DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Arc of Questions


Unit 1


  1. UNIT'S EQs: Why was World War I a turning point in modern warfare?
  2. What qualities made the Russian Revolution different from any other revolution in history?
  3. Were these events orchestrated by strong individuals or were they inevitable products of their time?
  4. UNIT’S BIG IDEA: Can history be ethical?


  1. How does one analyze primary visual sources?
  2. What were the main reasons behind global political instability in the early 1900s? 
  3. What effects did industrialization have on modern warfare? 
  4. Why was World War I the first global conflict in history?
  5. What qualities made WWI a unique and first global conflict? 
  6. What is the cost of technological progress?
  7. Why wasn't "the war to end all wars" able to achieve its goal?
  8. Why in Russia?  Why a revolution? 
  9. What were the key ideas behind the Russian Revolution and the course of its events?  
  10. What is the role of individuals in history? 
  11. Can political leaders be ethical leaders too?


Unit 2


  1. UNIT’S EQ: Is there always a "nation" in nationalism?
  2. UNIT’S BIG IDEA: Can history be ethical?


  1. What happens after the death of empires?
  2. Could the Armenian tragedy have been avoided?
  3. Is there always a nation in nationalism?
  4. What is women’s power makeup?
  5. How can you work with people you don't trust?
  6. How can we read visual art?
  7. Why do people say that well-behaved women don't make history?
  8. How can art improve history?
  9. How can we intelligently talk about history?


Unit 3


  1. UNIT’S EQ: What are people willing to sacrifice in times of crisis?
  2. UNIT’S BIG IDEA: Can history be ethical?


  1. Why were peace and prosperity short-lived after World War I?
  2. What was the Great Depression?
  3. How does fear influence politics?
  4. How far are you willing to go to promote your cause?
  5. How can we create and analyze history at the same time?
  6. What is REAL?
  7. What are people willing to sacrifice in times of crisis?
  8. How do we find truth in history?
  9. How can we resist brain-washing?
  10. When everything true comes crumbling down, how can we be certain?
  11. How has my work progressed since the beginning of the semester?



Much of my teaching was centered around discussions.  Essential questions provided a framework for these discussions, although there was much more to my practice and student involvement than is shown by the essential questions. 


I will try to categorize several types of questions we asked in class:


  1. Questions which attempted to make personal connections between history and students' lives.  I asked these questions when I saw that the students did not understand what was being discussed or when they seemed disengaged.  An example of such a question would be: Do you feel like your parents behave like a totalitarian government or like an authoritarian one?
  2. Questions which were aimed at clarifying misunderstandings.  When I saw that students' grasp on certain material was not solid, and when I saw some mistakes in their understanding, I asked them to explain and support with evidence.  Through the process, misunderstanding usually came to light, and usually the students themselves realized that their reasoning could have been more sound instead of me telling them it was.   An example of such a question would be: You said people can  never work with those they don't trust.  Could you explain how Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-Shek challenged your idea? 
  3. Questions which attempted to dig more deeply into students' understanding.  Such questions were rooted in discussions; sometimes I asked them, sometimes the students did.  Most of these questions belonged to the application and evaluation levels of Bloom's taxonomy as they asked the students to examine facts and estimate their significance.  Here are several of my favorite examples, generated by students: Why do people believe communism is evil if it wanted equality for human kind?—What excuses did the  colonizers make to people back home to justify taking over foreign land?—Would you kill a child?  What if the child was Hitler before he grew up and committed atrocities?
  4. Questions which were centered around content.  Such questions became the foundation of our Q & A sessions, and they were very concrete and textbook specific inquiries.  I wrote student responses on the board, which helped the students with their notes.  An example of such a question would be: What was Kristallnacht and what role did it play in German history?
  5. Vocabulary questions.  Such questions occurred on a daily basis.  It was very important for me to know that the students fully understood the language we used, so I asked them to describe any word I found difficult.  Occasionally, I assumed the students knew a certain word because of their prior academic experience, but sometimes my assumptions turned out to be misleading.  To avoid gaps in knowledge, I continued asking the students to describe academic vocabulary, starting with "mobilization" and ending with "appeasement."
  6. Questions the students asked when they did not understand the material.  Such questions could center around implications, explanations, definitions, or even the reason why we were studying a certain thing.  Most of the time, these questions enhanced the understanding of the entire class. 


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.