We have learned a lot about teaching history as well as history itself through this DBQ project. First off, we were reminded about how vast history is and how deep you can go with a topic. Our topic developed and changed over the course of the semester, but it always stayed within the realm of America in the 1920’s. The reason we switched around so much was because we realized there was so much going on in the 1920’s in America and had to decide on a corner to focus on. We eventually decided upon views of immigration in the 1920’s in America, not only because there are a lot of primary sources on the topic but also because it directly connects to the hot contemporary topic of views of immigration today in America.
Some difficulties we encountered were sifting through all the primary sources out there. We also struggled with coming up with a narrow, specific question for our DBQ. Additionally, we struggled with time management in devoting more time to this project, due to the impending due date and demanding assignment of our work sample. If we were to do this over, we might select an even more narrow topic to make it easier to decide which primary sources to include.
We did learn over the course of this project, though, the value of having students examine historical documents. It is vital for students to be placed in the role of historian, in order to immerse them history and see it as more than memorizing facts. It is also important to come up with narrow, specific questions for historical document examination. We look forward to using “historical labs” in our future classrooms, by having students examine evidence and conduct their own observations and inferences of what that historical evidence means and says. It is equally important as well to help students make connections between past and present events, in order to see how the past affects today through similar contemporary events.
Image source: US Library of Congress, found here.