This reading is from a transcription of a radio show on NPR. In this Radio show the host, Robert Siegel, interviews two history teachers. The first an 8th-grade history teacher from the US and second a 5th and 6th-grade history teacher from Canada. The show makes it very obvious that the two countries teach the war in schools very differently. The US teacher leads the discussion by saying that it isn’t a war that he can spend a lot of time on. The US teacher explains that he is only able to touch on a few specifics. For instance, he addresses that when he teaches to his class of 8th graders the main theme of the lecture is that the National Anthem for the United States was written about the Battle of Baltimore. He also notes that the war is taught as a second declaration of independence from Great Brittian. The Canadian teacher teaches quite differently he spends several weeks discussing the war of 1812 with his students. According to the transcription, Canadians view the war quite differently and teach it quite differently. The Canadians teach the war of 1812 as a declaration of independence from Americans if you will. Canadians are taught that this war was the war where Canadians proved to Americans that they did not want to be apart of the United States. While the US sees the war of 1812 as a war the Great Britain loss, the Canadians teach it so that it is really a Native American loss. They see it as The United States proved further independence, the Canadians proved they would not join the United States, but the Native Americans were hoping to gain land from Great-Britain. Instead, they were pushed south from the Canadians and then pushed west from Americans again having more land stolen from them.
I think these two contrasting perspectives of educating are fascinating. I think it would be easy to say that one side must be educating students about the war improperly but in my opinion, that’s not the point. The point is really that History is so indefinite. Meaning it very perceptual, you could think that the US reasserted its independence from Great Britain, therefore, making it a great American victory. That would not be a totally falsified statement. You also teach and think like the Canadians going into more detail of the war and seeing the war as a Canadian asserting of freedom from the US and it actually being a Native American loss. Again, this is a correct statement. While I do not want to teach 6th-grade American history by the Virginia curriculum standards and would much prefer to teach 7th-grade 20th-century American history this makes me think about how I would teach this war. I would in a perfect world teach the American viewpoint of the war briefly and then teach the American viewpoint briefly in an attempt to teach my students about perceptual history. I want my future students to be excited to learn about history and I think that is hard to do when you just try to push events
While I do not want to teach 6th-grade American history by the Virginia curriculum standards and would much prefer to teach 7th-grade 20th-century American history this makes me think about how I would teach this war. I would in a perfect world teach the American viewpoint of the war briefly and then teach the Canadian viewpoint briefly in an attempt to teach my students about perceptual history. I want my future students to be excited to learn about history and I think that is hard to do when you just try to push events on students as facts. I think the best way to get students excited about history is to prove to them that is not just about when and how stuff happened but rather teach them that that when and how can be thought about in many different ways. Show them that it’s not about the facts and the dates but that it is about how people saw those things and how that impacted their lives. Maybe I’m just a history nerd but that really gets me fired up and I hope to share that passion with my students.
“Teaching The War Of 1812 Different In U.S., Canada.” NPR. June 18, 2012. Accessed September 29, 2017. http://www.npr.org/2012/06/18/155308632/teaching-the-war-of-1812-different-in-u-s-canada.
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