A history teacher wants to teach history. How would he/she do this? There are many different ways to present history to a wide variety of audience members. People understand and interpret information all on a different level because of the way an author would present it, whether it be through an article or picture. There are many formats as to which there could be information presented – articles, videos, poems, and artwork. Three things that are essential to answering the question above: the genre of the information, knowing the audience, and containing the subject knowledge.
The presentation must contain the above components to affect one’s understanding of history in the most effective way. Despite all this, one must remember that no one format shows history from every perspective. Therefore, each person will understand history in a different manner, according to the format of the presentation. First and foremost, the information, also known as the subject knowledge, itself is a key concept to an author’s presentation, and therefore, one’s understanding of history.
Without the correct subject knowledge, the presentation would be of no use since it would not be targeting the goal of understanding history. The author should also make sure the information is relevant to the topic, which in this case is history, or else the audience will lose interest and get bored with the presentation. The information should also be expressed throughout the entire presentation to make the most meaningful impact on the audience.
One of the Common Core standards for critical thinking is to provide the most appropriate and relevant information/data and that the subject knowledge be interpreted comprehensively. If it’s a school requirement, shouldn’t it be performed during presentations as well? The presentation should also appeal to the author’s audience for maximum effect and approval. The audience can be a certain target (such as senior citizens) or a generalization for all age groups. The author would need to keep in mind what he/she is trying to achieve and how he/she could attract the target audience.
It is extremely important in this case, to have information relevant to that age group. For example, would a teacher talk about genocide in Sudan to first graders? Information is available through different mediums and in this case, it would be genres. All information is given through literary text, non-fiction text, videos, and artwork. Literary text, usually a poem or short story, allows the author to pursue a more emotional relationship with the audience. It would therefore, be able to affect the more emotional aspect of any event in history.
One such example is the poem, “The Fall of Fort Sumter”. It described the Confederate point of view and the feelings they harbored against the North. “The fleet turned slowly southward; we saw the last ship go, We had saved old Carolina from the insults of the foe,” is a part of the stanza in the poem and expressed Confederate feelings towards the Union. Through this medium, the audience would be able to connect on a deeper level to the context. Non-fiction texts allow for a quick, brief summary all the way to a deep, well thought-out analysis on a historical event.
These texts are usually the most informative and straight-forward in a presentation. They also are able to provide a more realistic tone to the writing. An example is “The Battle of Fort Sumter”. It had an analysis on the entire battle from a neutral point of view. Sometimes, authors will take sides and state their opinion on a particular subject. Videos provide visual and auditory aids for the audience, it combines the elements of non-fiction text and artwork at the same time. Videos can enhance the learning experience of those who like combined formats.
One such example is the “Fort Sumter Animated Map” from the Civil War Trust Fund website. It showed an animated battle simulation of Fort Sumter and the Union garrison stationed there. Artwork enables visual learners to use their eyes to communicate the feeling stored inside paintings and other works of art. Akin to literary text, it connects more emotionally and allows the audience to visualize and imagine the scene or place in history. An example is the Currier and Ives painting of Fort Sumter.
It showed exploding mortars and Confederate batteries firing upon the glorious Fort Sumter in the middle of the Charleston Harbor. The criteria for a presentation should include the correct subject knowledge, appropriate target audience, and different genres of the event in history. Each medium if presentation present and offers insight on different perspectives. For example, take the issue of the American dream. Some say it’s only a legacy of the past from the Founding Fathers era while others say that it is stronger than ever.
If one were only to read an informational text full of opinion that the American dream is gone, one could only see from one perspective or point of view. He/she would only understand one side of the issue. If however, he/she read another informational article supporting the American dream, then one could see both verdicts on an issue and understand them. To answer the essay question, everyone can have a different perspective on the same issue, depending on the genres in an author’s presentation.