Scholar Interviews

How do students study 1989 in your classroom?


The way I run the class is they read primary sources for each meeting. We have 30 meetings in the semester. They read about 25 primary sources and I have questions for each of the sources and they have choices of how many times to turn in a little writing assignment, but each person has to answer one of the questions. I usually ask about, three or four questions of each source and the questions have a gradation from sort of. The first question would be kind of a retelling of the story in their own words. A second one where they analyze what he means, for instance, by this common European home, what kind of goals does he see. And the third step would be to come up with their own interpretation how they view this speech in comparison with the Brezhnev Doctrine speech that we read for such and such date, right?

Coming at the end of the semester, it builds on accumulated knowledge that they’ve had, hopefully they’ve had, and also, kind of trying to walk them logically from simply thinking about the words themselves, what they mean, and then putting them in a context that is, both sort of suitable for, you know, what is going on in 1989 with the Soviet Union but also then thinking about the passage of time; how is this different from how things were two decades earlier?

How to Cite

Maria Bucur, interview, "How do students study 1989 in your classroom?" Making the History of 1989, Item #604, (accessed July 30 2014, 1:04 am).