teaching method...1. How would you teach a history case study on colonization to your students? 2. What resources would you use? 3. How would you evaluate them and why?

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While I do not know what grade level is at issue, I, too, would be inclined to use some literary texts in teaching about colonization, for example, "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad or Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe.  There are stories and novels about the colonization of Africa, India, and various countries in the Middle East as well as those about central and South America.  And while few of us think about it this way anymore, the United States was no different, occupied by a colonial power. A Mercy by Toni Morrison is a good novel to explore a few different sections of the United States this way.

Of course, there need to be sources, primary and secondary, to study colonialism, generally, and in particular places.  Contemporaneous letters and reports give students an immediacy that they seem to appreciate, and secondary sources help them to put things in perspective.

For me, assessments that allow students to make connections among the literary texts and the other materials offered are assessments of a deeper learning. A compare and contrast essay, for example, on two different colonizations might be an interesting assignment.  An inquiry into whether colonization has been a benefit or a detriment is another. Who are the winners? Who are the losers? Questions like these compel the students to have mastered the facts and think about them.


stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Other posts have given you lots of possible resources. Depending on the age level of your students and the amount of time you have for the unit on colonization, I would encourage you to develop a simulation-type of activity that would allow the students to experience, first hand, the conflicts and possibilities inherent in the colonization process. You could present a set of circumstances and requirements being imposed by the colonizing power(s) and have the entire class react as colonists being impacted in varied ways, or you could assign some students roles as colonial authority figures and others as colonists. Drawing on background information gained from prior study, the students should be able to put themselves in the roles presented and engage in real-life discussion of how their lives and activities would be changed by the influences inherent in the colonization process. Simulations are great as a tool for evaluation of ability to internalize and apply new information!

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your question is quite broad. One must consider the age/grade level of the students involved as well as the level of the course. I teach Advanced Placement courses, and quite often use original sources such as Winthrop's Model of Christian Charity and Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation. Evaluation would be by normal pedagogical means. Appropriate testing together with an essay to make sure they understand the concepts of the lesson. Of course, if one were dealing with students who are less gifted, one might lean less on primary sources and more on secondary sources such as textbooks. The rigor required would obviously be less. I'm not sure this is what you are looking for, but given the broad nature of your question, I'm not sure one can be more specific.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think it would be useful to do a comparative study of colonization.  I think that it would be useful to compare the colonization of New England to a colonization that made more use of the native peoples.  For this, you might use the Spanish colonization of Mexico.

As resources, you might use this statement by de las Casas: http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/bdorsey1/41docs/02-las.html

Then you could use an alternate view by Sepulveda:



You could use textbooks and other secondary resources to try to bring out reasons for the differences in the Spanish and English colonial experiences.

kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Obviously it would depend on grade level, but I think I would focus almost entirely on primary sources if at all possible.  The secondary sources tend to skew things and whitewash others and basically make real history inaccessible.

By using primary sources you can help kids to connect to people that lived and observed things during those time periods and develop a real understanding of prevailing attitudes, etc., towards colonizing, towards race, towards power and profit.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree that the grade level is important.  In general, I would focus on finding some expository and fiction materials appropriate to the grade level.  My 6th graders read "Rikki Tikki Tavi" and The Witch of Blackbird Pond.  For example, you could have articles on colonialism in different forms and short stories focusing on those places.  If you are referring to a specific colony, you can try to find fiction from that place.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If permitted, it may prove interesting to discuss the aftermath of colonization.  For instance, England and France have now many, many people  on their home shores who have come from former colonies.   Certainly, there are issues that this immigration has created.

resistance | Student

If permitted, it may prove interesting to discuss the aftermath of colonization.  For instance, England and France have now many, many people  on their home shores who have come from former colonies.   Certainly, there are issues that this immigration has created.

I am French and colonisation AND its consequences are part of the curriculum.

There was/is a big issue here as our present government, interfering with what is to be taught (=/= not being historians I mean) decided to even add a chapter on the positive aspects of colonisation, which caused a (justified i think)  row.

As to all the people from 'those countries' coming to France:

1= many are here because we asked them in at a time when cheap labour was needed.

2) Most of these people fought with the <french soldiers and defended what was not yet officially their country;

3) most of the people from North african origin were born and bred in france and are french citizens like me and thousands others. nd the quality of life they have brought us is a real asset.

mnbv1234511 | Student

The first step would be to learn how to spell method

krcavnar | Student

I teach the effects of colonization in my World Geography class by using the PBS series video Guns, Germs and Steel. Having studied the cultures of the Native Americans in Central and South America we then review the video and identify the impact of colonization by the Spanish and Portuguese and follow through to modern day traditions in various countries in the region. I generally have the students do a t-chart identifying their perceived good and bad effects of colonization. I also use Guns, Germs and Steel when we begin discussing the effects of colonization on Africa. I use excerpts from Hotel Rwanda and the history of the Hutu and Tutsi of Rwanda to discuss current and lingering effects of colonization of Africa.

 I have also incorporated the scientific concept of Locard’s Exchange Principle that states whenever a person comes in contact with another person, place, or object an exchange of materials takes place.  I use this concept and then have the students identify the “traces” of the colonial mother county upon the current culture in various countries.  They really enjoy the “CSI” aspect when they review the materials.  This is particularly helpful with high school boys whom are often uninterested in geography.

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