Enlighten (vt), Enlightenment (n)

When I co-taught global studies classes in New York City, the fact that the deeper conceptual processes of history were ignored in favor of a pedagogy of discrete, decontextualized facts greatly troubled me. This was a particular problem–and I am confident it remains so, particularly in the classroom in which I served during the final two years of my tenure in New York–in teaching the French Revolution and its animating intellectual ideology, the Enlightenment. Students in the classroom I shared could walk away from the unit on this period with absolutely no sense of the enormity of its epochal influence. Therefore, they could not understand that in many respects, the world, especially the Western world, continues to argue over and contest the legacy of the Enlightenment.

In an attempt to convey the significance of the Enlightenment in my own classroom, I started with these two context clues worksheets on the verb enlighten and the noun enlightenment. The verb, incidentally, is only used transitively.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

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