On the Lives and Education of Children
Edited By Paul L. Thomas, Paul R. Carr, Julie A. Gorlewski and Brad J. Porfilio
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
LAURA J. DULL AND DIANA B. TURK
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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