If I had not been an Agricultural educator, I would have became a social studies teacher. My passion for history and our mutual past began as a fourth grade student. This young love blossomed from the dedication of three teachers who shared its stories, helped us recreate that history in a living museum, and experience the physical space of history by visiting hallowed sites of our past.
History though is not something strictly for a social studies classroom. It belongs in each and every classroom and content area. The past grounds us in context and allows us to build community within our classroom from a shared story. In agriculture we explore historical trends that are rooted in centuries of agricultural practice. We explore how the current meat processing came to be by exploring paintings and photographs taken from the turn of the century.
These explorations blast open the doors of learning for students and have led to some of our most profound ‘aha’ moments in our classroom.
As we prepare for this age of rapid transformation and change in society, we must appreciate that others have trodden this path before. I dare you to read the accounts of society during the heat of the Industrial Revolution. Though through our lens we would say that their changes came at a snails pace, when placed into their context and time, change was occurring rapidly and at a dizzying pace for many.
Teacher Challenge: How could you incorporate history into an upcoming topic you will teach?
Learner Challenge: Pick a book that digs into our past and that has relevance to our world today. (Those looking for an outstanding book recommendation, I’ve just finished reading David McCullough’s The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For.)
Agimus tibi Dominus