CAROL’S SUMMARY: The current economic crisis has students more interested in history, because of parallels with topics like the Great Depression. There is an opportunity for students to reinvent themselves in much the same way the men and women did after World War II. The current generation of students has much to learn from the determination, spirit, perseverance and innovation the â€œGreatest Generationâ€ had to offer.
Questions to consider:
1. Do you find yourself more interested in topics of study that apply to you today?
2. How could teachers make more lessons applicable to the lives of their students?
3. How can students come up with their own solutions for some of our national and world problems?
4.What contributions can students make in the next few years that will equal the Works Progress Act, the vision behind the National Parks, and other programs hatched during the Great Depression?
By Mary Ann Zehr
March 9, 2009
Margo M. Loflin teaches sophomores in Oklahoma, a state that was once part of the Dust Bowl of the Great Depression era. But most school years, her high school students donâ€™t find the struggles of Oklahoma farmers to combat drought and financial hardship in the 1930s relevant to their lives. That’s not true this year.
“I’ve taught [the Great Depression] for a long time. Usually, kids are not interested at all. They were very interested this year,” she said recently.
Ms. Loflin, who teaches U.S. history at Norman High School in Norman, Okla., is among a number of history and social studies teachers who have found that because of the parallels they’re able to draw between the current economic crisis and the Depression, their students are seeing that history is relevant. Theyâ€™re engaging more deeply in history lessons than they have in previous years.
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