Using the lessons of History to teach high school students better ways of approaching their social lives.
Being a student teacher at the high school level, one of my goals is to continuously improve student engagement. Remembering back to my days in high school, and also noticing that students today still seem to prefer their social lives over learning the lessons of the past, I began thinking about the different ways that the social lives of students could be merged and improved through social lives of unknown, "everyday people", historical figures.
Basic Possible Steps:
Introduce primary document posing everyday problem (Diary, letter, etc)
-Give students basic historical info to begin
Have students write or discuss how they would approach the issue
Discuss as a whole class and introduce more complex historical details
I am still ruminating on the different paths this could take, but imagined a course that was grounded in primary sources of everyday people, with everyday problems. Students would learn about the historical framework that these everyday people lived in and would begin to answer how they would handle their issues. The class would then discuss as a whole in order to reflect on all of the possible influences due to the time and place.
I believe that this approach to history would make history more realistic to students so that they can begin to see the similarities of past people. Also so students may see how the success and failure of past people can teach them better ways to improve their immediate lives, social or otherwise.
This is a very new thought of mine and I would love any discussion over the benefits, drawbacks, possible improvements, and any other relevant talking points.