Respond to Wineburg

After reading, Sam Wineburg’s “Why Historical Thinking is Not About History,” I was left with more questions than enough answers. Historians, students, and the public in general, needs to be aware of how to ask probing questions to understand the world around them.

How can teachers/historians/digital public historians promote historical/critical thinking in the minds of their audience effectively is the important question. When Wineburg gave the example of a California school teachers giving an assignment where the students did their own research and not in-depth normal, scholarly research led to disastrous results. Without the right tools and knowing how and when to use them effectively for your audience becomes an issue. One way to combat this is to learn about the tool, talk with the creators if you can to understand their purpose for the tool and how you can use it for your work. There can be a collaboration between those involved in building the tools and historians/teachers so that something will less likely to be missed. Another way would be to do the historical research using many sources accessed from many places. Just make sure that you take the time to do your due diligence and if you are not sure then ask.

In a digital age, it will be increasingly difficult to distinguish facts from opinion if there is not research done on that issue. Doing your best to find out what is historically true will only improve our understanding of the world.