Classes you dread but shouldn’t: History of the West and World

History of the West and World: one of the required classes that everyone takes yet dreads.

But why is this class labeled as boring, dry, and dull according to Nicole Smith, freshman mortuary science major?

When she was asked why she took this class, without hesitation, her first response was, “Because I had to.” This is the same response many students give.

Smith has Jeffrey Bloodworth, associate history professor, for the course, and she said, “I absolutely adore him; he is an awesome professor.”

She added that Bloodworth makes the class fun and interesting and keeps interest levels high.

Her advice to other students that have to take the mandatory liberal studies core is, “Don’t go in with a negative attitude and pay attention. It is not a hard class if you pay attention, engage in discussion and participate.”

She also mentions that she would take this class even if it wasn’t mandatory because it is so rewarding.

The attitudes of the professor and students make all the difference. “I understand why every student isn’t jumping out of their seats to take this class.  There is a different vibe to the classroom,” Bloodworth said.

“When a student takes a class relevant to their major, there is enthusiasm; for a mandatory class, there is a lack of motivation. It is part of the students’ job to participate in the classroom.”

As a professor, Bloodworth said he tries his best to make the class exciting, but he admits that he cannot bring it all every day.

“It will wear you out. I need the students’ motivation to push me to be the best professor I can be,” Bloodworth said.

“It can be a hard class to teach, but it is not a class where all students are expected to do is memorize dates and facts. It can be taught like that, but at Gannon, we don’t.”

Instead, Bloodworth said that the course aims at giving students usable information about the 20th century.

Bloodworth explained that the classroom morale must be up – if you have five students paying attention and involved and 20 that are not, it can be hard to teach.

“I understand most of the students enrolled in the course are freshmen, and it is awkward as it is, but every student should bring a positive attitude,” Bloodworth said.

“From a professor’s stand point, you must be given energy to give energy; it is a two way road with students.”

Julie DeDionisio, junior biology/pre-vet major, agrees with Smith that she expected the course to be boring, just like any other history class.

DeDionisio, who has Geoffrey Grundy as her course instructor, said he makes the class interesting because he is excellent at lecturing.

“His methods of teaching combine PowerPoint and lecture,” DeDionisio said.

“He doesn’t simply stand in front of the classroom and lecture — he is alive when he speaks, and you can really tell that he loves teaching.”

As Bloodworth suggests, although this class is a mandatory one, students should attempt to make the best of it.

As with any other class, every student can benefit from going into the experience with a positive attitude and actively engaging in the classroom.



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