Hot Potato: Food for Thought
Why Johnny Can't...
1997 September 15
History is the greatest story in the world. Kids love stories. If you can't tell the greatest story in the world in a way that interests and involves kids, then you're doing something very wrong.

History is important. It tells us something about who we are and how we got to be that way. It is full of countless important lessons about how to run a society, and how not to.

My seventh grade history teacher, Mr. Rohner, was a born story teller. Oh yes, he taught the standard syllabus. But he taught us the story of history in a way that made it come alive for most of us.

History as it is now taught deals with the dry facts and rarely with motives. Motives get into the sticky issue of values again. They just won't go away. Why did the Puritans flee Europe? They fled because their values conflicted with prevailing values. This is important knowledge. We can teach about that conflict without having to teach a particular set of values. The story of human behavior and conflict is intrinsically interesting and can be taught that way, too.

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