Friday, April 4, 2008

NCHE 2008: "Teachers as Researchers" by Phil Nicolosi

This incredible presentation focused as much on using historical documents in the classroom as

History is an action verb and is messy. It is like a puzzle with some pieces missing. The historian's job is to place the pieces together so it can create a picture.

Fisher recommends students approach primary sources using the following acronym:
A - Author (include position and perspective)
D - Date (include context - what else is going on)
A - Audience (to whom is it written)
P - Purpose (why was it written)
T - Tone (words/phrases used to convey the purpose)

When students report on a historical event in Fisher's classes, they must:
  • Include as least one source that is an image;
  • Include as least one source that supports each point that could create a counter argument; and,
  • Include an analysis of each document.
In the history classroom, we often expect students to repeat what they read rather than constructing new knowledge or creating their own knowledge. In a science classroom, students do science in their lab coats doing experiments. In the math class, they work through problems, showing their method of moving from the problem to the answer. They are being mathematicians. In the history classroom, students are often no more than clerics -- writing down everything they hear. History teachers need to require their students to show their work and tell how they came to their answers. Students should reference primary sources and tell how they come to the conclusions they identify.


David Klish said...

I really enjoyed your presentation at the NCHE conf. in Louisville, although the technology didn't go your way. Thanks for the info.

Christy G. Keeler, Ph.D. said...

Thank you for your kind remarks. I needed it after losing use of technology in such a technology-intensive presentation.

Note that I have made the full presentation available in video format (using screencasting) for those who would like to see and hear the examples. It is available at

Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you or others integrate technology with your students.

Christy G. Keeler, Ph.D. said...

I was unable to get the video to work properly, but an audio version of the presentation is available.