Does history have a liberal bias?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Peregrin5, Sep 26, 2014.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I think history should accurately portray events that happened. Civil unrest is an important part of our history. I don't think you can force patriotism.
     
  4. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    "Supporters of the new framework say it would focus on critical thinking and classroom discussion rather than memorization. Critics fear it would place too much emphasis on the nation's problems."

    I don't understand why people would think that makes kids less patriotic or more liberal. I wish people were better educated on what's happening today.

    I also love when I see kids out acting on something they care about.
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Texas is adopting new history textbooks this year, and all have a seriously conservative perspective. One proposed textbook claims that Moses was the inspiration for The Constitution...
     
  6. curiouslystrong

    curiouslystrong Companion

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    A narrative that is primarily focused on the positive aspects of US history is itself biased. History needs to be looked at from multiple perspectives. Not all will be positive, nor should they be.

    I also take issue with the claim, which I read in another article regarding this same situation, that currently history classes focus too much on "women, slavery, and Native Americans". Too much! Apparently we should not only avoid acknowledging that certain groups have been marginalized and oppressed, historically, but also actively continue to marginalize those groups.
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I was going to post this- I live right near there and know several teachers who teach in that district. They are the latest district to be taken over by a "reformer" school board. I am glad that the teachers and students are standing up and fighting back. I find it deliciously ironic that the school board is trying to remove civil disobedience from the curriculum so that students aren't "taught to accept civil disorder" and then the students respond by organizing huge protests. These students are learning a lot more right now than they could ever learn in any classroom lesson about "civil disorder."
     
  8. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Soo agreed.
     
  9. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    Amen!
     
  10. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    We say in court, "Do you promise to say the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." Well, I believe teachers should be able to do the same thing in class. Forcing patriotism by spinning the truth is just wrong. If they want lies they won't get it from me. They can listen to talk radio for that.
     
  11. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I think history is taught too conservatively. Most of the HS curriculums I look at (small sample size) barely mention Japanese internment camps, if they do at all. My students have almost no understanding of the holocaust before reading Night besides the fact that Jewish people died. They also think a genocide has never occurred since. I could go on and on but those are two areas I focus on in our sophomore English class so I see those the most.

    When I took history, we only really talked about how the US swoops in and saves. The negative side of history was largely overlooked. I learned far more about things like Jim Crow laws when reading To Kill a Mockingbird in English class.

    I also think there's a strong benefit in the upper levels in studying how other countries teach our role in history. We did this in college and it was so interesting!
     
  12. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    If they really wanna know how bad the holocaust was, they should read "Neighbors". They lit Jews on fire and mutulated them in that story. They even tortured the children. I imagine not many parents would be thrilled at their kids reading that though.
     
  13. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    Also, I didn't learn until almost 2 years ago in Anthropology that many women were sterilized in the past here in America. It generally took place in the form of a white social worker thinking a black woman wasn't smart enough to be a mother, typically based on culturally biased tests, and she would be sterilized without even being told. Often during a surgery or doctors visit.
     
  14. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I think once we start looking at history as liberal or conservative, we are in trouble. History should be honest not with a liberal or conservative slant. Only with a honest view of history can we move forward and learn from the good and bad events from the past.
     
  15. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    It depends on the purpose of teaching history. If it is for the purpose of expanding horizons and learning from the past, it will typically make people more liberal.
     
  16. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    We read Night, which gives significant detail of the horrors endured. Many of my students end up crying during different parts. No matter how many years I teach it, some scenes will always make me cry too. My seniors read In the Garden of Beasts, which details anti-semitism in America and how isolationist we were about it. No parent has complained yet. We also read An Ordinary Man about the Rwandan genocide. That one is so horrific especially from the standpoint of how many were killed in such a short time by machetes. We also read 1984 and Brave New World. Neither has been challenged. Both teach the students so much about today's society.
     
  17. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    1984 is generally too tough to understand at that age. In college I didn't understand it until I saw the movie. I had a kid I know tell me he was reading it and didn't get it in 7th grade. I sent him a link of the movie not remembering it was rated R, but his mom said if was okay because they didn't believe in censoring anything.
     
  18. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    It is great that you are sharing these great books with your students instead of watered down textbooks. Your students are lucky to have you as their teacher.
     
  19. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I disagree. My seniors do a great job with both novels. It's so relevant. The text complexity matches well with the grade level. My kids are in AP and Honors English. It's by far my best unit in terms of critical thinking. They have to analyze and debate and write about who was right. Is Orwell with Big Brother correct? Or Huxley and our pleasures? I love the unit. The students routinely say it's a favorite too.

    7th grade is a far cry from 12th grade. For most students it's entirely inappropriate in 7th grade.
     
  20. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Thanks, RR! I try to keep making it better! History is another passion of mine so I love when I get to teach both :)
     
  21. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    As a history teacher in California I can say without hesitation that the world history standards have a clear political bias. That bias is towards the inclusion of every single political group at the expense of truly important even in World History. I don't know if you'd call that liberal but I'd sure call it stupid.

    Constantine literally is covered in two sentences in our textbook. Compare that to two entire chapters on West Africa - an area that left almost no written history and whose greatest contribution to the world was one king who visited Mecca and is largely hated by his own people.

    I have less concern with the US history standards. I'm new to teaching it this year but it seems fine to me. They still shoehorn stuff just for the sake of inclusiveness (which as a historian is annoying to me) but I don't feel that anything of value is excluded so far.
     
  22. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    And not just US history. Irish history is pretty much a complete farce too. It's not a big section, but it's all mostly wrong. I've yet to see a standard textbook that puts the blame on the British for anything, much less the "potato" famine.
     
  23. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    dgpiaffeteach,

    I am always looking for good history novels at about the 5th-7th grade level range to use for my 5th graders. I especially could use some that are related to US history any time before 1865. They could be US History or possibly Historical Fiction. Any that you recommend?
     
  24. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Agreed!
     
  25. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I have found the opposite.

    In my HS's World History textbook, 80% of the focus is on the European and/or American perspective and historical events involving them. It's as if no other groups existed or that these other people were simply sitting around and waiting to interact with Europeans/Americans so that their own history could begin. I find it a bit insulting.

    Latin American (Central/South) history and ALL of their movements for democracy are shoved into one chapter which really only focuses on Bolivar. African history apparently did not exist until the Portuguese began slave trading in the 1400s. Pretty much the same thing with Asian history and the Ottoman Turks. Even Russia, a nation with a long and great history, gets only one pre-WWI chapter which only talks about Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece get their own unit but nothing about Ancient Africa until Alexander conquers Alexandria.

    All that being said, I teach what it in the textbook and follow my district's scope and sequence because that is what I am being asked (paid) to teach.
     
  26. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Also, I think time constraints are a factor when it comes to what is being taught, although it does not necessarily affect the "how" (if it is being taught with a liberal bias or not).

    I have one semester to teach my World History and US History classes. That's 90 days (although I am lucky if I get 80 days) to cover a lot. Some of what I would like to teach has to be skipped or if I do cover it, it has to be rushed through and briefly mentioned because they have to be ready for a Final Exam at the end of the semester. This is especially frustrating when it is an event, topic, period, people that I would personally really like to delve into more.
     
  27. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I try to do quite a bit of African history in my earth science classes. I force some conflict mineral lessons into the curriculum. It took some doing to get them to fit the narrow standards, but I make it work by integrating mapping, biomes, and ores. Later, I talk about Nigeria when we get to fossil fuels.

    I always have a handful of African students, so if they are willing to share, that adds a lot too.

    I've started using an enrichment trick that is working for now; hopefully the novelty doesn't wear off! I use QR codes to link to one or two articles or videos per unit. I just stick them on the front of the unit handout and don't mention them. The kids think the QR codes are fun, so they will go read an article on how Mars is being mapped or where Bauxite comes from or whale fossils in Egypt, whereas if I just said "hey, cool article! Read it," I'd be lucky if 1% did. Now they are coming back to class and mentioning the articles/videos and asking more questions.
     
  28. physteach

    physteach Companion

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    I'm genuinely confused about what this means - I did a certificate in Irish history(although totally accidentally). Can you please clarify?
     
  29. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    What a great idea! I am going to steal this and try something like this. Thank you for sharing this idea. :thumb:
     
  30. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    That is really cool.

    I think my take on it would be to make QR codes, laminate them, and hide them around the room or the school. (although technically, they're not allowed to have their phones out during school hours)

    I think I have a new Communications class project. =3
     
  31. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Sure. When the potato crops failed, why didn't the Irish people eat everything else? Like fish, for example? There was a reason the Irish diet depended on potatoes and that reason was political.

    Here is but one of many links: http://www.wolfetonesofficialsite.com/famine.htm

    Nobody ever talks about. I'm confused about how your Irish studies classes didn't discuss the real reasons for the famine either.

    Talk to any Irish person and you'll get the stories. (I am an Irish citizen, though I haven't lived there since early childhood. My family is in Mayo, Cork, and Dublin)

    You can also delve into Irish music. Both traditional, folk, and rock have a lot to say on the topic of the famine.
     
  32. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I like this! I'll try it out on my rock lab.

    Phones are an ongoing struggle. We are "encouraged" to allow them and district policy is BYOD. I try to train the, to use their phones for good, not evil. I have a sign I can flip to indicate if phones are banned, allowed, or whatever. It mostly works.
     
  33. physteach

    physteach Companion

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    I was confused about your wording, which I thought was stated very clearly. I'm Irish as well, so I am well aware of the famine reasons. I'm going to disagree about how it is taught. Throughout my American high school courses, we were taught about the famine in the same manner that I was at the university level in Ireland.
     
  34. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I've never seen food being shipped out of armed guard mentioned in any textbooks I've seen (I don't teach SS, but when I subbed I always read the textbooks since I love history). That's great if it is changing.
     
  35. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I was just made the Tech leader at our school because I basically did all the tech stuff for all of the teachers anyway. Part of what I do is getting all of the school devices to work on this network that allows us to track them and install apps at the same time, etc. etc. Well I think I can implement a BYOD policy that allows us to give the students a QR code to enter that network safely, and implements all of the same restrictions, without allowing them to share the passwords to the routers to other people (which is the district's main concern).

    Our district is also concerned that a student losing a phone would mean that the teacher is responsible if the teacher required it to be used in class for a project. I feel I could easily remedy this with a contract, but we'll see.
     

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