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Teachers College Press
Teaching What Really Happened: How to Avoid the Tyranny of Textbooks and Get Students Excited About Doing History

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

by James W. Loewen


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807749913
Publisher: Teachers College Press
Publication date: 09/28/2009
Series: Multicultural Education Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 179,430
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

James W. Loewen, distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, is the bestselling author of Lies My Teacher Told Me and Lies Across America. He taught race relations for 20 years at the University of Vermont and gives workshops for teacher groups around the United States. He has been an expert witness in more than 50 civil rights, voting rights, and employment cases. Visit the author's website: sundown

Table of Contents

Series Foreword James A. Banks ix

Acknowledgments xv

What's Wrong with the Picture on the Cover? xv

Introduction: History as Weapon 1

A Lesson from Mississippi 2

A Lesson from Vermont 7

Why History Is Important to Students 11

Why History Is Important to Society 17

1 The Tyranny of Coverage 23

Forests, Trees, and Twigs 23

Winnowing Trees 25

Deep Thinking 27

Relevance to the Present 30

Skills 33

Getting the Principal on Board 35

Coping with Reasons to Teach "As Usual" 37

You Are Not Alone 41

Brining Students Along 42

2 Expecting Excellence 49

Student Characteristics Affect Teacher Expectations 49

"Standardized" Tests Affect Teacher Expectations 56

Statistical Processes Cause Cultural Bias in "Standardized" Tests 58

Internalizing Expectations 61

Teachers Can Create Their Own Expectations 64

3 Historiography 76

A Tale of Two Eras 76

The Civil Rights Movement, Cognitive Dissonance, and Historiography 79

Studying Bad History 84

Other Ways to Teach Historiography 87

4 Doing History 91

Doing History to Critique History 91

Writing a Paper 92

Bringing Families In 95

Local History 97

Getting Started 101

Final Product 103

Using the Product 104

5 Truth 110

Background of the Problem 111

Separating Matters of Fact from Matters of Opinion 115

Five Tests to Assess Credibility 117

6 How and When Did Peopie Get Here? 127

A Crash Course on Archeological Issues 129

Presentism 133

Today's Religions and Yesterday's History 134

Conclusions About Presentism 137

Chronological Ethnocentrism 138

Primitive to Civilized 139

Costs of Chronological Ethnocentrism 141

7 Why Did Europe Win? 150

The Important Questions 150

Looking Around the World 151

Explaining Civilization 154

Making the Earth Round 155

Why Did Columbus Win? 158

The Columbian Exchange 161

Ideological Results of Europe's Victory 163

Cultural Diffusion and Syncretism Continue 164

8 The $24 Myth 170

Deconstructing the $24 Myth 171

A More Accurate Story 175

Functions of the Fable 176

Overt Racism? 179

Additional Considerations 182

9 Slavery 186

Relevance to the Present 186

Hold a Meta-Conversation 191

Slavery and Racism 194

Four Key Problems of Slave Life 196

Additional Problems in Teaching the History of Slavery 201

10 The Confederacy 208

Teachers Vote 209

Teaching Against the States' Rights Myth 213

Critiquing Textbooks 216

Our Confederate Landscape 219

Genesis of the Problem 221

11 The Nadir 226

Contemporary Relevance 227

Onset of the Nadir 229

Historical Causes of Antiracist Idealism 231

Historical Causes of the Nadir of Race Relations 232

Students Can Reveal the Nadir Themselves 235

During the Nadir, Whites Became White 237

End of the Nadir 242

Implications for Today 243

Afterword: Still More Ways to Teach History 247

Index 251

About the Author 272

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Teaching What Really Happened: How to Avoid the Tyranny of Textbooks and Get Students Excited About Doing History 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
S_Langhorne_Clemens More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for current or aspiring teachers. The overall message of the book is that teachers should get away from the practice of teaching from the textbook. Loewen describes the many fallacies and even lies that many textbooks continue to perpetuate, including their obvious lack of awareness of the multicultural student audience that makes up our schools in America today. Making the point that social studies teachers should take responsibility for their students' learning by teaching the important topics in U.S. history without the crutch of a textbook, he suggests that teachers choose 30-50 topics from the curriculum that have meaning to both the teacher's and the students' lives. By selecting larger topics, or "trees" as he calls them, students can grasp the importance of historical events and how they are relevant to each other and present day events. The obvious implication from this book for educators is that we as teachers should not be content to take textbooks at their word and should instead create our own curriculum that excites us and that is relevant to the students. The importance of teachers being excited about the content they are teaching should not be underestimated, as Loewen describes the role model effect that a teacher has on a student who is learning about history. Another suggestion he makes is that history teachers should not be afraid to tackle the difficult topics like slavery, race relations and the American Indian experience. Instead, teachers should work to educate students as much as possible about those topics, so that they can make better informed decisions in their own lives with a more complete and accurate understanding of what happened in the past to create the world we know today.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Standardized testing requires the myth for the correct answer. As a teacher, I hate to perpetuate lies...guess we'll have to address fiction vs. non-fiction again.