How should American History be taught?

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How should American History be taught?

Postby Stephen Fox » Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:21 pm

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Re: How should American History be taught?

Postby KeithE » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:14 am

Howard Zinn’s books should be read along with traditional textbooks to get a better understanding of the range of possibilities
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Re: How should American History be taught?

Postby Sandy » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:39 am

KeithE wrote:Howard Zinn’s books should be read along with traditional textbooks to get a better understanding of the range of possibilities


Absolutely.
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Re: How should American History be taught?

Postby Dave Roberts » Sat Mar 28, 2015 7:56 am

I have commented on this in other forums, but the problem seems to reside that everyone wants to teach history to support his or her viewpoints. Part of the task of all history is to help us recognize our blind spots. We all have them. American history is a story of nobility and ignoble events, of great heroism and sometimes the unwillingness to right wrongs, it is the story of freedom of religion and the enslavement of Africans, it is the story of unselfish aid for former enemies and of the geopolitics seeking to preserve our own supplies of important raw materials in gunboat diplomacy. In other words, we are like all flawed human beings--great at some points and wrapped in our sinful ways at others. We need as honest as possible an approach with authors and teachers who acknowledge that they too have chosen to have biases and blind spots.
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Re: How should American History be taught?

Postby Tim Bonney » Sat Mar 28, 2015 2:53 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:I have commented on this in other forums, but the problem seems to reside that everyone wants to teach history to support his or her viewpoints. Part of the task of all history is to help us recognize our blind spots. We all have them. American history is a story of nobility and ignoble events, of great heroism and sometimes the unwillingness to right wrongs, it is the story of freedom of religion and the enslavement of Africans, it is the story of unselfish aid for former enemies and of the geopolitics seeking to preserve our own supplies of important raw materials in gunboat diplomacy. In other words, we are like all flawed human beings--great at some points and wrapped in our sinful ways at others. We need as honest as possible an approach with authors and teachers who acknowledge that they too have chosen to have biases and blind spots.


Very true. Unfortunately, "history is written by the victors." (Winston Churchill) And I'd also add that it is often written from the majoritarian viewpoint. So we tend to lift up our noble actions and, to use Dave's words, ignore ignoble behavior. It isn't easy to write fair history.

We are having as big or bigger problem in science where school boards are wanting to tell trained science teachers and scientists what science to teach rather than let whatever is the current prevailing scientific view be taught as science.
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Re: How should American History be taught?

Postby Haruo » Sat Mar 28, 2015 6:51 pm

A major problem is the difficulty of instilling a sane and sensible humility. It is useful to teach the current prevailing consensus about scientific matters, but it is just as important, maybe moreso, to get kids to realize that the prevailing consensus has never proved solid in the long run, and there's no reason to think our current set of hypotheses and theories will still be current in our children's or grandchildren's heyday. Which is not to say that "they" will be that much more enlightened than we.
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Re: How should American History be taught?

Postby Dave Roberts » Sun Mar 29, 2015 4:47 am

I remember taking zoology in college. I realize now how much farther the studies have advanced. What I learned in the 1960's was cutting edge at the time, but many theories are now at the back of the blade. Today's cutting edge may well be at the back of the blade one day as well. "We know in part" is never more true.
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