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Pedagogies of Kindness and Respect

On the Lives and Education of Children

Edited By Paul L. Thomas, Paul R. Carr, Julie A. Gorlewski and Brad J. Porfilio

Pedagogies of Kindness and Respect presents a wide variety of concepts from scholars and practitioners who discuss pedagogies of kindness, an alternative to the «no excuses» ideology now dominating the way that children are raised and educated in the U.S. today. The fields of education, and especially early childhood education, include some histories and perspectives that treat those who are younger with kindness and respect. This book demonstrates an informed awareness of this history and the ways that old and new ideas can counter current conditions that are harmful to both those who are younger and those who are older, while avoiding the reconstitution of the romantic, innocent child who needs to be saved by more advanced adults. Two interpretations of the upbringing of children are investigated and challenged, one suggesting that the poor do not know how to raise their children and thus need help, while the other looks at those who are privileged and therefore know how to nurture their young. These opposing views have been discussed and problematized for more than thirty years. Pedagogies of Kindness and Respect investigates the issue of why this circumstance has continued and even worsened today.
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Chapter Fifteen: No More Disrespect: Teaching All Students to Question Right and Wrong in History


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No More Disrespect

Teaching All Students to Question Right and Wrong in History


What do pedagogies of kindness and respect look like in secondary history and social studies classrooms? We argue that such teaching can support and guide all children—regardless of class, disability, race, ethnicity, or other forms of difference or marginalization—to understand and evaluate historical arguments and learn to build their own. Respecting students’ backgrounds and places in history and helping them to find themselves within the history they are studying can foster a deeper engagement in, and ultimately respect for, history itself. Teaching history from a stance of kindness and respect thus requires teachers to know and appreciate their students’ cultures, needs, and strengths so they can make content and skills accessible to the students. At the same time, it asks teachers to respect their students as inquisitive beings capable of solving problems, taking on different perspectives, and grappling with authentic historical questions that help explain the injustices around them (Zinn, 2014).

Pedagogies of kindness and respect are crucial in this time of persistent socioeconomic and racial segregation (Bouie, 2014) and widening income gap between rich and poor (DeSilver, 2014). Instead of accepting triumphal textbook narratives of American history that present national problems as already solved, teachers and students must confront the conflicts and problems of history in order to understand the...

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