“Thus it begins…”: Starting to teach the nuclear Cold War

17 Sep

This coming Friday, my honours (3rd/4th year undergraduate) course in the nuclear history of the Cold War begins. It’s very exciting to have so many students signed up and demonstrating such enthusiasm for the subject. As I’ve mentioned before, the course starts by questioning the relevance of nuclear weapons to the Cold War, then progressing in a broadly chronological fashion through the decades.

As part of the teaching and learning process – and as something of a personal aide memoire – I plan to blog about the classes each week. I’ll primarily be thinking about the debates that took place, how the seminar worked, and where the discussion went. I’m particularly keen for students to given open, frank feedback here on the blog as part of an ongoing conversation about our joint learning.

For me, the notion that students can only give meaningful feedback to their tutors and lecturers at given, mandated points throughout the year rings false. In this day and age, learning should very much be a two way street. My thoughts on the course as it progresses will be given in public, and I welcome positive comments, constrictive criticism, and debate from my students in a public forum such as this.

That being said, what’s vital here is informed debate. Opinion is essentially worthless. What we need to value is informed discussion based on evidence and understanding. I embrace the chance to engage in debate with students, especially when they challenge my ingrained understandings and ideas through their fresh interpretations of the sources. The study of history is all about critical thinking. Here’s hoping for some new and exciting – and above all critical – perspectives on nuclear history.

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One Response to ““Thus it begins…”: Starting to teach the nuclear Cold War”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Teaching the nuclear Cold War: Week 1 | theatomicage - September 20, 2014

    […] I noted a couple of days ago, my aim is to use this blog as a forum for further discussion, debate, and feedback. I do hope that […]

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