Teachers were able to seek a deeper experience for students by having kids explore their interests on History Day.
At St. Mary’s College in northern Indiana, 279 students participated in the National History Day regional round of competition in Indiana. The number of students competing doubled since last year, which coordinator Matt Durrett attributed to more teacher participation in workshops held by the Indiana Historical Society.
However, only two schools in St. Joseph County sent students to the competition, St.. Anthony de Padua Catholic School in South Bend and John Young Middle School in Mishawaka. Seventh grade social studies teacher Stacy Reisdorf has been participating with her students for almost 20 years. She has some ideas about why more teachers don’t involve their students.
“I think it comes down to standards, the emphasis of the state taking away the opportunity for teachers to engage their students at this level,” Reisdorf said. “When we are under pressure to perform on tests, it takes away from amazing learning opportunities like these. A lot of times the focus is so much on doing well on the test that we lose the overall impact of developing the person as a whole, with the interview skills, being able to research, tell a good primary source from a not-so-credible secondary source. This develops their interpersonal skills in a way that we can’t get out of a book.”