Sound advice for history teachers
If you're a new teacher, or still doing practice teaching, and particularly if you teach or plan to teach history at the junior high level, you'll want to read the following book:
''Practical Techniques for Teaching History,'' by Myra Hayes Severance (Silver Burdett, Morristown, N.J.).
Myra Severance has been a junior high history teacher for a good many years.
She's clear about her teaching methods, her philosophy, and just how she thinks pupils this age need to be handled.
She's also clear that history is an important academic subject and that, important as it is for students to ''grow'' and ''mature'' and ''relate,'' it's her job to teach them history while they grow, mature, and relate.
She's a no-nonsense teacher, but one who not only gives but receives a lot of good humor. She knows, for example, that junior high boys have a sense of humor which ranges from wild to weird!
While there are those who would wish she had given more attention to the inquiry method of teaching, and less to filling in the blanks, memorization, map work, and the designing of charts, nevertheless her inquiry suggestions are sound. They should help the teacher whose needle is stuck on back-to-the-basics to loosen up.
She may even provide the creative, inquiring type with some sound ideas for making sure some of the basics of history are actually committed to memory.
For one week each year Mrs. Severance's students debate the Civil War, each student representing a senator from one of the Southern, Northern, or border states.
She quotes an original opening to a debate by one student: ''Fourscore and two years ago our forefathers brought forth on this continent a new nation . . . and we have never been able to get together.
''The time has come to divide this nation into two new countries which can learn to live side by side as peaceful neighbors.''