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 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 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 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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