Posts Tagged ‘Nixon’

What should Nixon do?

February 3, 2010

I had no idea I was so interested in Richard Nixon until I had to each a Modern US History course.  Instead of just showing him as a one-sided figure, I wanted my students to really think about the choices he made.  I did this by putting them in his shoes and then having the class discuss what they decided to do and why.

Positives: It got students to think about historical decisions in their own context and exercise historical empathy.  Being forced to look at the political motivations made some students understand Nixon and Kissinger as men who made difficult decisions rather than just flat stereotypes.

Negatives: It was difficult for some students to get started.  I tried this initially with honors 11th graders and it worked well with most most students in the class, but I don’t think this would work with less mature students.  There would probably be a way to modify it, but I haven’t had a chance to do it yet.