Telling the truth teaching history in schools

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ManUfan, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. ManUfan

    ManUfan Rookie

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    Jul 17, 2007

    How do you go about teaching unbias curriculum. I know you can only go so far for elementary school students, but you shouldn't get into trouble for telling the truth. Right? For example telling the story of THE ALAMO from both a Mexican and American POV. Anyways I really don't have to worry about this till I graduate in a few years, just thought someone might know how to approach this problem?
     
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  3. zoerba

    zoerba Comrade

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    Jul 17, 2007

    We discussed this in my college courses as well. I think, especially with you teaching 6th graders, that you should teach both sides - and the truth. In fact, it just might catch their interest that what they thought was true actually isn't. Try reading Lies My Teacher Told Me. It's a great book that covers this topic.
     
  4. MissV

    MissV Companion

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    Jul 17, 2007

    Factual is best.
    Heh. Yeah otherwise you get rednecks in town that still think that the south won the Civil War. (WHAT THE HECK is WRONG with some of these kids?????)
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 17, 2007

    I'd consult the district-approved curriculum and texts first. Most of the newer texts are presenting historical information from a personal perspective. Often they're giving both sides to one event. I think it's a great jumping board for class discussions.
     
  6. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Jul 17, 2007

    Teaching Unbiased history is part of my state curriculum, it fits the requirement of looking at historical discions and seeing what could be done differently. I always look at both sides, make the kids discuss it, make them see material from both sides, discuss the motivation for recording history to support one side. Show clips of the History channels Unsolved History, which breaks down certain events and shows where the historical record got it wrong. THis is the best place to show students how to think and reason.
     
  7. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Jul 17, 2007

    I agree that you need to check the districts curriculum. I try to do a lot of discussion and explanation in class, and our textbook is pretty good about giving both sides of the story/background. When studying the Aztecs we do learn that they performed human sacrifice but also WHY. With slavery during the 1800's we talk about WHY so many people in the South wanted to keep it, WHY so many people in the North may have thought slavery was wrong but blacks not equal, and how events of the 1600's eventually led to the Civil War though it didn't have to be that way. I try to give them a heads up when something we are studying now will be important later (Now this is going to come into play 150 years down the line. Remember this!) and go back to it when we get to the later point of study (Remember when we learned about the Spanish Explorers? Why did they feel they had a right to conquer the Americas? Now that whole idea stuck with future generations so that helps us to understand why.... On the other side of the coin, what did we learn about the values and beliefs of the Native Americans? Can you see how these different beliefs and values became a problem? What is going on here...).
     
  8. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Jul 17, 2007

    When I taught 4th grade in a public school we had a terribly biased, eurocentric curriculum (and this was with inner city minority students.) I really tried to get the admin to look at a new curriculum. It was really bad.

    I created my own materials for them to discuss and read about. For each unit we did, I tried to bring in some new information to discuss. We did part of the Rethinking Columbus curriculum at the beginning of the year. Later, we investigated Thomas Jefferson's life, really looking at who he was. This was at the time when his children with the slave had been uncovered. I added a lot to the curriculum, and we did a unit on children's rights (newsies) stemming from our study of the industrial revolution. This led us to looking at human rights in general.

    The curriculum didn't even cover important things like: slavery or the Harlem renaissance (this was in NYC.) It was NY state history.
     
  9. Tookie Williams

    Tookie Williams Rookie

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    Jul 17, 2007

    History books are written by winners of war and are writen based on politics of the day. Read a history book from the 50's and then from today and you'll see some differences when it comes to racial problems.

    Either way, nothing aggrevates me more than the entire "civil war was based on slavery" bullspit.

    I make major points that the only reason we hail George Washington as a hero and Benidict Arnold a traitor is because we won the war of 1776. Had we lost, Arnold would be remembered to us as the hero who helped squash out those dirty rebels led by the incourageable Washington.

    And as politically incorrect as this is, the same great things would be said about Hitler had he won. Nothing fires up people quicker than asking "what about all the good things Hitler did?" That's not denying he did some terrible things, but why is it we can look past Stalin doing committing genocide in the 20's, but Hitler is the most evil man in history when he did it? Answer, because Stalin was on the winning side of WWII. Had Stalin quit ruling at the end of WWII (before the cold war issues started), he would be remembered like Churchill in American history books.

    Even still, the only bad we remember Stalin for is Berlin Wall. Stalin aligning himself with the winning Allies seems to make up for transgressions easily equal to that of Hitler's.
     
  10. Tookie Williams

    Tookie Williams Rookie

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    Jul 17, 2007


    not to nitpick, but I heard that right after the Jefferson family officially claimed those infedelities in the late 90's, (a claim I feel was made under politically correct pressure, neverminding the fact that it was still unclear) new evidence came out that said it was MORE likely (still not 100% sure) that it was Thomas Jefferson's BROTHER that had the bastard child.
     
  11. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Jul 17, 2007

    I think it is a good time to augment with trade books. Now, you can find books with both points of view for almost any topic and quite a few that are fair to both. I also agree that textbooks are getting better about fair representation.
     
  12. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jul 17, 2007

    I've never had that problem. I teach the facts as they have occurred and supplement our texts if the material appears biased.
     

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