“This Day in History…”: Great Ideas in Education

May 2019

“Historical Empathy and Perspective Taking in the Social Studies” edited by AATC founding member and 2003 AATC Annual Conference keynote speaker O. L. Davis, Jr. (with series editors Elizabeth Anne Yeager and Stuart J. Foster) was released in May 2001. Throughout his career in education, Dr. Davis has positively impacted curriculum and its application in teaching and learning that includes using perspective and empathy to provide context for meaningful learning, especially in social studies.

Drawing on research and experiences of the contributors, Dr. Davis compiles an edited volume that illustrates how educators can create an environment that truly allows students to interact with the past. He advocates engaging students in subject matter, such as the historical past, to make learning come alive for students. As educators gain experience, they can facilitate students taking different perspectives that allow for the development of empathy and deeper understanding of the people and events of the past.

As we consider the work of Dr. Davis, we can strive to provide varied perspectives that aid in the development of empathy that makes learning real and relevant to students. The following questions may help us to further our work. In the spirit of encouraging dialogue, a foundational component of AATC’s identity, we encourage you to share your thoughts and engage in discourse in the comments section:

  • What roles do teachers and students have taking different perspectives? How do these roles influence teaching and learning?
  • When considering an adopted curriculum, how can educators draw from the work of Davis to support student development that extends beyond knowledge acquisition to include deeper learning through personal construction of knowledge?
  • When considering unwritten or hidden curricula, how can educators draw from the work of Davis to use varied perspectives and empathy to develop holistic understanding of content?

Written by Dr. Corey Nagle

“This Day in History…” Series Archives:

March 2019: Gloria Ladson-Billings

February 2019: Eleanor Duckworth

January 2019: Francis P. Hunkins

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