Teaching United States History is not an easy task when your students are not ready to read the textbook. What do we do? For many educators, this is a great dilemma.
Here are some popular options: purchase a different textbook with tons of illustrations and no meat, purchase a textbook that treats history and their characters as a caricature of perfection, water down the curriculum after all history is not important, teach to test: expose students two the material they would be tested on, that’s all they need to know. Which of these options would you choose?
Let’s see if I can explain the danger of each one of them:
a.purchase a different textbook with tons of illustrations and no meat, In some districts this is the solution to help Special Education students and English Language Learners access the curriculum. Illustrations support the text, if the text is of poor quality, the illustrations are just pretty pictures. This is a very expensive option.
b. purchase a textbook or even trade books that treat history and their characters as a caricature of perfection. Students laugh at this, they know no one is perfect. They get bored with the hypocrisy and disengage from the course.
c.water down the curriculum after all history is not important. Say what? We need to know of our past, it will give us insight on why things are the way they are in the present and how to conduct our future.
d.teach to test: expose students to the material they would be tested on, that’s all they need to know. I have two words: BORING and DANGEROUS. We need to teach our students to think critically after all they will ruling our world pretty soon. Don’t we want them to know what they have to do and be able to make wise decisions?