Using Samurai to Teach Critical Thinking


Thanks to TV, movies, manga and anime, students may bring lots of knowledge of samurai to the classroom. But how much of what they know is based in fact? And how do teachers dislodge student stereotypes to teach and learn about samurai in their historical context? Professor Ethan Segal suggests that samurai offer an excellent case study for developing critical thinking skills because students can analyze the media sources of their own knowledge as well as historical primary and secondary sources, comparing and contrasting the information presented. In this Class App, Professor Segal offers a five-question template for interrogating sources. He applies those questions as he suggests a variety of print and visual sources that can be used in the classroom to engage students in historical inquiry and analysis of samurai culture in the medieval period. Legal concludes with the case study of the film The Last Samurai.

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