Reflecting on 40 years as a history teacher (short version)

My love of learning and reading comes from my parents, John and Leota Arendale. I was the first of anyone in the family tree to attend college. I had a simple dream of teaching history at a community college. I remember during my first semester at Emporia State University talking with my academic advisor. I expressed my dream and then the advisor told me to give it up since no history positions had been advertised for a community college history teacher in Kansas for more than a decade. Most often, part-time college instructors who were full-time high school history teachers were promoted for full-time college employment. I rejected the advice from that adviser and pursued my undergraduate and graduate degrees in history.

My first position was teaching history at Pratt Community College (KS) which was half the size of the large psychology course taught at the University of Minnesota (UMN). After seven years, I accepted a similar position at another tiny community college in Highland, KS. Next on my journey was the University of Missouri at Kansas City where I helped lead the National Center for Supplemental Instruction. While at UMKC, I helped conduct training workshops for other colleges how to implement SI at their campus to help students do better in difficult courses, I wondered what it would be like applying principles from the SI student study group program to teaching a history class.

One should be careful what they wish for. I was recruited for a history position with General College at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (UMN). I continued that role with the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning and again with the Department of Curriculum and Instruction from where I will retire at the end of May 2019. My best memories of four decades in higher education include learning from my students, mentorship by my colleagues, and the friendships that were formed. I was fortunate to live out my dream of teaching history. And working at an institution that I might not have been admitted to after high school graduation. Life is a curious journey.

The reason for including the photo of Tom Hanks from "Forrest Gump" is that I think my journey is somewhat like the film character. Maybe you remember the final scene in the movie as Forrest watches his son enter the bus for the first day of school. A feather that Forrest was using as a book mark fell out and floated into the sky as Forrest, Jr. drove off to school. The narration by Tom Hanks reflected on his life and how he experienced a variety of unpredictable events along his journey. I think the same thing about me. I think of the guiding hand of God in an amazing series of events that led me to the University of Minnesota. So, whether you see it as chance or divine providence that guides a person's path, it certainly is a curious journey. I am a fortunate soul to have experienced it. I hope you are having the same satisfaction with your journey as well. Thanks for reading — David Arendale

Universal Design for Learning Explained by Kirk and Spock

Be sure to watch this six-minute video to understand the three basic principles of Universal Design for Learning. It was created using an online software program called Xtranormal. The odd behavior of Kirk and Spock are caused by the software. It is pretty funny but actually very accurate for understanding the three basic principles of UDL. Enjoy.

"A Christmas Carol" movie (1951 starring Alister Sims)

I think this is the best movie adaptation of Charles Dickens classic story. In his book, Dickens was actually making a social commentary about the disparity of life in London during the middle 1800s as well as communicate a powerful story of redemption and reconciliation. Especially note the scene when one of the ghosts tells Scrooge to fear the two children of 'want' and 'ignorance' and think of why those two ideas would be a threat to English society. I think Mr. Sims provides the perfect balance to the character. This part of the movie is missed by most of the movie versions who just want to play the story light and make it just a feel good story. The final result to the movies may be the same, but taking up the serious social commentary of Dickins in this movie makes the ending so much more satisfying and meaningful. Enjoy the movie from YouTube.

History Simulations: Engaging Critical Thinking and Developing Multiple Perspectives from Other Cultures

I teach an introductory global history course for first-year undergraduates at the University of Minnesota.  I have been teaching introductory history courses for nearly four decades.  One of the learning activities that has most engaged the students are history simulations.  While I use a varied learning pedagogy, the most meaningful learning events for the students according to them are the simulations.  The students say that it is taking on the role of another country or group and engaging in highly-energized negotiations with two other groups leads to the following outcomes:  active learning like this is most meaningful, develop understanding of different perspectives of other countries and groups, and development of personal negotiation skills they will use in personal and future professional life. <Click here for the history simulation web page.>

My Global History Course Curriculum: Building Cultural Competency and Skill for a Diverse and Interconnected World

This course focuses on understanding the driving forces of change that have been most consequential for global societies in the twentieth century.  Along with traditional lecture, the course facilitates discussion based on primary and secondary sources.  Students read and discuss the meaning of historical documents that highlight forces of global change such as social movements, religion, and competing economic systems.  In addition to these primary source texts, students will gain a deeper understanding of the global past by analyzing interpretations of history by present-day historians. Through this work, students will gain a better understanding of the practice of history and a better understanding of what it has meant to live in the twentieth century. <Click this link to open the comprehensive course page, readings, lecture videos, historyu simulations and other resources.>

2018 Revised Annotated Bibliography of Postsecondary Peer Cooperative Learning Programs

I am happy to announce that the 2018 Revised Annoated Bibliography of Postsecondary Peer Cooperative Learning Programs is now available to download. Click on this link for a PDF or Word version of it.

There are now nearly 1,500 entries spanning 488 pages. I noticed recent listserv conversations about locating research studies to support Supplemental Instruction programs or similar approaches operating at the college level. The directory grew significantly in the past two years. The directory includes the Emerging Scholars Program (Dr. Uri Treisman model), Peer-Led Team Learning, Supplemental Instruction, and Video-based Supplemental Instruction, Structured Learning Assistance, Accelerated Learning Groups, and Peer Assisted Learning.

You can download the directory as a PDF or Word document. I also included some sub-topics of the directory such as facilitator development, vocational influence, identity development and more. I also provide the EndNote library file to allow you to more easily search the database for the topic you want.  Be sure also to download the keyword search guide to discover all the ways to search the contents for the information you want. Other bibliographic database systems may be able to open the EndNote file but I am not an expert with that process.

No doubt I missed some citations related to these seven major peer learning programs. Please send me the citation and perhaps a copy of the publication and I will be happy to include in an update. Thanks for consideration.