18 Ways to Have Different Class (or Group) Discussions

The following outlines various techniques I use when teaching to enhance or change discussion-based activities. I’ll update it as necessary. I’ve had a number of students say they enjoy my classes in part because they never know what we’ll be doing that day!  1. Bring out the maps. Have students draw maps and discuss theirContinue reading “18 Ways to Have Different Class (or Group) Discussions”

Continued Conversations and Philosophizing: “What is Texas History?”

Articulating various responses to “What is Texas History” with my students continues to fascinate me, as does teaching and learning more and more Texas History, and I wanted to share a few things in particular that have been on my mind. In my Mexican American History I class (stay with me!), we were recently readingContinue reading “Continued Conversations and Philosophizing: “What is Texas History?””

Online Publications

The following links catalog my Op-Eds and other public-facing writing. Additional information, as well as additional publications, can be found on my CV and in the Blog Archive. 2021 “It’s Time to Talk About ‘Student Time’,” Inside HigherEd, December 1, 2021 “An Irish Immigrant and Her Quests for Survival: An Interview with Novelist Lee Hutch,” HoustonContinue reading “Online Publications”

Memorization Without Meaning Is Counterproductive: A Case Study Looking at “What is Texas History?”

This semester I am thrilled to be teaching Texas History again. Yesterday in class we spent a little over half of the period really analyzing the question, “What is Texas History?” I decided to do this as the second lesson (the first lesson is “What is History?” that reviews some basic terminology and course expectationsContinue reading “Memorization Without Meaning Is Counterproductive: A Case Study Looking at “What is Texas History?””

Exercises in the Philosophy of History: Place and the Narrative

Have you ever heard of Lind, Adams County, Washington? Have you ever heard of Hawai’i?  I’m guessing you have heard of the states Hawai’i and Washington but have not heard of the very small town, Lind. But, how much do you actually know, do any of us actually know about Hawai’i or Washington? Our collective historical, economic,Continue reading “Exercises in the Philosophy of History: Place and the Narrative”

The Joys of Teaching

The past few weeks have flown by. This semester I am teaching Texas History, Mexican American History, and four sections of First Year Seminar (which is basically an “Introduction to Critical Thinking” course). I have around 130 students, and I have an exceptionally talented group of students.  My students in Texas and Mexican American HistoryContinue reading “The Joys of Teaching”

Notes on: “Social Construction”

As I have written numerous times, and as my students can attest, I am a proponent of seeing everything as a social construction. Such a position is easily misunderstood. I often hear: what do you mean that so-and-so is a social construction. There are different ways to look at this, but at its core, social constructions are productsContinue reading “Notes on: “Social Construction””

“I Am Not Your Negro” (2017) and Useable Pasts

I Am Not Your Negro (2017), Raoul Peck’s documentary film inspired by the life, work, and vision of James Baldwin, is a masterpiece. I have really been looking forward to seeing this film, as I have heard so many good things about it. I watched it this evening, as it was finally fully released today. Here I shareContinue reading ““I Am Not Your Negro” (2017) and Useable Pasts”