This Thursday evening, the Lincoln Legacy Lectures take place on the University of Illinois Springfield campus.
Traditionally, these have featured Lincoln historians. But with the topic "Lincoln and Education", one of the guest speakers is a retired educator.
Paula Shotwell taught for years in District 186. She also created a living history program for 5th graders.
“I’ll be able to give the experience of working with kids for over 30 years,” she said.
Shotwell points out Lincoln often resonates less with students from the Springfield area, despite the strong ties to the former president. She lays part of the blame on budget cuts that have reduced field trips where children can see the Lincoln story up close. Also, Shotwell said the focus on test taking limits the time available for such learning.
“If we’re going to have Lincoln in our curriculum, it really does take a village in terms of resources, both monetary and volunteers,” she said. “We need our historic sites and historic volunteers, our historians, our universiti8es, our teachers, our educators, our school districts all to be working together and communicating and pulling their resources so that together we can give our kids the best education we know how.”
The 2017 Lincoln Legacy Lectures: Lincoln and Education program will feature a brief discussion by UIS Professor Michael Burlingame about what Abraham Lincoln called his “defective” education, followed by lectures that illustrate Lincoln’s important legacy as one of America’s greatest intellectuals.
Along with Paula Shotwell, Illinois Wesleyan Professor Emeritus Robert Bray will discuss what Abraham Lincoln read and analyze his self-education and penchant for life-long learning.
Co-Sponsored by Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Human Services, Gobberdiel Endowment, Abraham Lincoln Association, Brookens Library Holtz Memorial Lecture, Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, Illinois State Historical Society, NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS, and Sangamon County Historical Society.
The event is in Brookens Auditorium from 7-9 p.m. and it's free to attend.