Discussion 1: How to Teach History (Preview Content)
Wes Callihan and Christopher Perrin discuss Wes’s first lecture about the discipline of history.
Outline of Session
- (00:00) Christopher: We are looking for honest and open witnesses, apparently there are some unreliable ones. We have to develop some discernment. What does it mean to encounter a reliable witness in history?
- (02:15) Wes: One thing to look for is freedom from an obvious agenda.
- (05:30) Christopher: What are the good habits that are cultivated in a mature historian but also in a student, who has been growing in his ability to think historically.
- (07:00) Wes: Seeing a disagreement and knowing how to resolve them. How can I resolve these disagreements without offering favor to a beloved historian?
- (10:35) Wes: The mature historian knows the questions and instinctively knows when to ask them.
- (13:12) Christopher: Students start becoming like a teacher. Is that one important way that students become historians.
- (14:10) Wes: Students will naturally imitate the teacher, who is in front of them all the time. That is the best way to learn something. Education is always personal, it is always a project between two people who have a relationship with one another.
- (15:55) Christopher: What are some of the different questions for the different areas of history (political, military, social, biography, etc.)
- (16:00) Wes: Some questions might be similar between categories. With the history of art and literature you would ask questions of transmission and influence.
- (17:50) Wes: In asking questions about literature you are a lot more likely to have access to written sources than asking questions about architecture.
- (20:55) Christopher: What misunderstandings and shallow assumptions about history do you see young students (9th grade) bringing to history that need to be addressed, clarified, or corrected?
- (21:30) Wes: The biggest thing is their inability to distinguish between our culture and the ancient culture.
- (26:08) Christopher: In what sense is history an art and a science?
- (26:40) Wes: Science is based on knowledge.
- (29:15) Christopher: Are there a couple other examples of a people who has been informed well by understanding their own roots? Can you think of a time when a people got cut off from their roots and suffered harm as a result?
- (30:25) Wes: King Josiah recovers the law, which had been lost for a long time and there is a change in the culture of Israel.
- (33:45) Wes: If you can control history and make it say what you want then you can control people.
- (34:40) Christopher: Could you talk about the boundary lines of history as a discipline? Is there a discipline of history?
- (36:05) Wes: To the extent that it is learning how to ask questions about the witnesses of the past, like the tools of grammar, logic, and rhetoric can be applied to anything.