We, Jon and Gary, typically alternate writing blog posts every Sunday. We each have our take on things, and we take seriously the idea that ongoing dialogue is the best way to generate ideas. The Four Question Method really is the result of a decade of our arguing about the best way to teach history. Besides, taking turns gives each of us a weekend off.
But this week’s blog post is a joint product. We’re not arguing right now. We’re talking together and thinking together and writing together, because right now we want to talk about what we share, and what we hope we share with you.
Things aren’t normal right now. The health consequences of the current pandemic are frightening. In the developed world, medical care is on a knife’s edge. If we “flatten the curve,” we might avoid massive mortality due to shortages of skilled care and equipment. In the developing world, the consequences are likely to be far worse. That bitter truth applies doubly to the consequences of freezing the global economy. In the developed world, inequalities are already being exacerbated. In the developing world, mass starvation is a real possibility. The political and cultural consequences of this pandemic are uncertain, but frightening enough. Everything from the handshake greeting to voting needs to be reimagined.
The news is not all awful. Shared adversity can bring out the best in people. For sure, it makes many of us appreciate what we share beyond adversity: our common interests, values, projects, and humanity.
Our aspiration with 4QM Teaching has always been to help foster a community of like-minded people: fanatics about history teaching. If you’re dedicated to the challenge of teaching young people to know and think about how people in other times and places have lived, you’re our kind of people. If you’ve been reading our blog, thank you for sharing virtually in our community. We have always wanted to build that community and make it real. Enforced separation makes us want that even more.