First week in a Public History PhD Program

This has been a great week of learning!!  I have really high hopes for the rest of the semester.  Currently I am working on applying for credit through portfolio review, and once that is finished I will have a better idea of the courses I will take next semester, but for now, I’m quite happy with my classes.

I am enrolled in Public History Seminar, which introduces the field and contains an interpretive project with the Stones River National Battlefield.   I also signed up for a management course,  Operations and Foundations of Management, as part of my interdisciplinary studies.  Foundations of Educations, also an interdisciplinary course, will hopefully help me to build my skills as an educator with a more “formal” education (irony).  Lastly, I’m taking an Ancient Egypt course as part of my historical field requirement.

So far, I have been able to relate everything in the business class to a museum in some way.  We had an interesting discussion in class about efficiency and effectiveness and what the results of each are (or are not).  I have some thoughts on this and hope to expound upon them in the near future..

For foundations of education, I had to write my “Philosophy of Education.”  As the only student without experience in graduate level education department courses, I have some concerns about whether or not mine is exactly what the professor is looking for, but I will include it here anyway:

My philosophy of education is not, perhaps, as developed as others who have been in the teaching field in the past, or those who have had formal teacher training. My philosophy comes from the school of informal and participatory education within museums. As discussed in class, traditional learning is becoming obsolete. I believe that all students learn differently, and while some students may learn from typical lecture structure and taking notes, most students gain more from lessons in which they can see results or tangible evidence. Students should be engaged and involved in the learning process, not passive bystanders.

I wrote a book review on Elaine Davis’ How Student’s Understand the Past for Museum Practices at the University of Memphis, which further explains my views on why experiential learning is so important.

This semester has had a promising start, and I can’t wait to share all that I learn with the museum world.

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