Writing a Research paper on lies my teacher told me.How do i outline the probs of high school history and give solutions to problems and identify possible benefits and drawbacks to each solution.

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akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The previous posts did a very nice job of addressing the prompt.  I would like to add my particular points of view.  Certainly, Lowen's ideas add fuel to the debate that teaching history is a misunderstood discipline.  I would submit that one of the critical points that should be outlined is the ability to teach historical tragedy as a viable approach.  This means that embracing a perspective of history which lives in perpetual doubt about totality with the presence of multiple perceptions and points of view helps teach the student to assess meaning themselves.  The challenge here is that we teacher students that there is no "right" answer, as much as multiple conceptions that compete on the basis of historical validity.  We replace terms like "right" with "accurate" or "valid."  This might be a potential starting point in analyzing how history has been taught and how it can be taught.

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

To the previous answerer: "Lies My Teacher Told Me" is a book, not the questioner's value judgement...

I would start with Loewen's intro and list the problems he sees.  As I see it they are:

  • History is presented as problems that are solved and done in that they do not present controversies.
  • The leave out anything that makes America look bad.
  • They do not use the present to look at the past or vice versa.
  • They have too many facts and not enough about causation.

From there, I think you're on your own at least a little bit.  I can't answer the other questions for you, short of writing your whole paper. My own approach as a history teacher has been to try to introduce the controversies and to talk about causation and such things rather than to rely on the textbook for everything.

I would be happy to discuss with you any solutions you may come up with.  Let me know if you need more help.

readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Perhaps a better approach would be to speak of the wrong information my teacher gave me. A lie presupposes intentionality.

That said, there are many ways in which you can start this paper. You can talk about how history needs to be written for every generation, because each generation see things in different ways.

You can also start by saying how each generation has an angle on history and does not see other important perspectives, because of their historical and cultural context. From this point of view, you can go into the many blind spots that historian of the past have had. However, be careful, because other will do the same to us. Modesty is, in my opinion, important. For a good and short insight on personal blind spots see the below link.

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