Since we are only a day away from determining the 45th President of the United States I wanted to release our latest podcast a little early. Be sure to check out the recent episode with Dr. Deemer on what motivates students!
In this podcast, Dr. John McLarnon, chair of the history department at Millersville University, returns to share some of his insights on the American presidency. If you didn’t catch his “Preparing Students for College” episode that’s also worth a listen.
Dr. McLarnon currently teaches a class called “The American Presidency.” So it was a great opportunity to talk to him about how we teach the presidency and how the presidency has changed since it’s inception.
Was this crazy election so out of the ordinary? What type of person would want to be president? Listen below or go here to listen to Rosie on iTunes.
Through Rosie-Colored Glasses
Some of my favorite take-aways from this interview were…
1. Teaching the Presidency through Personality: What if we started teaching a unit on a person’s presidency by looking at their personality first? Students could create a personality profile for the president. Rather than just telling them what a president did, let the students predict how he would have reacted to a specific event or problem. Great higher order thinking! Then, in a flipped classroom, students would watch the video that night to see if their prediction was correct.
2. The Growth of War-Making Power: If you teach 20th century American History you could discuss and evaluate how war-making power has changed across different presidencies and conflicts. Even if you don’t teach 20th century, you could apply the war-making power of 18th-century presidents to current events.
3. Give them a side to defend: We’re told to let students have as much choice as possible nowadays, but it’s also good to give them a position or perspective to consider. In Dr. McLarnon’s example of the Bill Clinton trial activity, students were forced to think about the other side. Opening them up to all sides of arguments is key to getting them to think critically.
What was your biggest take-away? What is your favorite way to teach the presidency?