Trivial Pursuits?

For the past month, my students and I have been in some heated Trivia Crack competitions.  On numerous occasions, they’ve told me how much the stuff we talk about in Social Studies class comes up in the game and it got me thinking…

How much of the content I teach is trivial?  Does it have value and relevance to the futures of my students?

Have you ever felt this way?  Covering our state standards or Common Core can often become our main focus…and the passion and beauty of history get lost in our pursuit of minutiae.  Trivia.  That word has become a source of pride on game nights with friends, watching Jeopardy with family…and is often mistaken for intelligence.  What are we teaching our students?  Why are we teaching them about the Battle of Hastings, the capitals of Asian countries, the definition of GDP?

Don’t get me wrong; I’d argue that knowing each of those things mentioned above can be worthwhile and history teachers have an obligation to explain the value of the subject matter, but there are things worth more.  The people we hope our students will become typically doesn’t address any of those things.  Developing cultural intelligence doesn’t require you to memorize the capital of Mongolia….  Do our classrooms reflect that?

Leave the Googleable (Is that a word?) facts in the past and lets dig into skill development that will assist our students in becoming productive citizens of the globalized world.



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