Historical Thinking and Political Candidates

a18c6-wineburgDuring all of the debate surrounding the “Historians Against Trump” movement (see the summary post at History News Network) I thought about our interview with Stanford education professor and historical thinking guru Sam Wineburg on Episode 4 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home podcast.

In the course of the interview, our producer Drew Dyrli Hermeling asked Wineburg why kids should learn how to think historically.

Here is what Wineburg said:

Well, what’s the alternative to thinking like historians? Thinking like totalitarians?  Thinking like fascists?  Historical thinking is training for the mind, training to deal with the cacophonous voices of a democracy, training to think through a reasoned position that is supported by evidence.  The alternative is uninformed opinion, some of which we are experiencing right now with the claims of the leading contender for the Republican nomination who makes claims that cannot be supported at all, and yet people are credulous and believe in them and I think that is a testament to the failure of our educational system.

Listen to our interview with Wineburg here (Episode 4).  I especially recommend it for K-12 teachers.