Thursday, November 18, 2010

Upcoming Events: Mission Houses Museum

Don’t miss the fun at Mission Houses Museum for the next three Saturdays! Bring your friends and family and enjoy a variety of activities, food, crafts, and more . . .

Mission Houses Family Fair
, Saturday, November 20, 9 a.m to 4 p.m.
Local crafts and family games, pony rides, sack races, and more.

Kama‛āina Family Day, Saturday, November 27, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A Time to Give Thanks and Mālama our Land and Friends

Honolulu City Lights & Chili Dinner, Saturday, December 4, 4:00 p.m.
Santa stories, parade and supper ($15 and $5.50)

Mission Houses Family Fair
Saturday, November 20 / 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. / $3.00 per person or $12 for family
Experience a Hawaiian family fair with local crafts and flavors of an early 19th-century New England-style country fair. Something for the whole family, with craft tents, lauhala demonstrations, farm animal petting zoo, pony rides, pie contests, sack races, wheelbarrow races, butter churning, and ice cream making. Parking available at Kawaiaha‛o Plaza for $3.

Saturday, November 27: A Time to Give Thanks and Mālama our Land and Friends
Take a family tour, hear a story, try out historical activities, or make something to take home. This is the last month to experience Kama‛āina Family Day, offering a themed experience for everyone in the family. Activities from 10:00-3:00 p.m. with story time at 12:30 p.m. Half price admission for tours and activities; $2.00 for activities only, tour not included.

Honolulu City Light Parade and Chili Dinner
Saturday, December 4 / 4:00 p.m. to end of parade / $15 per person; under 6 $5.50
Warm your hearts with Santa stories from 1812 to 2010 and then warm your stomachs with a bowl of chili and rice. Finally, enjoy the famous Honolulu Christmas City Light Parade from Mission Houses Museum’s lawn at Kawaiaha‛o and King Street. Parking available at Kawaiaha‛o Plaza for $5. Or sponsor the event with your $250 donation (includes 10 tickets and up to 5 parking passes.)

Food for Thought: Peremptory Challenges, by Will Fitzhugh of The Concord Review


Will Fitzhugh, The Concord Review

16 November 2010

The conductor pauses, waiting for the coughing to die down before he raises his baton. The surgeon looks over her team, making sure all are in place and ready to work, before she makes the first incision. The prosecuting attorney pauses to study the jury for a little while before making his opening statement.

All these highly trained people need certain conditions to be met before they can begin their vital work with the necessary confidence that it can be carried out well. If the audience is too noisy, the conductor must wait. If the team is not in their places, the surgeon will not begin. If the members of the jury have not been examined, the attorney will not have to present his case before them.

Only schoolteachers must start their classes in the absence of the calm and attention which are essential to the careful exchange of information and ideas. Only the schoolteacher must attempt the delicate surgery of attaching knowledge and removing ignorance, with no team to help. Only schoolteachers must accept all who are assigned to the class, without the benefit of the peremptory challenges the attorney may use to shape his audience, and give his case the benefit of the doubt.

The Sanskrit word for a teaching, sutra, is the source of the English word, suture, and indeed the stitching of learning to the understanding in young minds is a particularly delicate form of surgery. The teacher does not deal with meat, but with ideas and knowledge, attempting to remove misconceptions and provide truth. The teacher has to do this, not with one anaesthetized patient, and a team of five, but with twenty-five or thirty students and no help.

Those who attend concerts want to be quiet, so that they and their fellows can hear and appreciate the music. Those who come in for surgery want the doctor to have all the help she needs and to have her work under the very best possible conditions, because the outcome of the operation is vital to their interests. The legal system tries to weed out jurors with evident biases, and works in many ways to protect the process which allows both the prosecution and the defense to do their best within the law. The jury members have been made aware of the importance of their mission, and of their duty to attend and to decide with care.

Students, on the other hand, are constantly exposed to a fabulously rich popular culture which assures them that teachers are losers and so is anyone who takes the work of learning in school seriously. Too many single parents feel they have lost the power to influence their offspring, especially as they become adolescents, and many are in any case more concerned that their youngsters be happy and make friends, than that they respect and listen to their teachers, bring home a lot of homework, and do it in preparation for the serious academic work that awaits them the next day.

Students are led to believe that to reject authority and to neglect academic work are evidence of their independence, their rebellion against the dead hand of the older generation. We must of course make an exception here for those fortunate children, many but not all Asian, who reject this foolish idea, and instead apply themselves diligently to their studies, grateful for the effort of their teachers and for the magical opportunity of 12 years of free education.

But what they see as a privilege worthy of their very best efforts, many other students see as a burden, an wanted intrusion on their social and digital time of entertainment. A study of the Kaiser Foundation last year found that the average U.S. student spends more than six hours each day with some form, or combination of forms, of electronic entertainment, and the Indiana Study of High School Student Engagement studied 80,000 teenagers and found that 55% spent three hours or less each week on their homework and still managed to get As and Bs.

We hear stories about the seriousness of students in China and India and South Korea, but we are inclined to ignore them, perhaps as the Romans discounted rumors about the Goths and the Visigoths until it was too late. We hear about our students doing more poorly in international academic competitions the longer they stay in school, but we prefer to think that our American character and our creativity will carry us through somehow, even as we can see with our own eyes how many of the things we use every day are "Made in China."

Part of the responsibility lies with our teachers in the schools, overburdened and unappreciated as they are. Their unions fight for better pay and working conditions, but say nothing about their academic work. Teachers, too, like lawyers, should demand peremptory challenges, so that they can say they will not be able to teach this one and that one, without damaging the work of the whole class. They, as much as the surgeons who are cutting meat, must be able to enforce close attention to the serious work of suturing learning and minds in their classes. And like the conductor, they must be given the attention that is essential if the music of their teaching is to be heard and appreciated. Teachers who do not demand these conditions are simply saying that their academic work is not important enough to deserve such protections and conditions, and as a result, parents and students are encouraged to see it in the same light.

NCHE: 2011 Gagnon Prize Deadline December 1, 2010

Word has come to History Education Hawaii that the deadline for the 2011 Gagnon Prize, sponsored by the National Council for History Education, has been extended to December 1, 2010.

Paul Gagnon was the first Executive Director of the National Council for History Education (NCHE), after having served as Chief of Staff, Editor, and Principal Investigator for its predecessor organization, the Bradley Commission on History in Schools.

Gagnon loved and respected history teachers, identifying their work as essential to the maintenance of a democratic society. He was adamant that all students have the opportunity to learn the story of their country and the world. Gagnon fought tirelessly for standards and frameworks for history that identified a core of history that could be taught in the time available and cautioned against curricula that are too encyclopedic to be taught, or too vague for students to understand.

The 2011 Paul Gagnon Prize will be presented to a K-12 history teacher who exhibits exceptional historical scholarship. The National Council for History Education will notify the winner before January 10, 2011.

For more information on applying, please go to this link and submit your nomination today.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

OAH Annual Meeting March 17-20, 2011 in Houston, Texas

The Organization of American Historians (OAH) will be holding its 2011 annual meeting in Houston, Texas. From its web site:

This year’s program highlights the rich thematic diversity that has come to characterize contemporary American history writing and teaching. Sessions will include plenaries on the origins of the Civil War and the anniversary of September 11, 2001, a discussion of the Texas textbook controversy, the Gulf oil spill, and a remembrance of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. Workshops will focus on American history at the community college level and oral history. The meeting’s host city will provide opportunities to visit the Menil Collection (including the famous Rothko Chapel), Space Center Houston, historic Galveston, and the San Jacinto Monument, one of the finest examples of art deco architecture in the United States. The OAH Book Exhibit features the latest U.S. history offerings and gives attendees a chance to exchange ideas with representatives from major American history monograph and textbook publishers.

To learn more and to register go to this link. Hawaii history educators, historians and history buffs are strongly encouraged to attend.

Monday, November 1, 2010

125th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association

We'd like to remind Hawaii history educators, historians and history students of the 125th annual meeting of the American Historical Association (AHA).

The annual meeting is scheduled for Boston, Massachusetts January 6-9, 2011. The theme is 'History, Society, and the Sacred.'