That Haunting Fear that Someone, Somewhere, Will be Having Fun -- In Virginia

Apropos of Darren Grem's "Drive-by American Religious History Survey" (scroll down), The Historianess relates her experience teaching a basic fact or two about early American religious history to students at Rice. Apparently, the fact that Virginia was a Puritan colony is a great unexplored topic in American history. This makes the challenges that Darren speculates about all the more real!


deg at: October 5, 2007 at 12:23 PM said...

That reminds me of one of the best sentences I've ever read while grading undergrad papers:

"In conclusion, the Puritans were hard core."


Rebecca at: October 5, 2007 at 1:19 PM said...

That's awesome, deg.

The first line of the conference paper (which you can hear at the SHA, if you go): "Virginia's puritan past is the crazy aunt in the attic of early American history: everyone knows she's there but no one is talking about her."

I just adore Puritans.

deg at: October 6, 2007 at 7:15 AM said...

I'll be up there in Richmond. Looking forward to it!

Re: Puritans in Va. I can't speak for everyone else, but I've witnessed similar confusions among my students. I conduct review sessions before my exams and am continually astounded at what students think I lectured about. Even after correcting them, the same blatant mistakes will show up on their exams. This is more common among my survey students than upper-levels, but it's still rears its head.

The source of these mix-ups, obviously, are legion. Some students don't take notes like they should; others don't pay attention; others are genuinely confused. Regardless, I've become increasingly convinced that the pedagogy I've been using - lecture based with sprinkling of discussion - creates too many opportunities for these mix-ups to occur. What to replace it with, of course, is the question.

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