By Darcy R. Fryer
Journalists can’t stop talking about Finnish education. Finland has won kudos both for its consistently strong performance on the PISA—an international survey that evaluates education systems worldwide—and for its success in promoting broad equality of opportunity, a healthy work-life balance, and a high degree of autonomy by highly educated teachers. My attention was riveted, but soon frustrated, because so much of what has been written about Finnish education focuses on the elementary years, and especially on math.
By Amy E. Earhart and Maura Ives
As literary scholars who work with both print and digital materials, and are interested in the production, construction, and materiality of texts, we believe that a book history approach reveals crucial information about the impact of race on what print materials are digitized. As Earhart has documented in “Can Information Be Unfettered? Race and the New Digital Humanities Canon,” there are clear inequities in our digitization of materials that break along the lines of race and gender.
“British Again Striking Hard on Somme Front Capture Two Lines of German Trenches” reads a banner headline in the Harrisburg Telegraph from September 22, 1916. Other headlines from the front page that day include everything from a parade and open air dance in the market square to a report on the US Department of Justice antitrust proceedings against “the Reading coal ‘barons.’”
By Alexandria Ruble, Scott Harrison, Jane Freeland, Adam Blackler, and Julie Ault
“Here’s a scenario,” I said to students in my course on the Holocaust. “Imagine that right now, the North Carolina state government issues an order that you must leave the state if you or your parents are not from here. How many of you are from North Carolina?” Most students in the class raised their hands. Then, I asked, “How many of you have parents from North Carolina?” Fewer students raised their hands.
Hands wrung to the bone after years of crisis talk, humanities educators may justifiably think there’s nothing left to say about the value of what they do. Caroline Bynum disagrees. A preeminent historian of women in the Middle Ages and former president of the AHA, Bynum has edited a remarkable symposium recently published in the journal Common Knowledge, collected as “In the Humanities Classroom: A Set of Case Studies.” Each of the five essays recounts one or two real classroom sessions in such disciplines as history, art history, and literature.
Looking back over the past academic year, the aspirations and concerns of AHA members about undergraduate history education have been reflected in the pages of Perspectives on History. Our Teaching Division’s initiative on enrollments, led by Vice President Elizabeth Lehfeldt, produced articles spawning productive discussion on our Member Forum, within departments, and elsewhere online. Enrollments relate closely to the varied fortunes of the history major, also explored in Perspectives. The Association is running an ongoing survey of history majors about their career paths, with an eye on producing exemplary qualitative and quantitative data.
Most issues of Perspectives include at least one feature related to teaching and learning. The best of the genre, we think, honestly evaluate student learning outcomes, engage contemporary pedagogical thinking, and offer innovative tools for instruction—that one twist in an assignment that makes all the difference, say.
By Nancy Quam-Wickham
Imagine a crowded room where students—shoulder to shoulder—worked frantically to complete architectural drawings. As the moment to submit their projects approached, an aide pushed a little cart (the “charrette”) through the classroom; students were required to deposit their drawings as the cart passed. Those not yet done with their work leapt into the cart, adding finishing touches to their designs as the cart passed drafting tables. The exercise was a loud, raucous, frenzied, stressful, though profoundly creative experience.