One of the big questions students have is why do people follow controversial leaders? By using the concept of a "Hero or a Villain" we can make history easy to understand for our students. With this concept students have an opportunity to the actions of leaders from both their supporters and opponents view points. In this way students gain a well rounded and knowledgeable basis for judging historical events and people. Let me give you an example.
Let's take the case of George Washington and his colleagues To us as American's they are definately hero's because of the many freedoms we enjoy today. To the British at this time period they would be considered villains or what we call today terrorists because they were trying to overthrow the government. This will lead to a discussion of when is someone who is fighting the government a "freedom fighter" and when are they "rebels". These kinds of opinion driven discussion keep students engaged and interested.
This concept is useful with both people and events in the Social Sciences. Hopefully this concept will be helpful to my readers. If any readers have questions or improvements that you would like to suggest please feel free to contact me. After all the bottom line is to service our students to the best of our abilities.