An Educational Exchange: Teaching Oral History on the Post-Secondary Level

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We conceived this roundtable as a way to exchange ideas about the theories and practices of teaching oral history and to create a forum for instructors to discuss curricula and methodologies for the college classroom. The session was held at the 1997 annual meeting of the Oral History Association in New Orleans, and it brought together a diverse and interdisciplinary group of oral historians who shared how they teach oral history in their own disciplines. Along with the differences, this roundtable highlighted successful teaching methods and areas of difficulty that cross disciplinary boundaries. As the following transcript of the roundtable demonstrates, the dominant topics of the roundtable were: (1) the types of texts used and assignments given to students; (2) the use of interdisciplinary approaches in teaching oral history; (3) how to balance theory and practice in teaching; and, (4) what the Oral History Association can do to help instructors. The roundtable drew a large audience of those with a great deal of experience teaching oral history, as well as those who want to begin teaching oral history for the first time.

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