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Teaching What Really Happened

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on 9 April 2015

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Transcript of Teaching What Really Happened

Teaching What Really Happened: How to Avoid the Tyranny of Textbooks & Get Students
About Doing History

James W. Loewen
Don't just teach for the textbook!
Textbooks can be inaccurate and teach students "bad history"
Teach topics that relate to overall major themes of history
Discuss with students the implications of each history topic and why it matters today
Chapter 1: The Tyranny of Coverage
There is a large achievement gap in History between white students and african american, native american, and latino students
Teacher expectations greatly influence a child's performance. Many teachers have greater expectations for their white students, who then perform better than other students
Standardized tests are not an accurate measure of student progress, especially minority students
Chapter 2: Expecting Excellence
Chapter 6
Chapter 9
Chapter 7
The $24 Myth
Chapter 8
Teaching Slavery
Why did Europe win?
Why did the South Succeed?
Chapter 10
The Nadir
Many important questions go unasked- mental experiment- "Take me to your leaders"- teaches humility: even the longest-lived civilizations are transitory
False: Columbus proved the Earth was round
Syncretism- combining elements from different cultures to form something new-->triumph of Western and Europe Europe (critique textbooks)
Ethnocentrism- belief that ones own culture is the best and that other societies and cultures should be ranked highly only to the degree that they resemble ours (combat by learning a lot about other societies
Undo the damage done to their discipline in elementary school
Anecdotes that did not and could not have happened
Symbolizes the taking of much of the continent
Legitimizes the taking
Overt racism?
History education goes unchanged
Downplaying slavery amounts to racism against African America
Not embarrassing African America students
Not making white students feel guilty
See the relevance of slavery in todays terms, if not slavery then race would not make such a difference today
The national struggle still exists- racism, a product of history
4 key problems of slave life (freedom, control, violence, inferiority)
"Slave power" Influence everywhere
What to do with freed slaves? Race issues
Textbooks contradicts history
Problems with textbook production
Do not want to offend
Unqualified writers
Downplaying slavery-->state rights
Time period of 1890 to 1940
Race relations worsened, lynchings peaked, "sundown town"
Why are we taking so long to get over slavery?
Distorted history and residential segregation
Social Power in reference to black families in the neighborhood
End of the Nadir
"Great migration"
Connections between pasts a present
Historiography is the study of history that analyzes how certain pieces of history came into being (who wrote it, who built it, who was there, who
there, etc.)
Teaching students about historiography allows them to put history in context, which helps them obtain a deeper understanding and interest in topics
Having an alternative history text in addition to the main textbook is a good way for students to analyze how topics are treated differently depending on the author and the intended audience

Chapter 3: Historiography
Chapter 4: Doing History
"Doing History" is defined as identifying a problem or topic, finding information, deciding what sources are credible for what pieces of information, coming to conclusions about the topic, developing a storyline, and arranging the information on behalf of that storyline, while giving attention to info that might contradict the argument
The internet is a great tool for students to use to research history, but they need to be taught how to tell if sources are credible or not
Have students annotate every source in their research (web or not) about why it is credible
Local History Project: Interview one person, and then give a report on that person based on the interview
Chapter 5: How and When did People Get Here?
Anthropology and archeology are important topics for students to learn to help them think about how people got here, and what they did once they got here
Presentism: Applying concerns of today to the past, which distorts our understand of what happened in the past
Avoid Chronological ethnocentrism: the assumption that our society and culture are better than past ones
This can be applied to religions, races, and even ancient cultures
Full transcript