My first post as a Contributor to the Teaching US History blog is up today. In it, I ruminate a bit on our love-hate relationship with the survey course, and think about what it means to be “historically literate”:
Leave aside for the moment the fact that merely putting material in front of students is no way to guarantee learning, and consider that no other discipline makes this type of claim about their survey course. My colleagues in the Psychology Department don’t say that PSYC 101 renders a student proficient enough to become a therapist. Biology 101 isn’t sold as the only course one needs before they can operate on someone. I can’t take Geology 101 and expect the USGS to let me come along when their team goes down into the volcano’s caldera (alas). But somehow the history survey renders a student perfectly conversant–nay, intimately familiar with–US History? That’s absurd, and we need to stop presenting–and defending–the US survey this way
For the rest, head over to teachingushistory.co and check it out. While you’re there, if you’re not familiar with the blog, take some time to browse around. There’s really good stuff there from a lot of really interesting and cool contributors. Thanks to the editorial staff for letting me join the merry band of teaching historians!