The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

History professor uses Civil War sites to teach

By Frankie Farrar-Helm/entertainment editor

The Civil War began 150 years ago last week at Fort Sumter, S.C.

NE professor John Perkins teaches that history in his classroom.

He has visited Civil War sites such as Fort Sumter, Gettysburg National Military Park, Antietam National Battlefield and Shiloh Military Park.

Perkins said it’s not enough to learn history until you have been there.

“It makes history come alive when you go somewhere,” he said. “I try to provide insights about the places I visit along with encouraging them [students] to go there. I get excited about history, and I like to share it.”

NE student Andrew Kluttz said Perkins has a completely different style of teaching than any professor he’s had.

“He doesn’t just preach the book,” he said. “He’s very passionate about his job. He uses real-life experiences to communicate history to the class.”

NE student Kristen Semento said the U.S. History to 1876 class she took before Perkins’ U.S. History since 1876 class wasn’t as engaging.

“One thing that makes him different than other history professors is the emotion he puts into his stories,” she said. “He makes parallels between history and reality. It’s almost as if the historical characters are living through him.”

Semento said because she is a possible history major, she feels there is a lot to learn from Perkins.

“History is detective work,” she said. “His passion for history is definitely something to emulate.”

Unlike most professors, Perkins uses an overhead projector for lectures instead of PowerPoint slides. He covers one sentence at a time instead of following multiple bullets or paragraphs.

Perkins said he teaches this way so students are writing less and listening more. It also helps them develop the skill of learning what to write down, he said.

“I try to help students develop their own note-taking. I’m trying to help them bridge the gap between high school and going off to a university,” he said.

Kluttz said Perkins sets expectations for other professors.

“I’m honestly surprised he works for a community college,” he said. “I’m surprised he doesn’t work for an Ivy League university.

“He’s not perfect, but he’s damn near close.”

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