Ph.D., SUNY Stony Brook (1998)
B.A., Queens College (1982)
Through interactive lecture, I aim to elicit student participation and involvement in the learning process, in a way that makes the information learned applicable to current events, the everyday life of students, and the shaping of their world view. I communicate the most current scholarly interpretations of history to my students, and also encourage students to reflect upon the ways that my students interpret the historical material. As a result of my approach, I always find it interesting to teach history to new students each semester, and watch my existing students evolve in their understanding of history, while their views shape who they are and what they value as human beings, benefiting from a solid education in the Humanities that will enable them to make valuable contributions to humanity.
When I began teaching at the college level in 1998, students did not have to negotiate and engage with the constant stream of incoming information available today via technology such as text and computer, so they interacted with one another. As a result, they exchanged points of view and, when not agreeing, agreed to disagree, while building friendships and camaraderie. Today, the challenges students face, relating to limited social, non-cyber, interaction with one another, lead to comparable challenges relating to the ability to accept diverging opinions and putting oneself in the shoes of another.
Consequently, my teaching today involves having all students learn history by examining primary sources, not only from their own perspective, but from the perspectives of historical actors of the time periods we study. Students examine sharecropping contracts from the perspective of the landowner and the sharecropper, and, the nineteenth amendment from the perspective of suffragists and anti-suffragists. Initially, the implementation of this method can be a challenging one because students tell me that their natural inclination is to view information from their own perspective, based on their experiences, but later, their examination of primary sources from the perspective of another group, becomes habitual, and they find that it not only enables them to more easily memorize, and own, the material, but also apply this strategy socially. This can lead to a moving away from the self-oriented tendencies inherent in our contemporary culture, which emphasizes the self, and its narrow interpretation of events in the past and present, and toward a strategy that lends itself to thinking about the importance of the community and shared goals and potential accomplishments in past, present and future, as students move toward taking their place on the road to the successful careers many Adelphi History majors have embarked upon.
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