Oral History in the 21st Century Classroom Prepared for the American Federation of Teachers February 2010
<ul><li>Glenn Whitman </li></ul><ul><li>Dean of Studies </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
Today’s Objectives <ul><li>1. Demonstrate the value of oral history as an educational and historical methodology. </li></u...
<ul><li>Student Responses </li></ul><ul><li>September 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>George Washington </li></ul><ul><li>Thomas Je...
What is Oral History? <ul><li>What it is: </li></ul><ul><li>“ A historical method that </li></ul><ul><li>collects  and  pr...
What skills and values should we teach students to prepare them for the world they will inherit in the 21 st  century? <ul...
Preparing Students for their “Right Brained” Future   (not our Left Brained Past) <ul><li>“ The Six Senses” </li></ul><ul>...
Preparing Students for their 21 st  Century Future   “ Five Minds” 1. The Disciplined Mind 2. The Synthesizing Mind 3. The...
Why I Use Oral History as an Educational Methodology <ul><li>Trains the next generation of historians through “Cognitive a...
Why I Use Oral History as an Educational Methodology <ul><li>No geographic limitations </li></ul><ul><li>“ You don‘t have ...
It’s What Students Will Remember About Your Course! p. 10
Challenges to Bringing Oral History into the Classroom  <ul><li>1. Time and Scheduling </li></ul><ul><ul><li>69% of K-12 c...
Barbara Tuchman Practicing History <ul><li>Professional Historian </li></ul><ul><li>“ Someone who has had </li></ul><ul><l...
The Student Oral Historian:  Preserving History Today for the Historians of Tomorrow “ . . . Do it for me and for the legi...
Creating and Conducting an Oral History Project - Frank & Ernest by Bob Thaves
When Creating and Conducting an Oral History Project Think “P” <ul><li>Preparation </li></ul><ul><li>Practice (educator an...
Bringing Oral History to Your Classroom or Program <ul><li>Passive Oral History </li></ul><ul><li>“ An opportunity to lear...
<ul><li>Oral History methodology and training (on-going). </li></ul><ul><li>Interviewee selection (Where do you find inter...
<ul><li>(8) Transcription (Does every project need to be transcribed in full?) </li></ul><ul><li>-  “At the time of the pr...
The American Century Project at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School www.americancenturyproject.org
Interviewees 650 interview tapes and transcriptions <ul><li>Sandra Day O’Connor </li></ul><ul><li>John L. Lewis </li></ul>...
American Century Project Archive Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage -  www.mdch.org Dreyfuss Library, St. Andrew’s Episcop...
<ul><li>&quot;Not only did it teach us about history, but it taught the larger message of respect and responsibility that ...
<ul><li>“ I got the packet today . . . I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading it, and how much it touched me.  These ...
The Student Oral Historian:  Preserving History Today for the Historians of Tomorrow <ul><li>“ Without the student </li></...
Resources/Must Haves for Oral History Education <ul><li>Lanman and Whendling,  Educating the Next Generation of Oral Histo...
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  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom Who am I (Dickinson College, Dartmouth) Get a sense of the audience (Who works with students at the pre-collegiate level) I have to make a confession. For the longest time I hated history even though it was my best subject. Not surprisingly, “hate” is the word most students still associate with taking history and for many of the same reasons: memorizing names and dates for tests, standardized tests, is not intellectually stimulating and it certainly does not come close to replicating what a historian actually does. What changed my outlook on history, and ultimately my approach to teaching the subject was a Historical Methods class I took as a freshman at Dickinson College. Conducted an oral history interview with 3 Vietnam Vets at the Carlisle, PA VFW hall (Not only introduction to oral history but also drinking a substantial amount of beer)
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom When Thomas Jefferson responded to Daniel Shay’s Rebellion in 1786 by declaring, “A little rebellion now and then is a good thing,” he might as well have been speaking about some of the current thinking among K-12 Social Studies educators across the country. Like Shay, these educators are challenging the restrictive nature of national and state standards that are being driven by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in order to provide students with more authentic opportunities to be and think like historians. Creative and imaginative educators realize that academic standards, whether they are for state mandated tests or AP exams, can be met through well-developed projects that become more enduring, and teach far more, than any standardized test. One of the most effective educational methods utilized by educators to meet the duel goals of academic standards, and providing students with real opportunities to function as a historian, is an oral history project that empowers students to become producers of historical records rather than passive absorbers of historical information.
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom When left to the professionals this is what students know.
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom It’s what students remember most about their academic experience. Lindsay Scherr story. “Great Compromiser?” versus who your oral history interviewee was?
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom If we left the collection and preservation of history solely to “professionals” far too many stories would be lost, especially from those marginalized groups not part, of what Clifford Kuhn calls, “The master narrative of history.” Each of our classes or programs has “amateur” historians who, when properly trained in oral history as a historical methodology, can become producers of historical records rather than passive absorbers of historical information.
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom “ Asking Hard Questions: Harvey the Historian as Colleague” (OHA Newsletter, Fall 2004) -Charles Morrissey, Baylor University Harvey (The invisible but helpful future-minded historian) “ Harvey reminds me, by his constant but undetectable presence, of what to do when informants seem reluctant to divulge crucial explanations of sensitive topics. Image if a future historian sat here in this room with us now, they would be grateful to hear you explain how this difficulty was confronted.” “ What would a future historian listening to this interview expect or want me to ask?” Places an increased emphasis on making sure students are trained in oral history methodology in order to insure the most useable document
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom If we left the collection and preservation of history solely to “professionals” far too many stories would be lost, especially from those marginalized groups not part, of what Clifford Kuhn calls, “The master narrative of history.” Each of our classes or programs has “amateur” historians who, when properly trained in oral history as a historical methodology, can become producers of historical records rather than passive absorbers of historical information.
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom What the amateur historian can do when properly trained in oral history methodology!
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom Largest pre-collegiate oral history archive in the country (360 projects) Goal is to expand access to collection and bring what makes oral history unique, the voice recorded interview, to the web site Unfortunately, most school projects never get beyond being graded by the teacher and often end up entombed in boxes.
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom
  • Linking Curriculum and Community in the Pre-collegiate Classroom
  • Oral history in_21st_century_classroom

    1. 1. Oral History in the 21st Century Classroom Prepared for the American Federation of Teachers February 2010
    2. 2. <ul><li>Glenn Whitman </li></ul><ul><li>Dean of Studies </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
    3. 3. Today’s Objectives <ul><li>1. Demonstrate the value of oral history as an educational and historical methodology. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Demonstrate that when students are empowered to be and think like oral historians, they can make lasting contributions to the communities in which they live and study. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Practice the oral history process. </li></ul>
    4. 4. <ul><li>Student Responses </li></ul><ul><li>September 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>George Washington </li></ul><ul><li>Thomas Jefferson </li></ul><ul><li>Martin Luther King, Jr. </li></ul><ul><li>Ronald Reagan </li></ul><ul><li>Abraham Lincoln </li></ul><ul><li>John F. Kennedy </li></ul><ul><li>Bill Clinton </li></ul><ul><li>Only 3 women (Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman) were mentioned among the list of 15 students </li></ul><ul><li>Student Responses </li></ul><ul><li>September 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>George Washington </li></ul><ul><li>Christopher Columbus </li></ul><ul><li>FDR </li></ul><ul><li>Harriet Tubman </li></ul><ul><li>Abraham Lincoln </li></ul><ul><li>Hillary Clinton </li></ul>How do we account for such lists? & Who is missing from these lists? What are the first ten names in United States History that come to your mind?
    5. 5. What is Oral History? <ul><li>What it is: </li></ul><ul><li>“ A historical method that </li></ul><ul><li>collects and preserves </li></ul><ul><li>first-hand, spoken </li></ul><ul><li>memories through </li></ul><ul><li>recorded interviews” </li></ul><ul><li>-Donald A. Ritchie </li></ul><ul><li>Doing Oral History </li></ul><ul><li>What it is not: </li></ul><ul><li>Journalism </li></ul><ul><li>-“Kissing Cousins: Journalism and Oral History ( OHR , 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>Folklore </li></ul><ul><li>Role Playing </li></ul>
    6. 6. What skills and values should we teach students to prepare them for the world they will inherit in the 21 st century? <ul><li>Honesty and integrity </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility </li></ul><ul><li>Teaming </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Inclusiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Value diversity </li></ul><ul><li>Problem solving (Complex, real-world) </li></ul><ul><li>Public Speaking </li></ul><ul><li>Self-discipline </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership </li></ul>
    7. 7. Preparing Students for their “Right Brained” Future (not our Left Brained Past) <ul><li>“ The Six Senses” </li></ul><ul><li>Design </li></ul><ul><li>Story (Direction, Inspiration, Compelling narrative) </li></ul><ul><li>Symphony (Bringing skills and values together, Synthesis) </li></ul><ul><li>Empathy ( EQ versus IQ) </li></ul><ul><li>Play (Unsupervised, unrestricted and imaginative) </li></ul><ul><li>Meaning </li></ul>
    8. 8. Preparing Students for their 21 st Century Future “ Five Minds” 1. The Disciplined Mind 2. The Synthesizing Mind 3. The Creating Mind 4. The Respectful Mind 5. The Ethical Mind “ Seven Survival Skills” 1. Critical thinking and problem solving 2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence 3. Agility and adaptability 4. Effective oral and written communication 5. Accessing and analyzing information 6. Curiosity and imagination
    9. 9. Why I Use Oral History as an Educational Methodology <ul><li>Trains the next generation of historians through “Cognitive apprenticeships” </li></ul><ul><li>-Kim Porter, University of North Dakota </li></ul><ul><li>Empowers student with their own learning (and confusion) </li></ul><ul><li>Allows students to connect with the past that will be more enduring than Jefferson or Lincoln </li></ul><ul><li>Generates student “experts” who serve as co-teachers for the class </li></ul><ul><li>Accessible to all types of learners, across grade levels, and disciplines </li></ul><ul><li>Creates a more inclusive history for marginalized groups of people </li></ul><ul><li>“ It’s fun!” (“An underappreciated educational methodology”) </li></ul>
    10. 10. Why I Use Oral History as an Educational Methodology <ul><li>No geographic limitations </li></ul><ul><li>“ You don‘t have to be famous for your life to have history.” </li></ul><ul><li>-Southern Oral History Program </li></ul><ul><li>Everyman [and woman] can be his own oral historian. </li></ul><ul><li>An oral history project can meet and often exceeds state and national standards of learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Helps to build intergenerational bridges </li></ul><ul><li>An oral history project can be integrated across disciplines, grade levels and types of schools and programs </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunity for “Service Learning” (Allowing students to make important contributions to the communities in which they live and study) </li></ul>
    11. 11. It’s What Students Will Remember About Your Course! p. 10
    12. 12. Challenges to Bringing Oral History into the Classroom <ul><li>1. Time and Scheduling </li></ul><ul><ul><li>69% of K-12 classroom teachers identified time and scheduling as the “most substantial obstacle to classroom use.” (1987 OHA Committee on Teaching Survey) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2. National and State Standards </li></ul><ul><li>3. Finding teachers willing to “share authroity” with their students and interviewee-teachers. </li></ul><ul><li>4. Providing educators and students with the proper training in oral history methodology. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Barbara Tuchman Practicing History <ul><li>Professional Historian </li></ul><ul><li>“ Someone who has had </li></ul><ul><li>graduate training leading </li></ul><ul><li>to a professional degree </li></ul><ul><li>and who practices within </li></ul><ul><li>a university.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Amateur” Historian </li></ul><ul><li>“ Someone outside the </li></ul><ul><li>university without a </li></ul><ul><li>graduate degree.” </li></ul>The two need each other to help “democratize” the historical record
    14. 14. The Student Oral Historian: Preserving History Today for the Historians of Tomorrow “ . . . Do it for me and for the legion of other social scientists and historians who will come upon your students’ work ages hence--and will learn important things about your community, and how it was to live in what we, from our limited perspective, call “modern times.” - James W. Loewen, author Sundown Towns , Lies Across America and Lies My History Teacher Told Me in the “Foreword” to Dialogue with the Past: Engaging Students and Meeting Standards Through Oral History
    15. 15. Creating and Conducting an Oral History Project - Frank & Ernest by Bob Thaves
    16. 16. When Creating and Conducting an Oral History Project Think “P” <ul><li>Preparation </li></ul><ul><li>Practice (educator and student) </li></ul><ul><li>Process (Principles and Standards of the OHA) </li></ul><ul><li>Product </li></ul><ul><li>Preservation </li></ul><ul><li>Publication </li></ul>
    17. 17. Bringing Oral History to Your Classroom or Program <ul><li>Passive Oral History </li></ul><ul><li>“ An opportunity to learn </li></ul><ul><li>from the actual history </li></ul><ul><li>makers themselves instead </li></ul><ul><li>of from textbooks.” </li></ul><ul><li>-Barry Lanman, COHE </li></ul><ul><li>Use of ready-made oral history </li></ul><ul><li>sources (transcripts and </li></ul><ul><li>recordings) </li></ul><ul><li>-i.e. slave narratives from the Federal Writer’s Project </li></ul><ul><li>Active Oral History </li></ul><ul><li>Conducting an oral history project </li></ul><ul><li>Requires extensive time and commitment </li></ul><ul><li>“ Authentic Doing” </li></ul><ul><li>-Howard Levin, Urban School, San Francisco, CA) </li></ul>
    18. 18. <ul><li>Oral History methodology and training (on-going). </li></ul><ul><li>Interviewee selection (Where do you find interviewees?) </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-Interview Worksheet and meeting </li></ul><ul><li>Research/Content Background (Research timeline) </li></ul><ul><li>Interview Questions (Get to the “sub-text”) </li></ul><ul><li>Interview (Location, equipment , student safety, emotional questions/responses) </li></ul><ul><li>Interviewer/Interviewee release forms (A must!) </li></ul>Goal: To make a useable, accessible, and enduring primary source Oral History is a Historical Process Ch. 5 “ Ipod Nation”
    19. 19. <ul><li>(8) Transcription (Does every project need to be transcribed in full?) </li></ul><ul><li>- “At the time of the project, I can remember complaining </li></ul><ul><li>profusely about how laborious transcription is. Here I will </li></ul><ul><li>grudgingly admit that which did not kill me made me stronger.” </li></ul><ul><li>- Libby Barringer, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School Student </li></ul><ul><li>- Cost often necessitates Time Indexing Log rather than complete transcription </li></ul><ul><li>(9) Analysis/Interpretation (bias, distortions, presentism, trauma). All historical sources need to be treated with equal skepticism. </li></ul><ul><li>Archiving/Preservation/Publication “It becomes history when booked” (James Loewen) </li></ul>The Project Process
    20. 20. The American Century Project at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School www.americancenturyproject.org
    21. 21. Interviewees 650 interview tapes and transcriptions <ul><li>Sandra Day O’Connor </li></ul><ul><li>John L. Lewis </li></ul><ul><li>General John Shalikashvili </li></ul><ul><li>Marion Barry </li></ul><ul><li>Ernest Green </li></ul><ul><li>Jack Valenti </li></ul><ul><li>Helen Thomas </li></ul><ul><li>Bob Rast </li></ul><ul><li>Ivona Kaz-Jepsen </li></ul><ul><li>Warren Allen Smith </li></ul><ul><li>Ernest Burke </li></ul><ul><li>Eugenia Kiesling </li></ul><ul><li>Virginia Ali </li></ul><ul><li>Ann Stevens </li></ul><ul><li>Joey Thompson </li></ul>
    22. 22. American Century Project Archive Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage - www.mdch.org Dreyfuss Library, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School
    23. 23. <ul><li>&quot;Not only did it teach us about history, but it taught the larger message of respect and responsibility that come with historical knowledge.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Drew Saylor, SAES student) </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;In the case of my project, examining the role of women in the 1950s, my interview totally contradicted my research. I could not understand why this woman did not hate staying at home raising five children with no career or educational opportunities. I thought that I had done something wrong. What I learned, however, is that her story was one that had never been told. I told her story.“ </li></ul><ul><li>(Amy Helms, SAES student) </li></ul>Project Feedback (Students)
    24. 24. <ul><li>“ I got the packet today . . . I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading it, and how much it touched me. These are questions I’ve always wanted to ask you, and about you, and the war that I always wanted to know about, and hear you talk about. I guess it’s like Carol [son’s wife] said, “it’s easier to talk to a stranger than to talk to someone who is close to you.” I know you’ve talked to me a little about it, but never this in depth or that much about your feelings. I want you to know that after reading this, even more so now, that I thank God that my father is alive and that my children have a real grandfather instead of just a memory to hear about from me.” </li></ul>
    25. 25. The Student Oral Historian: Preserving History Today for the Historians of Tomorrow <ul><li>“ Without the student </li></ul><ul><li>oral historian far too </li></ul><ul><li>many stories would be </li></ul><ul><li>lost; it would be like a </li></ul><ul><li>library burning down.” </li></ul><ul><li>- Donald A. Ritchie, Doing Oral History </li></ul>St. Andrew’s Episcopal School Student Michael Bryan with interviewee Ernest Burke a player in the Negro Baseball League
    26. 26. Resources/Must Haves for Oral History Education <ul><li>Lanman and Whendling, Educating the Next Generation of Oral Historians </li></ul><ul><li>Oral History Association (Extensive Resource Information under “Education Committee”) http://www.dickinson.edu/oha/ </li></ul><ul><li>Ritchie, Doing Oral History </li></ul><ul><li>Whitman, Dialogue with the Past </li></ul><ul><li>Wood, Oral History Projects in Your Classroom </li></ul><ul><li>Become a member of the OHA or COHE </li></ul>

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