Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This is interesting...

I was surfing around for some pictures of General Washington for 1776, and I came across this site, which has "easy" history lessons for students of English as a Second Language.

Here's the site for George Washington.

I know that I shouldn't expect a site like this to be political, but I was a little surprised at how little actual information there is. In the first paragraph we learn he was a great president, and that he is on the dollar bill and quarter. Nothing about why he was a great president, or anything about his involvement as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. Nor about how he helped write the Constitution, developed foreign policy and attitudes towards Indians and slaves, and set the standard for presidents to follow. Nothing as well about his ability to fly.

The last page has this helpful exchange however:

Was George Washington a great president?

* Yes, he was.

* He will be remembered forever.

Great, thanks. Now I remember why history lessons in high school were so dumb.

That reminds me of this exchange:

"If Chicago is going to name streets after presidents, the least they could do is put them in order so I can find my way around!!"

"Yes, but you're the only one."

For the record--it's still confusing. Not only is there East Wacker and West Wacker, there's also North and South Wacker. Also, upper and lower Wacker. I know, I know...


Laura said...

Umm...we didn't have a President Wacker....did we?
I understand these history lessons leave a lot to be desired but if you want to write history lessons for English language learners - please do and let me know. In the mean time it's nice that people in other countries make an effort to learn the history of the united states. do I know anything about the presidents, dictators, rulers, prime ministers etc of the rest of the world? Shamefully little.
I realized that I just wrote this post from the perspective that the English Language Learners are outside of the US - because there are ELL students in the US too. That's western-centricsm.

Samantha said...

Yeah, but if they did actually name the streets in order, people might actually learn! Blasphemy!

Nicki said...

I suspect this website is for ESL learners in the US who may also be trying for citizenship or who otherwise need/would like to learn about the history of the US...I just think it's a crying shame that history lessons will say "He was a great President" instead of saying WHY--although that might be confusing. "President Washington believed in treating Native Americans as equals with regard to relations between America and various Indian Nations. But the US government didn't."

Which can get confusing. :)