Teaching middle school is not for the faint of heart. But if you're called to do it, you know there's nothing else quite like it. Join us in discussing what works - and what doesn't.

Learning through video games

andrea

My 8th grade class we were discussing The First Nations of Canada. In the discussion I was teaching the effects of the Fur Trade on the lifestyle of the First nation people. I stated that the Europeans attempted to deculturalize the natives by forcing them to learn Christianity and banned their own religious practices. i believed the discussion was going well until during my reflection time I found some of my students did not fully comprehend the ideas behind de-culturalization.
To my delight,one of my student asked if they could clarify the concept. He then began to speak about a new video game "Assassin's Creed" and I immediately sought to hush him, due to my own ignorance of the subject and did not know whether the content was acceptable. He stated that the same concepts were in the game and begged me to let him finish.
After a good 20 minutes of us discussing the game and finding parallel points between the game and the First Nation people, my students were not only interested in the First Nations, but also wanted to debate the importance of the fur trade to todays Canada!

This was my ah ha moment! Although every lesson cannot be based upon the countless video games which the students play, it made me realize that using the interest of the student allows me to utilize multi-level intelligences. Social studies is one of those subjects which most students believe they can do without, but using their pop culture introduces lessons in a way they can relate. I always ran away from talking about those things which may "disrupt" the class, but allowing them to synthesis information they hear and see now, to the events of the past not only wake up their minds but allows me to introduce critical thinking skills. Social Studies is now cool and I have integrated lessons which will make them think every time they play the video game.....at least i would like to think so!

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