History is much more than just looking at the exploits of our past people. It is an analysis as to why it happened, and American River College Professor William Wrightson makes students think beyond what any textbook shows.
History of Western Civilization (HIST 300) covers pre-civilization through the fifteenth century. This includes the beginning of the early nomadic hunters and gatherers, the formation of the first civilizations up through the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.
Wrightson’s main goal for his classes is to not make students just regurgitate information from a book, but rather have his students truly understand the material by asking meaningful questions.
“Instead of who, what, and when,” explains Wrightson, “it is about answering why and so what, which are really the questions historians confront.”
The class covers not only the chronological order of events in time, but also explains the philosophies that were dominant in each time period with the purpose of making students understand why certain actions were taken and why they resulted in the way they did.
“My whole teaching philosophy is explaining things in a way that makes sense,” says Wrightson, “to help make students understand as to why things happened and how it pertains to them.”
Wrightson is a polarizing figure among students. His upfront, no-nonsense style of teaching leaves mixed reactions with the students. Many think he is a valuable instructor, including ARC Sophomore Nicholas Smith.
“Will Wrightson is a very great teacher, but he only teaches in two ways. The courses are very in-depth in what to discuss, and when he explains things to you, he knows what he is doing.”
HIST 300 is a class that fulfills a transfer or degree requirement, but is also a course that promotes critical thinking rather than copying and pasting information from a book.