thought process by the student. Wineburg aims to break the larger narratives down into small pieces to be individually consumed by the student, so after they unpack and process one piece, they can move on to the next. It seems that Wineburg's approach is still more hands on, while Levesque encourages the students to attack the whole of the problem and think it through.

3) I think experiential learning really forces students not to rely on the crutch that we have been given for so long with the previous model of learning that is memorizing a textbook and listening to hours of lecture at a time. Levesque stresses the teacher acting as a facilitator in the learning process. This can allow the student to take control of the thought process and take it to a place that can eat to greater understanding for the student, and may have been somewhere that even the teacher did not think of. This will most likely be uncomfortable for the students at first because for so long we have been conditioned to drink from the educational firehose and keep it down until the correct time when we are to regurgitate it back up, so forcing the students to think through the whole process themselves may be met with hesitation and frustration that they are just given more questions than answers. But facilitating discussion and questioning the students forces them tho problem solve on their own, rely on their peers to help them and provide thoughts as well, it can also help students not accept the first conclusion they come to as the only answer, even if that conclusion is theirs.

Comments

GraceM said:

I agree with your first statement and for your second one I thought of it in a different way. I didn't necessarily see that Levesque wants the students to look at the historical question in one piece but rather, just like you said, more of a hands on approach and that they could break it down if they need to, as long as they use primary sources, analytical thinking, etc. to reach a historical conclusion. You might be right in your analysis and that's ok as well, in case I missed something but that was something that I thought was slightly different.

I like your analysis and analogy in your third statement. I agree with what you said and the reasons why.