Posted on

Enter “This Fleeting World”

This nice review arrived over the weekend:

History teachers wrestling with the question, “How do I teach all the stuff that makes up world history?” might find some answers here. Rather than focus on the minutiae of details, Christian suggests teaching from the big picture. He pares all of history down to three periods: the Era of Foragers, the Agrarian Era, and the Modern Era. Critics say he excludes key historical figures, but that seems to be his point. When flying above familiar terrain, he writes, “[F]from the plane you will not see many details, but yo will get a clearer sense of the landscape. Individual objects may be blurred, but you will see the relationship between them more easily.” Indeed although teachers face the problem of choosing what to cover, they must also help students understand the relationship between critical turning points in world history, something more easily achieved when studying national history. The book is specifically designed to aid teachers in lesson design with these two difficulties in mind.

Each of the three chapters includes a time line, topics for further study, and sidebars called “though experiments.” Teachers will appreciate this feature, as it takes students pass memorizing names and dates and into the realm of making connections. Equally interesting and informative is the preface, written by two professors who teach prospective history teachers, and an introduction by the author. The book can easily be read in one sitting and should prove to be a valuable classroom resource.—Kim Zach

I was asked for the source of the quotation from which the book title comes in a comment on another post about This Fleeting World. It comes from the final verse of the ‘Diamond Sutra,’ c. fourth century CE, as translated by Kenneth Saunders, cited in Christmas Humphreys, ed., The Wisdom of Buddhism, London: The Buddhist Society, 1987, p. 122.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *