Decoding Primary Sources Using DBQs

Module Summary

In this module educators can explore the use of Document-based questions (DBQs) in the classroom. DBQ’s can be used by teachers to engage students in interpreting historical records. DBQs prepare students to consider multiple perspectives, reconcile differing positions, evaluate the strength of particular arguments, and develop critical thinking skills. In this teaching strategy session, participants will examine speeches, quotations, letters, and news accounts among other written records along with visual resources such as photographs and to glean useful information about people, places, events, and subjects key to understanding the events of WWII in Southeast Asia.

This module is based on the presentation by Namji Steinemann (AsiaPacificEd Program, East-West Center) and Gwen Johnson (Scarsdale High School, New York) for the East-West Center’s 2011 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute for Teachers.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this module do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the East-West Center.

Teaching Materials

PowerPoint lecture “Students as Historians-Primary Sources and the DBQ”
Examples of a DBQ project for Southeast Asia during WWII

Key topics include: WWII in Southeast Asia, Teaching aids and strategies.

We welcome comments from teachers on how you have integrated this material into your teaching, including what was useful and what wasn’t, and what additional resources you would like to see in or recommend for this module.