Well, I know we still have one more presentation to watch, but I thought I’d offer a couple quick comments about the whole idea.
As professors, faculty members are often critical of the idea that we should be forced to entertain students. A lot of this study is hard work. But it reaches to profound questions of meaning and identity. We shouldn’t have to be stand-up comedians to engage our students. But at the same time, there are some powerful ways to approach the past – that bring the past to light, that reveal the lives of those who are gone, that help us wrap our minds around the past – that are both informative and attention-grabbing.
Altogether, I’ve really enjoyed these presentations. They made us sit up a bit and pay attention AND delivered some important messages about the past. My young friends from the Montessori enjoyed them immensely. And these were just a first effort. I felt that with a bit more research and preparation and a bit more practice, these kinds of presentations could reach a broad audience of students, introducing them to the excitement of historical study and to the complexity of the past.