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Such master narratives, I contend, permeate most history textbooks and deny students critical lenses through which to examine, analyze, and interpret social issues today. The article concludes with suggestions about how teachers might begin to address the current problem of master narratives and offer alternative approaches to presenting U.
During my years as a high school history teacher in the early s, I observed the extent to which history textbooks often presented simplistic, one-dimensional interpretations of American history within a heroic and celebratory master narrative. Reflecting on these years, I also remember how heavily teachers relied on these textbooks, consequently denying students an accurate picture of the complexity and richness of American history.
Often these figures are portrayed in isolation from other individuals and events in their historical context. At the same time, the more controversial aspects of their lives and beliefs are left out of many history textbooks.
The result is that students often are exposed to simplistic, one-dimensional, and truncated portraits that deny them a re- alistic and multifaceted picture of American history.
In this way, such texts and curricula undermine a key purpose of learning history in the first place: History should provide students with an understanding of the com- plexities, contradictions, and nuances in American history, and knowledge of its triumphs and strengths.
According to Loewen, the simplistic and doctrinaire content in most history textbooks contributes to student boredom and fails to challenge students to think about the relationship of history to contem- porary social affairs and life.
Inhistorian W. Du Bois also noted the tendency of textbooks to promote certain master narratives while leaving out differing or controversial information about historical figures and events. As an example, Du Bois noted, One is astonished in the study of history at the recurrence of the idea that evil must be forgotten, distorted, skimmed over.
We must not remember that Daniel Webster got drunk but only remember that he was a splendid constitutional lawyer. We must forget that George Washington was a slave owner, or that Thomas Jefferson had mulatto children, or that Alexander Hamilton had Negro blood, and simply remember the things we regard as creditable and inspiring.
The dif- ficulty, of course, with this philosophy is that history loses its value as an incentive and example; it paints perfect men and noble nations, but it does not tell the truth.
As a result, students often receive information that is inaccurate, simplistic, and dis- connected from the realities of contemporary local, national, and world affairs.
When master narratives dominate history textbooks, students find history boring, predictable, or irrelevant.
If we continue on this course of presenting history to students, we risk producing a generation that does not understand its history or the connection of that history to the contemporary world.
We also deny students access to relevant, dynamic, and often con- troversial history or critical lenses that would provide them insight into the dilemmas, challenges, and realities of living in a democratic society such as the United States.
In this article, I examine how textbooks present heroic, uncritical, and celebratory master narratives of history. I illuminate how high school history text- books promote King through three master narratives: King as a messiah, King as the embodiment of the civil rights movement, and King as a mod- erate.
Having shown how textbook master narratives portray King, I con- clude by suggesting how teachers might move beyond the limitations of these narratives to offer students a more complex, accurate, and realistic view of figures and events in American history.
Beringer presents a straightforward approach to conducting literary analysis: In this study, high school history textbooks serve as the source material. The focal point of this investigation is the representation of Martin Luther King, Jr. King was cho- sen as a subject of analysis because he is a widely recognized figure in American history whose image has come to epitomize ideals of democracy, equality, and freedom in America.
To explore how contemporary textbooks represent King, I examine six popular and widely adopted American history textbooks: The American Pageant by Thomas A. Kennedy, and Lizabeth Co- hen; American Odyssey: Winkler; The Americans by Gerald A.
Garraty and Mark C. Carnes; and The American People: Creating a Nation and a Society by Gary B. Nash, Julie Jeffrey, et al.
Other textbook studies cite The American People: Creating a Nation and a Society as a popular textbook. The American Pageant has long been a popular textbook for high-level and advanced placement students in high school. A messianic master narrative highlights one exceptional individual as the progenitor of a movement, a leader who rose to lead a people.
The idea of messianism has long been a part of American culture and religion. Rooted in Judeo-Christian tradition and beliefs, the concept of a deliverer coming to Earth to free the masses from evil or oppression has been very appealing to Americans because of the predominance of Judeo-Christian beliefs and traditions in the United States.Martin Luther King Reading.
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The worksheets below include a Martin Luther King Jr. biography questions, Rosa Parks biography questions, word searches, a personal narrative worksheet based on the famous “I have a Dream” speech, a glossary of non-violence, and more.
Social Studies Activities. JumpStart’s collection of fun social studies activities is free, printable, and designed for students of different ages. These activities cover topics in geography, history, civics, and many other related subjects.
3rd Grade Activities.
Third grade activities are exciting and educational. Kids in third grade are more mature and confident than before. As a result, our activities for third . Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - On the third Monday in January, we celebrate a man who helped change the course of history in the way people treat others who are different than them.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an African American clergyman and civil rights leader for who was made famous by the glorious speech “I Have a Dream”.
Celebrate the life and work of Dr. King by making a timeline of some major events during his life and the Civil Rights Movement.