Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Know Your Sources!

So do you remember when you were a kid and your Dad came running into the room because he heard you and your little brother screaming at the top of your lungs? Like all dads, his first question was "Whoa, whoa, whoa! What happened here?!" The response, not doubt, was unintelligible (could not be understood) as you and your brother both yelled even louder to try to drown out the other. After your dad finally calmed you both down, he probably asked each of you to give "your side" of the story. I hated it when my dad said that...there was no "my side" about it! My side was THE side! I was always right....or so I thought. Well...if you were like me, chances are that your dad probably always sided with your little brother, and as much as you'd like to blame it on preferential treatment, it was really because your dad knew his sources. He knew that you presented your side of the story from a highly biased viewpoint. "Bias" is something that impacts the way you express what you've experienced. Cultural background, personal opinions, and self-interest are all examples of "bias" that impact the study of History. Identifying bias in sources is just as important to historians as it was to your dad in his parenting. As students begin their inquiry to History, studies have shown that they have a very difficult time identifying Bias...here is an activity that may help out with that.

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