Edit ModuleShow Tags

John Waldron: Teaching Outside the Lines

(page 1 of 2)

John Waldron teaches history at Tulsa’s Booker T. Washington High School.  While history class can be a timeline of historical facts and dates, there is nothing rote about Waldron’s history lessons. History, said Waldron, is not a linear expression but a story full of great messages that can help students understand heroes and inspire them.

Waldron, winner of an Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence 2013 Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in Secondary Teaching, is immersed in teaching history. Now in his 14th year at Washington, the National Board Certified Educator teaches World History and Asian History for the International Baccalaureate Program as well as United States Government, Medieval and Ancient History and AP Government and Politics. He is also the founder of Washington’s Model United Nations Program.

Waldron’s unique teaching method is energetic and creative. He prefers using historical films, books, articles and role-playing to a textbook. “My students learn there is not a right way to look at something,” he said. “I encourage them to discover the right evidence. By exposing them to ideas in the social studies, I am promoting good thinking, writing and inquiry reading skills.” 

Former student, Gabrielle Inhofe, now at the University of Texas, wrote in an email, “A lot of teachers teach history by giving key events and dates and expecting the students to just memorize them, without forming a cohesive picture of cause and effect, etc. Mr. Waldron completely immersed us in the subject material by giving us nuanced background information, multiple perspectives of an issue, and having us learn from multiple sources such as books, articles, films and original documents. The fact that we drew our learning from such a broad variety of sources gave the individual student the space to analyze and form opinions about a historical event on our own, instead of acquiring the ability to recite a diluted textbook account.”

One of Waldron’s most popular teaching methods among his students is the in-class reenactment of historical events such as a mock Nuremberg Trial, a Viking role-playing game and a model Versailles Peace Conference. 

Inhofe’s favorite historical re-creation was the Nuremberg Trials. “We had students portraying judges, lawyers, defendants, and allied powers. I played Hjalmar Schacht, who served as both Hitler’s President of the Reichsbank and Minister of Economics. Having a back-and-forth dialogue about our roles in WWII helped us to engage more with the war. This was a much more dynamic way of learning than reading from a textbook, which is often dry and unrelatable.”

Former student, Mary Casey, said Waldron’s teaching style was engaging. “I loved that we played ‘Jeopardy’ in class as a way to study for tests and had role-playing and Model UN-style re-creations of modern political events.”

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Popular Articles

The Beast of Grief

My father passed away 7.5 years ago, but there is not a day that I do not miss him. This is especially true around the holidays.

Holiday Fun December 2017

The TulsaKids' list of family-friendly holiday fun in December 2017, by category.

Age Appropriate Books to Talk to Your Kids about Sex

Tulsa Birthday Parties for Kids

Ten Places to Volunteer With Your Family in Tulsa

For many Tulsans, charitable giving is a way of life; but it can be difficult to know where to start.

Tulsa Area Holiday Gifts and Donations Listing

Family Fun for Thanksgiving Weekend

What are you going to do with your family once the Thanksgiving feast has been consumed? Here are 10 ideas.

Free Events for Tulsa Families

Adoption: A Story of Love, Loss and Redemption

Giving Back After a NICU Stay

Having a premature baby in NICU brings struggles, but it can also bring new connections with NICU staff and fellow preemie moms. In celebration of World Prematurity Day Nov. 17, learn how you can honor your preemie by giving back.