Social Studies Today: Research and Practice

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Social Studies Today: Research and Practice

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Social Studies Today

Social Studies Today Research and Practice

Edited by Walter C. Parker

First published 2010 by Routledge 270 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016 Simultaneously published in the UK by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2010. To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk. © 2010 Taylor & Francis All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Social studies today : research and practice / edited by Walter C. Parker. p. cm. Includes index. 1. Social sciences—Study and teaching (Secondary) 2. Social sciences—Study and teaching (middle school) I. Parker, Walter. H62.S72471925 2009 300.71′2—dc22 2009008561 ISBN 0-203-84127-1 Master e-book ISBN

ISBN10: 0–415–99286–9 (hbk) ISBN10: 0–415–99287–7 (pbk) ISBN13: 978–0–415–99286–2 (hbk) ISBN13: 978–0–415–99287–9 (pbk)

Contents

Preface

ix

Introduction 1 Social Studies Education eC21

3

WALTER C. PARKER

Part I Purpose Matters 2 Social Studies and the Social Order: Transmission or Transformation?

17

WILLIAM B. STANLEY

3 The Social Studies Wars, Now and Then

25

RONALD W. EVANS

4 Why Don’t More History Teachers Engage Students in Interpretation?

35

KEITH C. BARTON AND LINDA S. LEVSTIK

5 High-Stakes Testing: How Are Social Studies Teachers Responding?

43

S. G. GRANT

6 Authentic Intellectual Work: Common Standards for Teaching Social Studies

53

M. BRUCE KING, FRED M. NEWMANN, AND DANA L. CARMICHAEL

Part II Perspective Matters 7 Education and Diversity JAMES A. BANKS, PETER COOKSON, GENEVA GAY, WILLIS D. HAWLEY, JACQUELINE JORDAN IRVINE, SONIA NIETO, JANET WARD SCHOFIELD, AND WALTER G. STEPHAN

67

vi

• Contents

8 Isn’t Culturally Responsive Instruction Just Good Teaching?

77

KATHRYN H. AU

9 Silence on Gays and Lesbians in Social Studies Curriculum

87

STEPHEN J. THORNTON

10 Race, Gender, and the Teaching and Learning of National History

95

TERRIE EPSTEIN AND JESSICA SHILLER

Part III Subject Matters 11 What Can Forrest Gump Tell Us about Students’ Historical Understanding?

105

SAM WINEBURG, SUSAN MOSBORG, AND DAN PORAT

12 What Does It Mean to Think Historically . . . and How Do You Teach It?

113

BRUCE A. VANSLEDRIGHT

13 Maps and Map Learning in Social Studies

121

SARAH WITHAM BEDNARZ, GILLIAN ACHESON, AND ROBERT S. BEDNARZ

14 What Do Children Know about Cultural Universals?

133

JERE BROPHY AND JANET ALLEMAN

15 High Quality Civic Education: What Is It and Who Gets It?

141

JOSEPH KAHNE AND ELLEN MIDDAUGH

16 Holocaust Fatigue in Teaching Today

151

SIMONE SCHWEBER

Part IV Global Matters 17 How Are Teachers Responding to Globalization?

165

MERRY M. MERRYFIELD AND MASATAKA KASAI

18 Using Literature to Teach about Others: The Case of Shabanu 175 MARGARET SMITH CROCCO

Contents

19 The Two World Histories

• vii 183

ROSS E. DUNN

20 Teaching Civic Engagement in Five Societies

197

CAROLE L. HAHN

Part V Puzzles 21 Discussion in Social Studies: Is it Worth the Trouble?

205

DIANA E. HESS

22 What Constrains Meaningful Social Studies Teaching?

215

CATHERINE CORNBLETH

23 What is the Connection between Curriculum and Instruction?

225

AVNER SEGALL

24 Can Tolerance be Taught?

235

PATRICIA G. AVERY

Epilogue 25 Idiocy, Puberty, and Citizenship: The Road Ahead

247

WALTER C. PARKER

Permissions

261

Index

263

Preface

The chapters in this book offer brief essays on some of the most important questions animating social studies education today, early in the twenty-first century. These include the basics and then some: What is the core subject matter of social studies? Is social studies different from the social sciences? Do young children need to learn anything at school about food and shelter, or are these cultural universals “covered” at home? Is that most-prized pedagogy, classroom discussion, worth the trouble? Can tolerance be taught? How do students from different social positions interpret the same history lesson? And, what is the testing-and-accountability frenzy doing to social studies? The book grew from my column, “Research and Practice,” in Social Education, a journal of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS). That column in turn grew from a concern expressed often in NCSS and its affiliated organization, the College and University Faculty Assembly, that social studies researchers and practitioners are living on two different planets. I understand that concern but don’t subscribe to it. I have inhabited both planets since 1969, when I was a student volunteer at a Head Start program for preschool children in Boulder, Colorado. A few years later, I began teaching social studies in a school district on the northern edge of Denver, where I stayed for ten very rich years, studying and practicing teaching the entire time, learning from so many errors. I then shifted gears and joined the faculty at the University of Texas and, now, the University of Washington. The book’s 23 central chapters were published over the past few years in my column, thanks to contributions from some of the field’s top scholars. Additionally, there are two bookend chapters that tie the collection together. The Introduction (chapter 1) interprets the social studies field today and introduces the book’s five themes. The Epilogue (chapter 25) revives the ancient meanings of idiocy, puberty, and citizenship, and places them at the heart of the social studies curriculum in today’s primary and secondary schools. Please note the “and” in the subtitle of this book. It is not research into practice, or from research to practice, or research on practice, or any other suggestion of hierarchy or sequence. “And” is a conjunction of equality. Research and practice are, and always have been, interdependent and on equal footing. This is what John Dewey called “the double-movement of reflection” in his book How We Think, published in 1910. “Research and practice” is just another name for normal life. We humans do things intentionally (this is practice), and we reflect on what those things mean (this is research). We then test our budding theories in new experiences, and we use new experiences to revise

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• Preface

these theories, and so on, one arising from the other. This is how we get on in the world. It is as true when we are trying to grow tomatoes on the patio, summer after summer, as when we are trying to raise children, teach history or geography to classrooms of students, govern a country, or discover a cure for cancer. When we joke, “Don’t bother me with the facts, I’ve already made up my mind,” we acknowledge that our research has ended, that we have become committed to a particular theory and aren’t going to pay attention to experience anymore. When we say, “I’m a practical sort of person and I don’t put much stock in theories,” we mean that we’re not thinking about what we’re doing, which of course isn’t true. Actually, we are, all of us, loaded with theories and experiences. Everyone is a researcher and a practitioner. Everyone inhabits both planets. They are, in fact, the same planet. Together, “research and practice” equal learning. I want to thank Merry Merryfield, then the chair of CUFA, for inviting me to serve as the editor of the “Research and Practice” column; and Michael Simpson, the executive editor at Social Education, for so ably managing it. I am delighted to have found Catherine Bernard, my editor at Routledge. Her wisdom and good cheer worked wonders. Special thanks go to the authors of the book’s 23 central chapters. Their work is making a major contribution to research and practice in social studies education. Walter C. Parker

Introduction

1

Social Studies Education eC21

WALTER C. PARKER*

Social studies is at the center of a good school curriculum because it is where students learn to see and interpret the world—its peoples, places, cultures, systems, and problems; its dreams and calamities—now and long ago. In social studies lessons and units of study, students don’t simply experience the world (they always do anyway, in school and out), but are helped systematically to understand it, to care for it, to think deeply and critically about it, and to take their place on the public stage, standing on equal footing with others. This, at any rate, is the goal. It matters, for without social understanding, there can be no wisdom. Good judgment has always relied on the long view—historical understanding— involving long-term thinking and long-term responsibility alongside intimate knowledge of particulars. So it is with the other social literacies: without geographic understanding, there can be no cultural or environmental intelligence; without economic understanding, no sane use of resources; without political understanding, no “we the people”; and without these in combination, no inventive, collaborative work on building a just and sustainable society, both locally and globally. One thing is clear: such wisdom cannot be achieved by a handful of courses in a middle or high school curriculum. Social studies needs to be set deeply into the school curriculum from the earliest grades. What results is a snowball effect: knowledge growing each year on its own momentum, empowering students with each passing year. I can remember the teachers at my junior high school in Englewood, Colorado, thinking that those of us who came from Lowell Elementary School were the smart kids. We were certainly not the smart kids, just ordinary working- and middle-class children who were lucky enough to have been taught social studies systematically and with good materials since * Walter C. Parker is Professor and Chair, Social Studies Education, at the University of Washington, Seattle. He is the author of Educating the Democratic Mind, Teaching Democracy: Unity and Diversity in Public Life, and Social Studies in Elementary Education.

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• Walter C. Parker

kindergarten. Consequently, we knew quite a lot and, for this reason, were better able (and therefore more willing) to learn new material. Educational researchers dub this the Matthew Effect1 after that section in the biblical Book of Matthew where one reads that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The rich get richer because they can invest their surplus—what they’re not spending to live—thereby earning still more, which they reinvest, and so on, becoming more wealthy still. The Matthew Effect in education is based on the fact that prior knowledge is a powerful predictor of future learning. The knowledge and skills children already possess—the investment in learning that already has been made—enables them to learn still more. Knowledgeable students become more knowledgeable because their prior knowledge serves as a fertile seedbed in which additional knowledge can take root and thrive. Switching metaphors, knowledgeable students are building a house atop a foundation that already has been laid. This is much easier than building the house at the same time they are struggling to lay its foundation. Here’s the point: not having access to social studies learning from the earliest levels of schooling is disabling intellectually and socially. The Book’s Purpose The purpose of this book is to help teachers, school leaders, curriculum workers, policymakers, and scholars think freshly and critically about social studies education. More than thinking about it, however, the book’s purpose is to engage readers in thinking through some of the most intriguing questions that animate social studies education today, and to do it with the help of some of the field’s top scholars. While the book’s setting is largely the United States, I believe it can be useful elsewhere, too—as a contrast, a comparison, and a reflective mirror. Some of the most important questions are hardly unique to any one country. Why, for example, do so few middle and high school history teachers engage their students in actually doing historical work: making, supporting, and evaluating claims about historical events and forces? Is the teacher’s own historical knowledge perhaps too weak for that? Is the school’s climate stifling? Are students simply not able to do it—not “ready” to construct or interrogate a thesis, able only to listen to others tell history to them? Furthermore, and connecting school learning to democratic citizenship, aren’t there serious consequences for democracy if high school graduates haven’t learned to distinguish between a claim that is supported by evidence and argument, on the one hand, and one told to them by an authority figure, whether a teacher or a president? Consider a second question, this one involving the youngest students. Is there seriously a need to teach about cultural universals in the primary grades? It seems obvious that children already know so much about food, shelter, and clothing, for example, simply as a consequence of being alive—eating pizza, living in an apartment, wearing shoes and socks—that taking precious school

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time for it is redundant. Or is their knowledge of these powerful concepts meager and loaded with misconceptions (e.g., people eat foods they like; they eat because they are hungry), hardly the sort of foundation needed to support later learning? Each one of the book’s 23 central chapters opens a unique window on the social studies education scene early in the twenty-first century—eC21. “eC21” draws on Raymond Williams’ system for historical dating where e, m, and l designate the early, middle, and late thirds of a century. Williams, who had an original analytic mind and was an astute observer of culture and language, wrote Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society.2 In this book, he grappled with over 100 terms that are central to our thinking but fundamentally ambiguous, always in flux, and, because they are important, subject to argument; for example, history, culture, educated, science, ideology, and democracy. Williams didn’t take these concepts at face value. He tried to get to the bottom of them and placed them in historical context. His work inspired the book you have in your hands in a basic way: I wanted to present an array of contemporary thinking about social studies education so that readers could deepen their understanding of this field but also so they could look critically at how contemporary scholars are thinking and writing about social studies today in its various dimensions. It is a book about social studies education, but it is also a book about how we construct social studies education, again and again, by enacting it, describing it, and debating its means and ends. Social studies is the keyword of this book. It is a concept—a social construct. It is human-made like a pyramid, not natural like a tree; therefore, its meanings change with time, place, and political context. Social studies education is buffeted by all manner of social forces, and it reflects the anxieties, power dynamics, and “culture wars” of the day. Contentious Curricula Of course, the term “social studies” means different things to different people. Generally, in the United States today it connotes a loose federation of social science courses: history (world, national, and state), geography, government, economics, sociology, psychology, and anthropology. “Social Studies,” as such, is the name of a department in middle and high schools—the department that houses courses with names like these—and of a subject in primary schools. In the latter, “social studies” is an amalgamation of these social science disciplines and is thereby distinct from two other amalgamations found in the elementary curriculum: “science” (biology + geology + physics, etc.) and “math” (arithmetic + algebra + geometry, etc.). The first four of the social science disciplines (history, geography, government, economics) are dominant in eC21, which is a consequence of habit, interest groups (historians are bigger and more organized than the others), and to some extent the standards and accountability movement that began late in the twentieth century. The latter narrowed

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the curriculum in some communities to the point where social studies was edged to the sidelines in favor of still greater attention to reading and math instruction and, because of current anxiety about economic and military competitiveness, science and technology. Defenders of the federation approach have sought to maintain the disciplinary integrity of each of the social sciences. At its best, this approach gave birth to the “inquiry” teaching movement in social studies (still much revered if scarcely practiced). That movement aimed to help students construct, by their own intellectual efforts, the central concepts and generalizations of a discipline.3 At its worst, however, the approach made more than a few scholars into rigid disciplinarians guarding the disciplinary gates and defending what they think is disciplinary purity from polluters, especially those who would scramble the disciplines into an interdisciplinary omelet. Here, the integrity of an individual scholarly discipline, often history (or in math, algebra, and in science, physics), is held to be superior to competitors (e.g., sociology) but especially to the jumble the subject is believed to become amid the exigencies of curriculum enactment in schools: not history, algebra, and physics but “social studies,” “math,” and “science.”4 Neoconservative federationists in the 1980s invented the hyphenated terms “history-social studies” and “history-social science” to draw a line between the historical egg and the omelet. One can imagine the result were this strange practice extended to the other school subjects: “algebra-math,” “physics-science,” etc. In contrast to social studies as a federation of the several social sciences, there stands another meaning that is less attached to disciplinary purity than to the development of students as enlightened and engaged democratic citizens. This approach is sometimes called “social education.”5 It defines social studies as “the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence.”6 Not the study of the social sciences for their own sakes, note, but for a civic purpose. Its aim, we could say, is enlightened political engagement. Its strategy is to combat idiocy—by which the ancient Greeks meant selfishness and inattention to public issues—and to nurture civic intelligence. This is a goal rooted in communitarian or republican political thought, from Aristotle to Rousseau and Hannah Arendt. Its thesis is that neither humans nor their communities mature properly until individuals meet the challenge of puberty, which to the Greeks meant becoming public persons. These are people who see freedom and community not as opposites but as interdependent. They fight for others’ rights as well as their own. Idiots are idiotic precisely because they are ignorant of or indifferent to the conditions and contexts of their own freedom. For this reason, they are a threat not only to themselves but to the community.7 The two models, social science and social education, overlap, but it appears that the first predominates in the secondary school in eC21 while the second

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has somewhat more influence in the primary school. In the latter, however, social studies of any sort has been pushed in some locales to the margins of the curriculum due to the testing-and-accountability frenzy that has gripped the school system since the 1990s. This squeezing of social studies, it must be noted, has had a “disproportionate impact on the most disadvantaged students.”8 Do these alternatives matter? On at least one level they do not. What matters more is that on the lived, everyday ground of educational practice what teachers do behind classroom doors largely determines what curriculum students actually receive and the sense they make of it. This is not to say teachers work in a vacuum; they don’t. They are subject to national and local policies, the expectations of the communities in which their schools are embedded, the myriad social forces that bear down on schools, and the substance, strength, and style of building leadership. Despite these, teachers do have agency: what they do matters as does what they know. But no matter which of the two models is enacted, social studies is likely to be boring to many students, especially in secondary schools; to be superficial rather than penetrating, and to feel irrelevant to many of them. Whatever the approach, coverage of an incomprehensibly broad mass of subject matter alongside classroom control of more-or-less bored and potentially misbehaving students are two tacit purposes that continue to haunt the field to its bones. Who Decides the Curriculum? Public schools are technologies for creating persons of particular kinds. Nations everywhere have used schools for this purpose—to form subjects and citizens with particular identities, imaginations, and abilities in relation to the government, ethnic groups, civil society, church, market, family, and strangers. Schools are not asked simply to instill knowledge and skills but to “make up people.”9 Political scientists know this people-making process as political socialization—the largely unconscious activity of reproducing people who embody the dominant social norms, customs, beliefs, and institutions. Educators, political leaders, and parents, however, are concerned to intervene in history and to intentionally shape society’s future; they are concerned with conscious social production. Their currency is not description and explanation, as with political scientists, but planning and prescription—renewal, improvement, transformation. They don’t only observe schooling; they create it. In doing so they specify not only what students will learn but what sorts of people they will become: responsible, knowledgeable, loyal, compliant, critical, religious, secular, competitive, collaborative, law-abiding, caring, and so forth. The list is long. It is often contradictory and always contentious.10 For this reason, public schools have been “ground zero” in the culture wars. “The struggles for the control of the schools,” Walter Lippmann wrote in 1928,

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• Walter C. Parker are among the bitterest political struggles which now divide the nations. . . . Wherever two or more groups within a state differ in religion, or in language and in nationality, the immediate concern of each group is to use the schools to preserve its own faith and tradition. For it is in the school that the child is drawn towards or drawn away from the religion and the patriotism of its parents.11

Witness the epic battles over the desegregation of schools, the teaching of creationism, and the multiple ways of telling America’s story, from Columbus’s expedition to the war in Iraq.12 Richard Rothstein explains that, because our political economy is a free-market democracy, “schools are, by far, the largest public activity in which we engage. . . . At the local level, schools are virtually the only institution about which we can fight in the public arena.”13 At the core of many controversies in social studies education is disagreement about the fundamental relationship between education and society: should schools cater to the status quo or transform it? This is an enormously important question and the subject of the chapter that follows this introduction. Suffice it to say at this point that there are roughly three responses to this question, and they fall on the political left, right, and center. On both the right and left are rather clear visions of society, and schools are “technologies” (in the sense used earlier) for realizing them. On the right, students are to be taught to succeed in and serve the current social order. On the left, students are to be taught to change it in order to create a more just and vibrant democracy, one that would include the economy rather than leaving it in the hands of the market. In the center is the Deweyan position: Students should be helped to build knowledge through, as Dewey put it, “intelligent study of historical and existing forces and conditions,”14 but also taught to use their minds well—to think critically and engage in higher order reasoning, to value and use scientific inquiry. But they are not to be told to what end they should use these competencies; that is, they are not to be indoctrinated but left free to use their minds as they see fit. It is up to them—well-educated democratic citizens, trained thinkers—to engage in the ongoing work of government of, by, and for the people. In addition to this fundamental issue, there are scads of more specific subject matter controversies. This is due to the simple fact that the social studies field contains an almost limitless body of potential subject matter, but limited instructional time dictates that very little of it can be taught. Indeed, every school has three social studies curricula: the explicit, the null, and the implicit.15 Consequently, many decisions are needed. Only a tiny sample of the vast universe of possible topics and skills is included in the explicit curriculum. This is the officially planned and publicized curriculum found in curriculum standards documents of states, school districts, and national organizations; it is found also in teachers’ lesson and unit plans, on classroom bulletin boards

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and websites, and in curriculum materials. What is not included in this subject matter is tossed, figuratively speaking, into the huge bin marked “null curriculum.” This is a giant absence, a foreclosure consisting of all the subject matter that is not included in the taught curriculum. Here are whole topics (e.g., the agricultural revolution), whole peoples (e.g., gays and lesbians in history), and whole courses (e.g., anthropology) but also the intellectual processes and values not cultivated. Whole subjects such as art, music, social studies, and even science were sometimes tossed into the null bin as the standards-and-accountability hysteria bore down on schools. Occupying the third dimension—the implicit or hidden curriculum—are the values, perspectives, and behaviors that are shaped not deliberately by the official curriculum but by the social interaction patterns of the school and its reward systems. Students quickly learn that, for example, they need to share the teacher’s attention with many other students, that compliance and attendance are crucial to success in school, that geography means knowing the names of places, that sexual harassment of female students and faculty is or isn’t sanctioned, that the school is racially tracked, and so forth. Who has the legitimate democratic authority to select the tiny sample of potential material that will get taught? We arrive at the “who decides?” question. Parents and educators are two of the key players in curricular decision making, of course, but so are citizens. (Because these are roles, not persons, they overlap.) Parents may claim they have a natural right to exclusive educational authority—natural because, first, the children in question are “their” children (the ownership assumption), and second because parents are naturally concerned to maximize the welfare of their children (the altruistic assumption). Both assumptions are specious, as both educators and citizens are quick to point out. Parents may have given birth to or adopted children, but that does not establish possession. Children could be and have been imagined to “belong” to the gods, the state, or the village, for example. The propensity of at least some families to teach racist, ethnocentric, sexist, and other values that contradict the democratic ideal, particularly the bedrock values of civic equality, popular sovereignty, tolerance, and freedom, undermines the second assumption, as does the frequency of child abuse and neglect. Neither professional educators nor democratic citizens are inclined, as parents sometimes may be, to claim exclusive educational authority, because that would be obviously undemocratic. Rather, both groups claim a seat at the deliberative table alongside parents where curricular policy is developed in a democratic society. Amy Gutmann has developed a comprehensive portrayal of this democratic role contention as part of her democratic theory of education.16 She concludes that collective moral argument and decision making (deliberation) among the various educational roles is the most democratically justifiable approach to the authority question. In brief, who should decide the

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curriculum by which the next generation of democrats shall be educated? All of us together, weighing the alternatives, listening and arguing. The Book’s Plan Each of the 23 central chapters was written at my invitation as editor of “Research and Practice,” a regular feature in the journal Social Education. In this role, I had the luxury of wondering about the social studies field, developing questions based on that curiosity, and then asking leading scholars to respond to those questions. Their responses were then published at the rate of one every few issues between 2001 and 2009. These authors not only knew a great deal about the literature on the topic (hence, the sometimes lengthy reference list at the end of a chapter), but also how to compose an essay that was rich but brief and accessible. Glancing at the Contents, you will see that there are five sections between the Introduction you are now reading and my concluding chapter at the end. These five parts correspond to the themes I now introduce. 1. Purpose Matters. Social studies has always been a battleground where curriculum controversies reflect the cultural and academic conflicts at play in society. Should the social studies curriculum aim to transmit the existing social order, preparing students to succeed within its norms and values, or should it aim to transform the status quo, helping students create a better society? If the latter, what sort of “better” is it? Should history, geography, or something else be the driving force in the social studies curriculum? Diverse purposes also insinuate themselves into daily instruction even more intimately: Why, for example, do so few history teachers engage students in historical inquiry? One hypothesis is that many teachers hold to a different purpose: coverage and control. 2. Perspective Matters. Social perspectives are not trivial in teaching and learning. African American students may interpret U.S. history lessons differently than do suburban White students. The popular “nation of immigrants” narrative is swallowed easily by some students while catching in the throats of others; Latino students in the southwest, for example, whose ancestors never migrated but experienced a change in government. Girls and boys may perceive social studies differently as have Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Native American students. A student’s location in the hierarchy of social status and power can serve as a strong filter of the teacher’s lessons and the contents of curriculum materials. Indeed, students’ social perspectives, stemming from the groups and locales they were thrown into at birth, are pivotal in teaching and learning. 3. Subject Matters. School subjects, like social studies, math, science, and language arts are constructs: they were built up at various points and places in time and are hotly debated and periodically remodeled. In eC21 we find the

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school subject called “social studies” and the various courses and themes within it again in a period of heightened activity, scrutiny, and renewal. Three examples: we are learning a great deal about how young people think about the past and how teachers can provide more powerful instruction; we are learning that there is a new consensus as to what are best practices in civic education but that students have strikingly unequal access to them; and we are learning more deeply about the variation with which a single topic, such as the Holocaust, is taught from one school and community to another. 4. Global Matters. Something called “global education” (and “international education”) is all the rage in eC21, making more difficult the task of separating the wheat from the chaff. Nations everywhere create schools to serve national purposes, and they are doing so even more intensely today as they struggle to strengthen their economic competitiveness amid globalization. As Kenneth Tye found, “throughout the world, schooling is still seen as a major force in the building of national loyalties.”17 Consequently, we are prudent to treat claims about “global” or “international” education with skepticism until proven otherwise. Social studies educators are well-positioned to teach a new generation to see and know the world differently, but to do this social studies educators must steer clear of the hype. 5. Puzzles. Four singular problems are presented. A clueless history teacher is conducting a recitation while students snooze, doodle, or pass notes. Nearly every time it portrays high schools, Hollywood seizes upon this image and the surprising absence of discussion in social studies classrooms. Students say they love discussions, and discussions can be profoundly educative; so, why the scarcity? Second, instruction is situated in highly variable school environments: “chilling climates,” for example, where teachers engage in self-censorship out of fear of community interest groups; and “drought-stricken” climates where pupils are said to be burdened by home and personal pathologies. Third, how should we think about the boundary between content and pedagogy; the borderland between curriculum and instruction? Are the two separate and separable or is their relationship more intimate? At issue are key subject matter questions like this one: Can students be educated for democracy in a nondemocratic classroom? Fourth, tolerance. Defined as the willingness to extend civil liberties to those whose views you find objectionable, it follows that you cannot demonstrate tolerance toward groups whose ideas you support or about which you don’t care. Can it be taught in schools? Or is it part of life-long learning, maturation, or simply good fortune? These are my themes, but there is no reason they need to be yours. A useful exercise for readers will be to create their own set of themes based on their own interpretations of the chapters.

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Social Studies at the Center Jailed after leading a nonviolent protest against racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. sat in his cell and drafted a letter that has become a fixture in the American literary and political canon. Probably no one can claim to be well-educated who hasn’t read it, not in the United States at least. Its keywords are two of the most difficult and dynamic in any language: justice and injustice. The tricky part of taking one’s place on the public stage, King wrote, is to square law with justice. He asked rhetorically, knowing that this is what he was being asked, “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” His reply: The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.18 It was an open message to the world, but King’s immediate audience was a group of white clergymen who had written a few days earlier that his activities in their segregated state were the “unwise and untimely” doings of an “outsider.” Sincerely and patiently in this letter, he tries to educate them. It is a respectful adult-to-adult letter, cleric-to-cleric, black-to-white. He tells them he is in Birmingham “because injustice is here” and because “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”19 Re-reading the Letter from Birmingham City Jail myself, and listening to classrooms of middle and high school students discuss it in seminars and literature circles, I am reminded of another educator, Thomas Jefferson, who two centuries before had warned that because “the people themselves” are democracy’s engine, “their minds must be improved to a certain degree.”20 In other words, democratic citizens don’t grow on trees or appear out of the blue; “the people” must be educated from idiocy to puberty and citizenship. King was trying to accomplish a piece of this work in his letter. But I wonder why these grown men needed his tutorial—why they hadn’t already learned it. This wasn’t two centuries ago, after all. I can’t presume I would have done any better at that time and place; however, in my judgment, this is why social studies is at the center, not the margins, of a good school curriculum and why it needs to begin early in the primary grades and continue, snowballing, straight through college. Notes 1. Herbert J. Walberg and Shiow-Ling Tsai, “Matthew Effects in education,” Educational Research Quarterly 20, no. 3 (1983): 359–373; also, Keith E. Stanovich, “Matthew Effects in reading,” Reading Research Quarterly 21 (1986): 360–407. 2. London: Fontana/Croom Helm (1976). And see the revision by Tony Bennett, Lawrence Grossberg, and Meaghan Morris, eds., New keywords: A revised vocabulary of culture and society (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005).

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3. For example, Edward Fenton, The New Social Studies (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1967). 4. For example, Arthur E. Bestor, Educational Wastelands: The retreat from learning in our public schools (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1953); also Diane Ravitch, “Tot sociology, or what happened to history in the grade schools,” American Scholar, 56, no. 3 (1987): 343–354. 5. Stephen J. Thornton, Teaching Social Studies That Matters (New York: Teachers College Press, 2005); also, Hazel W. Hertzberg, Social Studies Reform, 1880–1980 (Boulder, CO: Social Science Education Consortium, 1981). 6. National Council for the Social Studies, Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum standards for social studies (Washington, DC: National Council for the Social Studies, 1994): 3. 7. I develop the concepts “enlightened political engagement,” “idiocy,” “puberty,” and “citizenship” in the final chapter of this book and, in greater detail, in Walter C. Parker, Teaching Democracy: Unity and diversity in public life (New York: Teachers College Press, 2003). 8. Richard Rothstein and Rebecca Jacobsen, “The goals of education,” Phi Delta Kappan 88, no. 4 (2006): 264; also, Margit E. McGuire, “What happened to social studies? The disappearing curriculum,” Phi Delta Kappan, 88, no. 8 (2007): 620–624. 9. Ian Hacking, Historical Ontology (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002); also, Martin Packer and David Greco-Brooks, “School as a Site for the Production of Persons,” Journal of Constructivist Psychology 12, no. 2 (1999): 133–149. 10. See Amy Gutmann, Democratic Education, 2nd ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999); Jonathan Zimmerman, Whose America? Culture wars in the public schools (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002); and Herbert M. Kliebard, The Struggle for the American Curriculum, 1893–1958, 3rd ed. (New York: Falmer, 2004). 11. American Inquisitors (Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1928/1993): 22–23. 12. On desegregation, see Danielle S. Allen, Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004). On creationism, see Amy Binder, Contentious Curricula: Afrocentrism and creationism in American public schools (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002). On American history, see Gary B. Nash, Charlotte Crabtree, and Ross E. Dunn, History on Trial (New York: Vintage, 2000). 13. Richard Rothstein, Out of Balance: Our understanding of how schools affect society and how society affects schools (Chicago: Spencer Foundation, 2002). 14. John Dewey, “The crucial role of intelligence,” The Social Frontier 1, no. 5 (1935): 9. 15. Elliot W. Eisner, The Educational Imagination, 3rd ed. (Columbus, OH: Merrill/ Prentice Hall, 2002). 16. Gutmann, op. cit. 17. Kenneth A. Tye, “Global education as a worldwide movement,” Phi Delta Kappan, 85, no. 2 (2003): 165; also, Walter C. Parker, “ ‘International Education’—What’s in a name?” Phi Delta Kappan, 90, no. 2 (2008): 196–202. 18. “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” in Why We Can’t Wait (New York: Mentor, 1963): 82. 19. Ibid: 77. 20. Notes on the State of Virginia (New York: Norton, 1787/1954): 148.

I Purpose Matters

2

Social Studies and the Social Order

Transmission or Transformation? WILLIAM B. STANLEY*

Should social studies educators transmit or transform the social order? By “transform” I do not mean the common view that education should make society better (e.g., lead to scientific breakthroughs, eradicate disease, and increase productivity). Rather, I am referring to approaches to education that are critical of the dominant social order and motivated by a desire to ensure both political and economic democracy. This progressive or radical (depending on one’s point of view) view of education for social transformation crystallized in the 1920s and ’30s and remains a persistent school of thought. However, the impact of a focus on social transformation on educational policy and practice has been marginal. Given our cultural commitment in the United States to individualism and free market theory, the limited impact of education for social transformation should not be surprising. Schooling has functioned, in general, to transmit the dominant social order, preserving the status quo, and it would be more plausible to argue that the current economic and political systems would need to undergo radical change before fundamental change in education could take place. Still, the question remains: What should be the role of teachers, especially social studies teachers, with respect to the social order—transmission or transformation? The Quest for Democracy Debates over education reform take place within a powerful historical and cultural context. In the United States, schooling is generally understood as an integral component of a democratic society. To the extent we are a democratic society, one could argue that education for social transformation could be anti-democratic, a view held by many conservatives. From the left side of the political spectrum, however, the view is that our nation is not now (nor ever was) a fully democratic society. In addition to a history of ethnic, racial, and * William B. Stanley is Professor of Education at Monmouth University in New Jersey.

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• William B. Stanley

gender discrimination, the gap between the wealthy and lower classes continues to increase; meanwhile, a significant percent of Americans still live in poverty. Most people have little or no influence on corporate or government institutions and policy, which are largely controlled by dominant groups who support a system that serves their own interests. If one accepts this line of thinking, education for social transformation becomes a moral imperative in the service of democracy. But the either/or conception of education described above tends to oversimplify and distort. There is a more productive way of looking at this issue. Democratic societies have been rare throughout history, only expanding significantly over the last two centuries. Democratic thought and action (citizenship) must be learned, and schools are places where children receive formal training as citizens. Democracy is also a process or form of life rather than a fixed end in itself, and we should regard any democratic society as a work in progress.1 Thus, democratic society is something we are always trying simultaneously to maintain and reconstruct, and education is essential to this process. When one looks at the question of education for social transformation in the context of American history, three prevailing perspectives emerge. First, a strong form of education for social transformation was developed by George Counts in the 1930s and remains part of more recent work by various proponents of “critical pedagogy” and counter-socialization.2 A second, and frequently misunderstood, perspective is found in John Dewey’s curriculum theory, which rejected Counts’s core argument. The influence of Dewey’s pragmatic approach to education is also found in the work of more recent curriculum theorists such as Cleo Cherryholmes and Tony Whitson.3 A third view, opposed to education for social transformation, is found in the work of various conservative writers, most recently George Posner, a federal appellate judge, and social studies educator James Leming. Posner’s views have roots in the earlier work of Walter Lippmann, one of Dewey’s intellectual colleagues in the 1920s and ’30s. I will summarize briefly each of the three perspectives and then conclude with my thoughts on how this issue remains relevant to social studies education.4 George Counts’s Reconstructionist Challenge to Teachers In 1932, Counts called on teachers to “build a new social order.” It remains the most explicit argument for education for social transformation or what he called social “reconstruction.”5 Counts believed the Depression in the 1930s confirmed that America was in a state of crisis and required a new social order based upon democratic social justice and a fundamental redistribution of economic and political power. Since political and economic power was held largely by powerful elite groups, the realization of a truly democratic social order could not happen unless the capitalist economy of the United States was

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eliminated “or changed so radically in form and spirit that its identity will be completely lost.”6 The progressive education movement was in full swing at the time. While Counts acknowledged progressive education’s positive focus on the interests of the child, “progress” implied moving forward and this, he wrote, “can have little meaning in the absence of clearly defined purpose.”7 The progressive education movement’s failure to develop such a purpose, a theory of social welfare, “unless it be that of anarchy or extreme individualism,” was its core weakness.8 Progressive educators seemed incapable of responding to the great crises of the 1930s. Members largely of the middle class, progressives were too fond of their material possessions and tended to “follow the lead of the most powerful and respectable forces in society and at the same time find good reasons for doing so.”9 Progressive educators must free themselves from philosophic relativism and the undesirable influences of an upper middle class culture to permit the development of “a realistic and comprehensive theory of social welfare” and “a compelling and challenging vision of human destiny.”10 In addition, progressives must come to accept “that all education contains a large element of imposition, that in the very nature of the case this is inevitable, that the existence and evolution of society depend upon it, that it is consequently eminently desirable, and that the frank acceptance of this fact by the educator is a major professional obligation.”11 Counts’s curriculum for social transformation was designed to expose the antidemocratic limitations of individualism and free market economic theory, promote a strong form of participatory democracy, and create an economic system that reduces disparities of income, wealth, and power. Dewey’s Critique of Social Reconstructionism Dewey, like Counts, understood that education must have a social orientation. The question, Dewey wrote, “is not whether the schools shall or shall not influence the course of future social life, but in what direction they shall do so and how.”12 The way our schools actually “share in the building of the social order of the future depends on the particular social forces and movements with which they ally.”13 According to Dewey, education “must . . . assume an increasing responsibility for participation in projecting ideas of social change and taking part in their execution in order to be educative,” with particular attention to a more just, open, and democratic society.14 Consequently, teachers cannot escape the responsibility for assisting in the task of social change or maintenance. Considering such sentiments, it is not surprising that many scholars mistakenly have described Dewey as a social reconstructionist.15 Dewey did believe that the schools should assist in the reconstruction of society, but his view of this process differed significantly from Counts’s. Rather than indoctrinating

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students with a particular theory of social welfare, Dewey believed the schools should participate in the general intellectualization of society by inculcating a “method of intelligence.” This would provide students with the critical competence for reflective thought applied to the analysis of social problems.16 Education’s central aim is “to prepare individuals to take part intelligently in the management of conditions under which they will live, to bring them to an understanding of the forces which are moving, and to equip them with the intellectual and practical tools by which they can themselves enter into the direction of these forces.”17 Over time, students would acquire the knowledge and skills that would enable them “to take part in the great work of construction and organization that will have to be done, and to equip them with the attitudes and habits of action that will make their understanding and insight practically effective.”18 To grasp the difference between Counts’s and Dewey’s stands on our question, it is important to understand that Dewey was committed to an educational method, not to any specific social outcome as a result of employing that method. He explicitly rejected Counts’s position that the schools should indoctrinate students in order to promote a particular theory of social welfare. It was up to well-educated democratic citizens to clarify and determine preferred social ends. To attempt to use education to impose a particular social order would be to abandon the method of intelligence and replace it with indoctrination.19 However, while Dewey’s curriculum theory was not based on a particular theory of social welfare, it did emphasize the centrality of providing the conditions under which the method of intelligence could be applied, and critics exaggerate when they claim Dewey’s pragmatic theory had no political implications.20 Counts attacked Dewey’s educational approach for being neutral. But Dewey did not believe it was neutral, nor was it mechanical, aloof, or “purely intellectual.” The pragmatists’ application of modern advances in science and technology to improve society took place not through indoctrination but by the “intelligent study of historical and existing forces and conditions . . .” and this method “cannot fail . . . to support a new general social orientation.”21 In this sense, indoctrination was unnecessary, because the application of the method of intelligence would eventually reveal ways to improve the social order. Those supporting indoctrination rest their adherence to the theory, in part, upon the fact that there is a great deal of indoctrination now going on in the schools, especially with reference to narrow nationalism under the name of patriotism, and with reference to the dominant economic regime. These facts unfortunately are facts. But they do not prove that the right course is to seize upon the method of indoctrination and reverse its object.22

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Dewey did recommend that educators impose the pragmatic method of intelligence, but he did not see this recommendation as contradictory. “If the method we have recommended leads teachers and students to better conclusions than those which we have reached—as it surely will if widely and honestly adopted—so much the better.”23 In contrast, any attempt to inculcate a preconceived theory of social welfare would ultimately work to subvert the method of intelligence and was antithetical to education for democracy. The Conservative Critique of Education for Social Transformation The conservative critique of Counts’s reconstructionism and Dewey’s progressivism is rooted in three interrelated intellectual traditions: democratic realism, individualism, and free market theory. Democratic realism, which emerged in the early twentieth century, concluded that most voters behaved irrationally, were motivated by narrow self-interests, and lacked adequate knowledge and competence to participate in meaningful deliberation regarding public policy. The most influential democratic realist in the 1920s and ’30s was Walter Lippmann, a prominent journalist (and former socialist and progressive intellectual). Lippmann argued that industrialization and urbanization had transformed fundamentally the widespread network of small communities that had provided the context for democratic life throughout the first century of our national history. Loss of local community undermined the capacity of individuals to acquire directly the knowledge to determine their interests and make informed public policy decisions. The exponential expansion of social and scientific knowledge and the increasing complexity of modern society only worsened the masses’ inability to comprehend social issues.24 According to Lippmann, only an enlightened elite (disinterested experts), not the masses, could understand the social science knowledge required to make complex public policy decisions in the public interest. The average person had neither the time nor interest to acquire the knowledge necessary for participating in this way. In addition, the increasingly sophisticated use of mass media and propaganda by government and business had resulted in the “manufacture” of public opinion, thereby laying waste to the liberal democratic assumption that public consent arose from the collective actions of informed citizens. Lippmann’s critique of liberal democracy intensified over time, and he came to doubt even the capacity of elites themselves to acquire the knowledge adequate to resolve the increasingly complex policy problems.25 Dewey was impressed by Lippmann’s analysis of social and political conditions in the 1920s, but he rejected his antidemocratic recommendations.26 Regrettably, Dewey never adequately addressed the devastating criticisms Lippmann raised regarding the core assumptions of liberal democracy.27 More recently, Richard Posner (while never citing Lippmann) reintroduced democratic realism in the context of America’s postindustrial society.28 Posner

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makes a case for the current U.S. political system, which he describes as functioning much like a free market economy. Like Lippmann, Posner considers modern society far too complex for the mass of humanity to understand in any depth. Even elite technocratic groups never have a full understanding of social issues. Nevertheless, the current American political system does provide a workable structure wherein highly complex technical information is sorted out and politicians sell their candidacy to voters much as entrepreneurs sell products or services. The masses’ key role is voting in free elections. These elections build public confidence, legitimate public policy, and ensure that politicians compete for public support. While the average person is unlikely to have the competence to make complex policy decisions, he or she is qualified to determine, over time, if elected officials are acting in the public interest. That’s not a strong democracy, but it is, realistically, all that we can manage. Following the logic of Posner’s argument, education for either Counts’s social reconstruction or Dewey’s method of intelligence would be a bad idea. The former requires citizens to attain an unattainable level of knowledge (the correct theory of social welfare), and the latter aims for an illusory and unworkable conception of participatory democracy. Posner considers Dewey’s conception of deliberative democracy as a quixotic and even counterproductive approach to governing modern societies. Instead, schools should help students understand how our current democracy actually works, how it might be improved, and why it is the preferred political system. In a related development, social studies educator James Leming recently made a case for abandoning what he sees as a progressive emphasis on citizenship education for critical analysis of social problems and social transformation.29 Leming has tried to demonstrate that the progressive view of education is antidemocratic because it is substantially at odds with the majority of social studies educators and the general public. Rather like Lippmann and Posner, Leming also contends that critical analysis of social problems is beyond the cognitive capacity of the vast majority of K-12 students. Knowledge of history and the social sciences should be the bedrock of social studies education, he believes. Like E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Leming sees the acquisition of basic core knowledge (“cultural literacy”) as fundamental to any successful education program.30 He does not rule out a limited focus on critical thinking, but social educators need to avoid asking students to engage in thinking activities “beyond their abilities. . . .”31 In his view, most progressive approaches to education are actually thinly disguised liberal or Left political agendas for radical social transformation. Conclusion Dare social studies educators try to build a new social order? I have presented three perspectives on this question, and the debates over the answer continue today.

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Counts was right to claim that education couldn’t be neutral. Every teacher, whether consciously or not, is working in some relation to the dominant social order. Furthermore, the arguments in favor of education for social transformation continue to direct our attention to persistent social problems (e.g., poverty, discrimination, inequality, and the concentration of power in the hands of dominant groups). As Dewey made clear, however, Counts advocated an approach to education based on indoctrination, an approach inherently antithetical to democratic education. In contrast, the conservative position offers a strong case against both education for social transformation and Dewey’s progressive approach to citizenship education. Lippmann, Posner, and others offer a cogent critique of Dewey’s vision of participatory democracy, and recent research on public opinion and participation in elections continues to support democratic realism’s claims.32 Still, the failure to implement participatory democracy is not equivalent to a compelling argument to abandon the project. Our nation is rooted in the belief that participatory democracy is possible. Like many other ideals, participatory democracy might remain more a social orientation than a description of practice. Nevertheless, to abandon the ideal might itself work to block the growth and eventual implementation of democratic institutions and practice. Dewey’s approach to social education remains a helpful middle course. While Dewey was never able to counter adequately the democratic realist arguments, he did justify our continued faith in participatory democracy, the method of intelligence, and the need to reject indoctrination. To do otherwise is to claim we know for certain the limits of human potential, a view antithetical to democratic culture. I have presented one possible interpretation of the “transmission or transformation” question. Of course, others might draw different conclusions. I hope to have demonstrated why the issue is important and to have provided social educators today with three historic positions on it. Perhaps this will be helpful to them as they develop their own responses. Notes 1. Walter C. Parker, Teaching Democracy: Unity and Diversity in Public Life (New York: Teachers College Press, 2003). 2. Henry A. Giroux, Schooling and the Struggle for Public Life: Critical Pedagogy in the Modern Age (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1988), and Teachers as Intellectuals: Toward a Critical Pedagogy of Learning, rev. ed. (South Hadley, MA: Bergin & Garvey, 1988). Shirley H. Engle and Anna S. Ochoa, Education for Democratic Citizenship: Decision Making in the Social Studies (New York: Teachers College Press, 1988). 3. Cleo H. Cherryholmes, Reading Pragmatism (New York: Teachers College Press, 1999). James Anthony Whitson, Constitution and Curriculum (London: Falmer, 1991). William B. Stanley, Curriculum for Utopia: Social Reconstructionism and

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4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

15.

16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29.

30. 31. 32.

Critical Pedagogy in the Postmodern Era (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1992). The three positions are simplifications for purposes of illustrating three fundamentally different responses to the transmission-transformation question. George S. Counts, Dare the School Build a New Social Order? (New York: John Day, 1932), 48. Ibid., 47. Ibid., 6. Ibid., 7. Ibid., 8. Ibid., 9. Ibid., 12. John Dewey, “Education and Social Change,” The Social Frontier 3, no. 26 (1937): 236. Dewey, “Can Education Share in the Social Reconstruction,” The Social Frontier 1, no. 1 (1934): 11. Dewey and John L. Childs, “The Social-Economic Situation and Education,” in Educational Frontier, edited by William H. Kilpatrick (New York: D. AppletonCentury, 1933), 318–319. See Giroux, Schooling and the Struggle for Public Life and Teachers as Intellectuals; also Ronald W. Evans, The Social Studies Wars: What Should We Teach the Children (New York: Teachers College Press, 2004). Dewey, “The Need for Orientation,” Forum 93, no. 6 (1935): 334. Dewey and Childs, “The Social-Economic Situation and Education,” 71. Dewey, “Education and Social Change,” 236. Dewey “Education and Social Change.” See Richard Posner, Law, Pragmatism, and Democracy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003); and John Patrick Diggins, The Promise of Pragmatism: Modernism and the Crisis of Knowledge and Authority (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), 8. Dewey, “The Crucial Role of Intelligence.” The Social Frontier 1, no. 5 (1935): 9. Dewey, “Education and Social Change,” 238. Dewey and Childs, “The Socio-Economic Situation in Education,” 72. Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1922). Lippmann, The Phantom Public (New York: Macmillan, 1925). Dewey, The Public and Its Problems (Chicago: Swallow, 1927). Robert Westbrook, John Dewey and American Democracy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991), 300–318. Posner, Law, Pragmatism, and Democracy. James S. Leming, L. Ellington, and K. Porter, eds., Where Did the Social Studies Go Wrong? (Dayton, Ohio: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, 2003). Leming, “Correct, But Not Politically Correct? A Response to Parker,” Theory and Research in Social Education 20, no. 4 (1992): 500–506. E. D. Hirsch, Jr., Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know (New York: Vintage, 1987). Leming, Ellington, and Porter, eds., Where Did the Social Studies Go Wrong?, 134. Louis Menand, “The Unpolitical Animal,” The New Yorker, September 20, 2004.

3

The Social Studies Wars, Now and Then RONALD W. EVANS*

In his foreword to Where Did Social Studies Go Wrong?, published in 2003, Chester Finn blames the “deterioration of social studies in U.S. schools” on the “lunatics” who have “taken over the asylum,” and who are imparting “ridiculously little knowledge” to students. He lauds the volume’s intent to explain “where and how and why social studies went awry.”1 The book has sparked a controversy over the current state of the social studies curriculum. But is controversy over social studies new, and does it matter to those engaged in the day-to-day work of teaching in this subject area? My aims in this article are, first, to capture the main camps and patterns of the “social studies wars” since the beginning of the twentieth century and, second, to describe critical episodes from that long history that will help put the contemporary controversies in historical perspective. I’ll conclude by drawing three “lessons” that social studies teachers today might consider from this history of curriculum disagreement in social studies. Pendulum swings are a regular feature of the curriculum landscape, and the primary pattern has been this: toward traditional and discipline-based curricula during conservative times; toward experimentation, child-centered and inquiry or issues-oriented curricula during liberal times. If you don’t like the current direction of curricular reform, take heart, it may not last. Despite ever-changing curricular fashions and trends, a set of competing interest groups is a relatively constant feature of the social studies arena. There are five major competing camps, as I described in a recent book, The Social Studies Wars, struggling at different times either to retain control of social studies or to influence its direction.2 The first, traditional historians, supports history as the core of social studies and emphasizes content acquisition, chronology, and the textbook as the backbone of the course. This camp defined its approach in the 1890s and has experienced a revival in recent years. A second * Ronald W. Evans is Professor, School of Teacher Education, at San Diego State University.

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camp advocates social studies as social science and includes those who want a larger place for teaching of the social science disciplines in schools and those who support a structure-of-the-disciplines approach, which was at the heart of the 1960s new social studies movement. A third group, social efficiency educators, hopes to create a smoothly controlled and more efficient society by applying standardized techniques from business and industry to schooling. Most often, they have envisioned a scientifically constructed, more directly functional curriculum aimed at preparing students for various life roles. A fourth group is composed of social meliorists. These are Deweyan experimentalists who want to develop students’ reflective thinking ability and, thereby, contribute to social improvement. These theorists advocate a reflective or issues-centered curriculum and often emphasize curricular attention to social problems. A fifth and related group is composed of social reconstructionists or critical pedagogues, who cast social studies in schools in a leading role in the transformation of American society. Other camps may be identified as well, and other curriculum historians may provide a different breakdown. Herbert Kliebard, in a classic work, Struggle for the American Curriculum, described four main interest groups: humanists, developmentalists, social efficiency educators, and social meliorists.3 Hazel Hertzberg, in Social Studies Reform, discussed two main camps in social studies: federationists, who favor distinct disciplines, and unitarians, who favor curriculum integration.4 Regardless of how the interest groups are described, their rank and influence on schooling changes slowly over time. One is dominant, then recedes, as another comes to prominence. None disappears, but rather remains present with a lower profile. It is as if they are parallel streams; while one is flooded, another may be parched, nearly dry. Each of the streams has a history of advocates and defenders, of innovators and pretenders. Teachers can learn a great deal about their own affinities, and deepen their curricular identity, by examining the various strands in some depth. Frequently, the social studies curriculum and textbooks have served as a lightning rod, attracting comment and criticism regarding the nature of the field and the purposes of schooling, and reflecting competing visions of the worthy society, as if the curriculum was a screen on which critics of various stripes project their vision of a preferred future. Moreover, the social studies wars reflect the nation’s cultural divide, manifest in the 2004 presidential election: red states versus blue states; democrats versus republicans; conservatives and cultural fundamentalists versus liberals and moderates. These are deep fractures, a reflection of long-term trends, and are not easily healed. Critical Episodes Since the inception of social studies in the early twentieth century, a number of critics have assailed the field for alleged sins against history, one or more of the social sciences, or mainstream values and the American way of life. Here I’ll

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feature six critical episodes beginning with reactions to the 1916 Report on Social Studies and concluding with the 1980s’ revival of history. Reactions to the Report on Social Studies The first episode to be considered is the early period of reactions to and criticisms of the 1916 Report of the Committee on Social Studies of the National Education Association’s Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education. This report called for a broad, interdisciplinary, and modern approach to social studies.5 And it called for a 12th-grade capstone course, Problems of Democracy (POD), which focused on social issues and fused government, economics, and sociology. Reactions from professional associations in the 1920s were mixed. The report received partial support from several disciplinary associations; however, the majority disagreed with curricular fusion and the creation of the POD course. Critics called instead for a strong grounding in the social science disciplines through separate courses in sociology, political science, and economics. Only the National Association of Secondary School Principals gave a strong endorsement to the report.6 Criticism abounded during the 1920s, coming from advocates of traditional history and the social sciences. Anna Stewart accused the 1916 report of “many inconsistencies,” and wrote disparagingly of the trends it had set in motion, like the move “to damn history in order to boost civics.”7 Ross L. Finney, a sociologist, criticized the new POD course, arguing for a general social science rooted in the disciplines and weighing in against “the mere forensic exchange of ignorant opinion” that would occur in a course focused on “problems.”8 Much of the criticism centered on POD’s failure to advance “scientific study.” But there was also criticism of the idea of “social studies,” mostly from advocates of traditional history. Henry Johnson, for example, lamented the idea of “history controlled by present interests and problems.”9 Because of these differences among the competing approaches, by the late 1920s the field’s status was described by one observer as “Chaos in the Senior High Social Studies.”10 Despite these controversies, the broad and modern approach to social studies, championed by the Report on Social Studies, became modal practice for much of the twentieth century, and POD became a common offering until its virtual disappearance from schools in the 1970s, superceded by a new wave of reform. The Rugg Textbook Controversy During the 1930s and early 1940s, controversy and criticism centered on social reconstructionism as embodied in Harold Rugg’s avant-garde series of social studies textbooks. Social reconstructionists believed that social change could be directed by schools and wanted teachers and the curriculum to play a strong role in the social transformation of American society, spearheading an effort to overcome social injustice and the failures of capitalism. The Rugg textbooks melded materials from history and the social sciences

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into an issues-oriented, unified-field approach to social studies. Virtually every topic was introduced through a social issue or problem connected to students’ lives, and the series drew on recent scholarship from the “new” progressive historians and other “frontier thinkers.” The writing was lively and engaging, and the series was thoroughly illustrated and filled with interesting charts and graphs. It became the best-selling social studies series of its time. For the ten-year period from 1929 to 1939, the series sold 1,317,960 copies at approximately $2 each, and more than 2,687,000 workbooks.11 Despite his professed aim of balance, Rugg’s materials contained significant amounts of social criticism and raised serious questions about the traditional role of government in matters such as regulation of business, providing for social welfare, and treatment of the unemployed. The texts also critiqued advertising as wasteful and portrayed the framers of the Constitution as men of wealth interested in protecting their own interests. Consequently, critics viewed the Rugg materials as “against private enterprise,” as a “subtle, sugar-coated effort to convert youth to Communism,” as part of a “reconstructed” educational system geared to teaching that “our economic and political institutions are decadent.” Later critics accused the Rugg books and others of being “un-American.”12 Attacks on the Rugg textbook series were at first centered in the New York City metropolitan area, and were orchestrated by an interlocking directorate of critics, including Amos Fries, E. H. West, and Augustin G. Rudd of the American Legion; Bertie C. Forbes, publisher of Forbes magazine; Alfred T. Falk of the Advertising Federation of America; and Merwin K. Hart of the New York State Economic Council, among others. The controversy intensified in 1939–1940 with a series of critical articles in nationally circulated magazines including Nation’s Business and the American Legion Magazine. The stakes were raised considerably on December 11, 1940, when the National Association of Manufacturers announced its “survey” of textbooks to see if it could find evidence of subversive teaching. Then, on February 22, 1941, a headline at the top of the front page of The New York Times read: “Un-American Tone Seen in Textbooks on Social Sciences: Survey of 600 Used in Schools Finds a Distorted Emphasis on Defects of Democracy, Only a Few Called Red.” Rugg’s textbooks were featured prominently in the story.13 Rugg and many of his colleagues at Columbia University and elsewhere organized a defense, and Rugg engaged his critics directly, often in person.14 Despite the protests, corrections, and replies that followed, the damage had been done. The controversy generated a national media feeding frenzy and left the lingering impression that social studies was some sort of radical plot. The Controversy over American History A third controversy occurred in the 1940s. At its center were charges from a respected historian, Allan Nevins, that U.S. history was no longer sufficiently

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taught in the nation’s schools. Nevins wrote in The New York Times Magazine that “requirements in American history and government” are “deplorably haphazard, chaotic, and ineffective,” and he cited uneven laws requiring American history in schools (22 states had no law). He argued that this “neglect” undermined the “patriotism and unity of the country” needed in a time of war.15 The article led to a New York Times survey of college level history teaching and a New York Times test on American history that was then given to 7,000 college freshmen at 36 institutions across the nation to collect evidence on their lack of knowledge in the subject. Nevins’s own experience with his daughter’s schooling, “without any American history whatever,” apparently lay behind his concerns. Once again, the bogey was social studies. Hugh Russell Fraser, who joined what came to be referred to as The New York Times crusade against social studies, blamed “extremists from NCSS and its twin brother, Teachers College,” for the decline in the teaching of history.16 These charges led to a spirited and heroic defense of social studies from Edgar B. Wesley, Wilbur Murra, Erling M. Hunt, and others who provided evidence that U.S. history was a “universal requirement” in the nation’s schools. Despite the overwhelming evidence supporting social studies—and disproving the claims made by Nevins—many of the charges stuck, again undermining social studies in the public mind. The controversy over American history combined with the turmoil over the Rugg textbooks to serve as a major turning point, transforming a turf battle among competing camps into a war on social studies. The Cold War Years In the late 1940s and early 1950s, a growing crescendo of criticisms aimed at “progressive education” emerged—with many of the most negative observations focused on social studies—packaged and marketed under colorful titles such as Educational Wastelands, Quackery in the Public Schools, Progressive Education is REDucation, and Who Owns Your Child’s Mind?17 Arthur Bestor, a historian and one of the most respected critics, called social studies an antiintellectual “social stew.”18 The authors critiqued the “scrambling” of history, geography, and government into the social studies; they bemoaned the “antiintellectualism” of educators who they derisively called “educationists”; and they frequently linked progressive education to Communism. Educators responded with articles and books countering the charges— though it was a relatively muted response, reflecting the times. In 1955, the Progressive Education Association went out of business. And in 1957, the journal Progressive Education ceased publication. By the late 1950s, the National Council for the Social Studies had largely caved in to the critics and followed their recommendations for a social studies curriculum built around the disciplines. The 1950s critiques were the culmination of a trend begun much earlier, and amounted to the villainization of social studies as a kind of national sport.

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Aftermath of the New Social Studies Another round of criticism occurred in the aftermath of another period of innovation, the era of the “new” and “newer” social studies during the 1960s and 1970s. The “new” social studies focused primarily on inquiry and the “structure” of the disciplines, with the notable exception of the public issues model developed by Donald Oliver and associates. According to Jerome Bruner and other theorists, each discipline had a structure, including key concepts and forms of inquiry, that could serve as the basis for an inquiry approach to teaching and learning. Students would become “little league” historians and social scientists, emulating the scholar’s approach to knowledge. A prime example was the work of Edwin Fenton, who developed an approach to teaching history through historical “problems” using primary source documents.19 The newer social studies, which followed on the heels of the new social studies, embodied a flurry of interest in teaching social issues and the subsequent mini-course explosion. This was a time during which traditional social studies courses were frequently broken into short courses with a topical, thematic, or issues focus (e.g., the Civil War, the Presidency, Minorities in American History, Revolutionary Movements, or Human Sexuality). These movements spawned a number of disagreements, among them academic freedom cases involving teachers Keith Sterzing and Frances Ahern, in which teaching innovations were literally put on trial. Book and textbook controversies occurred in Kanawha County, West Virginia, and in the state of Georgia, the latter involving the Fenton textbook series. But the most famous controversy of the period centered on Man: A Course of Study (MACOS), a project of the new social studies era initially led by Bruner. MACOS drew on anthropological sources, and focused inquiry on the question “What is human about human beings?” It was described by Congressman John B. Conlan as a “dangerous assault on cherished values and attitudes,” because of its “approving” depiction of “killing the elderly and female infants, wife-swapping and trial marriage, communal living, witchcraft and the occult, [and] cannibalism.”20 In defense of social studies, NCSS issued statements on academic freedom, and organized the NCSS Legal Defense Fund. The Wingspread Conference, organized by NCSS in 1976 in response to the MACOS controversy, focused on understanding and overcoming the criticisms, but had little impact. Aside from MACOS, these academic freedom cases appear largely forgotten. The overall pattern seemed a replay–boom and bust, innovation followed by criticism and reaction. These incidents again contributed to the impression that social studies was influenced by radicals with an un-American bent. They combined with the “failure” of the “new” and “newer” social studies to leave the field, for a time, without any clear direction.

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The Revival of History Into the void left by the failure of the new and newer social studies stepped the revival of history in the 1980s. Historian and former assistant secretary of education Diane Ravitch made social studies a scapegoat for the “decline and fall of history teaching,” portraying it as a vacuous form of “tot sociology.”21 Ravitch and other critics charged that social studies was poorly defined and directed by fashion. This was largely a revival of the disparaging commentary on social studies from the 1950s and earlier. In essence, the revival of history represented the citizenship education wing of a much larger conservative restoration in schools and society. The movement gathered steam with formation of the Bradley Commission and received substantial funding from the conservative Bradley Foundation. Despite several criticisms of the revival of history from social studies scholars, the response from NCSS leaders was to create a new consensus definition for social studies and to lend support to the standards movement via creation of NCSS standards.22 The new definition developed by NCSS offered social studies as an umbrella for the teaching of history and the social sciences, and further weakened support for alternative approaches. The net result was an increase in course-taking in history and the social sciences, notably in world history and geography, and a decline in elective social studies offerings. Recent years have witnessed the increasing pressure of money on the social studies wars through the well-heeled influence of conservative foundations and interest groups. Wedded to the corporate, business-driven agenda for schools, they have emphasized traditional history, geography, and civics; promoted curriculum standards and high-stakes testing; and sought to vacate the term “social studies” from curriculum governance.23 Lessons for Teachers What lessons might teachers take away from this long, colorful, and controversial past? As a curriculum historian, I use the term “lessons” advisedly. There are no hard and fast lessons. History is open to interpretation. But here are a few of my thoughts on what we who teach can gain from a study of the social studies past. One important lesson is that teachers have choices. Among the options are those offered by each of the camps in the social studies wars: traditional historians, who support history as the core of social studies; advocates of social studies as social science education; social efficiency educators, who hope to create a smooth-running and efficient society; social meliorists, who want to develop reflective thinking and contribute to social improvement; and social reconstructionists, who want social studies in schools to play a leading role in the transformation of American society. For these choices to matter, teachers need to examine the alternatives and develop their rationales and teaching practices thoroughly.

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An important corollary to the first lesson is that freedom is powerful, and fleeting. Academic freedom is essential for democracy to flourish, and for teachers to enact thoughtful visions to guide their work. Teachers need to defend the integrity of the field and the rights of teachers and curriculum workers to make educated choices from among the alternatives. The freedom of the child to learn, and of the teacher to make well-informed curricular decisions within broad parameters, is the essence of professional practice in education. A third lesson is that, in the social studies wars, the traditional disciplinebased approaches seem to have staying power.24 This may be due to the fact that the disciplines have a large number of ready advocates in colleges and universities across the nation, along with their allies in the teaching field. It is also a reflection of the fact that social studies educators and scholars often get little respect outside schools of education. Nonetheless, it is important to note that a number of scholars have elaborated well-grounded and persuasive arguments for alternatives to a strict disciplinary approach as the defining framework for the field, and that these have a strong, if small, following. As we have seen, in the 1920s Rugg developed a unified-field approach to social studies, framing and melding the study of history and the social sciences in a manner that would illuminate perennial issues. In Rugg’s words, “To keep issues out of school curriculum is to keep meaning out, to keep life out!”25 During the 1950s, Oliver criticized the traditional discipline-based approaches on the grounds that they often failed to take into account the “ferment and conflict over competing ideas and values” in American society. Later, with James Shaver, he developed an approach to social studies centered on the study of “existing and predicted conflicts” in our society.26 In addition, a number of other scholars have addressed the costs of strict adherence to the traditional disciplines as the basis for social studies in schools.27 Far from being simply an academic matter, controversy over the teaching of social studies in schools represents a tangible forum through which Americans have struggled over competing visions of the good society and the desirable future. At its heart, this is a struggle over both the nature of social studies and the kind of society in which we want to live. Notes 1. Chester Finn, “Foreword,” in Where Did Social Studies Go Wrong?, eds. James Leming, Lucien Ellington, and Kathleen Porter (Washington, D.C.: Fordham Foundation, 2003), i. 2. Ronald W. Evans, The Social Studies Wars: What Should We Teach the Children? (New York: Teachers College, 2004). 3. Herbert M. Kliebard, Struggle for the American Curriculum, 1893–1958 (London: Routledge and Keegan Paul, 1986). 4. Hazel W. Hertzberg, Social Studies Reform, 1880–1980 (Boulder, Colo.: Social Science Education Consortium, 1981).

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5. United States Bureau of Education, The Social Studies in Secondary Education (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, Bulletin #28, 1916). 6. P.W.L. Cox, “Social Studies in the Secondary School Curriculum,” Sixth Yearbook, National Association of Secondary School Principals 6 (1922): 126–132. 7. Anna Stewart, “The Social Sciences in Secondary Schools,” Historical Outlook 12 (1921): 53. 8. Ross L. Finney, “Tentative Report of the Committee on the Teaching of Sociology in the Grade and High Schools of America,” The School Review 28 (1920): 255–262. 9. Henry Johnson, “Report of Committee on History and Education for Citizenship: Part II, History in the Grades,” Historical Outlook, 12 (1921): 93–95. 10. Edwin J. Dahl, “Chaos in the Senior High Social Studies,” The High School Teacher (1928): 185–188. 11. Elmer A. Winters, “Harold Rugg and Social Reconstructionism,” (Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1968). 12. Bertie C. Forbes, “Treacherous Teachings,” Forbes (August 15, 1939): 8; Alonzo F. Myers, “The Attacks on the Rugg Books,” Frontiers of Democracy 7 (1940): 17–21. 13. Benjamin Fine, “Un-American Tone Seen in Textbooks on Social Sciences.” The New York Times (February 22, 1941): 1, 6; Fine, The New York Times (December 11, 1940): 29. 14. Harold O. Rugg, That Men May Understand: An American in the Long Armistice (New York: Doubleday, Doran, 1941); Rugg, “Confidential Analysis of the Current (1939–1940) Attacks on the Rugg Social Science Series, Prepared by Harold Rugg in May-June 1940,” Harold Rugg folder, box 58, William F. Russell Papers, Milbank Memorial Library, Teachers College, Columbia University. 15. Allan Nevins, “American History for Americans,” The New York Times Magazine (May 3, 1942): 6, 28. 16. Fine, “U.S. History Study is Not Required in 82 percent of Colleges,” The New York Times (June 21, 1942): 1, 36; Fine, “Ignorance of U.S. History Shown by College Freshmen,” The New York Times (April 4, 1943): 1, 32–33; “Fraser Quits Post in History Dispute,” The New York Times (April 11, 1943): 30. 17. Arthur E. Bestor, Educational Wastelands: The Retreat From Learning in Our Public Schools (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1953); Albert Lynd, Quackery in the Public Schools (Boston: Little, Brown, 1953); Kitty Jones and Robert Olivier, Progressive Education is REDucation (Boston: Meador, 1956); John T. Flynn, “Who Owns Your Child’s Mind?” The Reader’s Digest (October, 1951): 23–28. 18. Bestor, Educational Wastelands. 19. Edwin P. Fenton, The New Social Studies (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1967); Jerome Bruner, The Process of Education (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1960); Donald W. Oliver, “The Selection of Content in the Social Sciences,” Harvard Education Review 27 (1957): 271–300. 20. John B. Conlan, “MACOS: The Push for a Uniform National Curriculum,” Social Education 39, no.6 (1975): 388–392. 21. Diane Ravitch, “Decline and Fall of History Teaching,” The New York Times Magazine (November 17, 1985): 50–53, 101, 117. 22. National Council for the Social Studies, Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (Washington, D.C.: National Council for the Social Studies, 1994). 23. Leming et. al., Where Did Social Studies Go Wrong?; Steven Selden, “Fifty Years of Sponsored Neo-Conservative Challenges to the Undergraduate Course of Study: Linking Capital, Culture, and the Undergraduate Curriculum,” (Paper presented

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24. 25. 26.

27.

at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, Calif., 2004); Vincent Stehle. “Righting Philanthropy,” The Nation (June 30, 1997): 15–20. This is somewhat less true for the structure-of-the-disciplines approach. Rugg, That Men May Understand: An American in the Long Armistice, xi–xii. Donald W. Oliver, “The Selection of Content in the Social Sciences,” Harvard Education Review 27 (1957): 271–300; Donald W. Oliver and James P. Shaver, Teaching Public Issues in the High School (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966). Shirley H. Engle and Anna S. Ochoa, Education for Democratic Citizenship: Decision Making in the Social Studies (New York: Teachers College, 1988); Maurice P. Hunt and Lawrence E. Metcalf, Teaching High School Social Studies: Problems in Reflective Thinking and Social Understanding (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1955 and 1968); Henry Giroux, Border Crossings: Cultural Workers and the Politics of Education (New York: Routledge, 1992).

4

Why Don’t More History Teachers Engage Students in Interpretation? KEITH C. BARTON AND LINDA S. LEVSTIK*

Over the past fifteen years, a great deal of attention has been devoted to the reform of history teaching. Although advocates of reform come from a variety of backgrounds, most share a belief that students’ encounters with history should center on the process of historical interpretation. From this perspective, there is little point in simply transmitting a story of the past to students in hopes they will remember and repeat it. Instead, students should learn how such stories are developed in the first place: They should be involved in historical investigations, they should analyze and interpret primary sources, and they should understand the relationship between historical evidence and the construction of accounts—both their own and those of others. This process necessarily involves consideration of multiple perspectives, not only so that students understand how the same evidence can lead to divergent interpretations, but also so they recognize that people in the past held different outlooks than we do today and may have perceived events differently than we do.1 Many history teachers adhere closely to this vision: Their students develop questions about the past, consult a variety of primary and secondary sources to answer those questions, compare perspectives, and share conclusions through discussion, debate, presentations, artwork, and essays. One need only read works such as James Percoco’s A Passion for the Past: Creative Teaching of U.S. History and Divided We Stand: Teaching about Conflict in U.S. History, or David Kobrin’s Beyond the Textbook: Teaching History Using Documents and Primary Sources to see stimulating examples of this approach in secondary classrooms. At the elementary and middle school levels, we have portrayed students and teachers engaged in interpretive, evidence-based inquiry in our own Doing History: Investigating with Children in Elementary and Middle Schools.2 * Keith C. Barton is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at Indiana University. Linda S. Levstik is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Kentucky.

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But we also know that many experienced teachers remain unfazed by these concerns, and that many new teachers have no intention of giving their students the chance to analyze sources or develop interpretations. Instead, they require students to read textbook chapters, listen to lectures (which they often refer to as “discussion”), locate answers to questions at the end of chapters, and then repeat the information on tests or in essays. At times, these teachers may introduce more engaging or hands-on activities (videos, field trips, games), but they still do not focus on the key characteristics of history as advocated by reformers—investigation, interpretation, and perspective. A critical issue for those of us concerned with history education is why these differences exist: Why do some teachers engage students in historical investigations, while others expect them to reproduce a story of the past? It would be misleading to think that some teachers are simply “better” than others, or that they care more about their students. Many teachers in our second category are excellent lecturers, and many develop exciting games or activities to help students learn historical content. They may also care deeply about students and devote a great deal of time to helping them develop into mature and responsible adults. What we need to know is why some good, caring teachers follow one approach, and other good, caring teachers follow another. Conveying the Process of Historical Knowing The most widely accepted answer is that some teachers know more about teaching history; they have more pedagogical content knowledge, as it is usually called.3 This does not just mean that they know more about the past (more facts, dates, and sources) or that they are more familiar with effective teaching techniques (using wait time, advance organizers, and so on). Rather, it means that they have a deep and accurate understanding of how historical knowledge is constructed, and they know how to represent that process to students. That is, some teachers know that knowledge of the past depends on interpretation of evidence, that people disagree over such interpretations, and that history can be understood only by considering perspectives that differ from our own. Moreover, they know how to introduce students to these concepts: They know how to access primary sources for their classrooms, how to build on or challenge students’ prior knowledge, how to help them analyze bias, and so on. Other teachers don’t know these things: Either they don’t know where historical knowledge comes from or they don’t know how to bring the process into the classroom (or perhaps they know neither). The belief that differences in teaching stem from differences in knowledge is the foundation of most efforts at teacher education. Certification and licensure programs are designed to develop pedagogical content knowledge through courses in both history and education, and professional development programs often rely on the premise that teachers should be exposed to the work of historians and helped to develop corresponding classroom applications. This

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approach is perfectly logical and compelling. It makes sense to think that if teachers know what history is about, and can share that with students, that they will do so. Unfortunately, there is increasing evidence that this belief is incorrect. Numerous studies show that even when teachers understand the process of constructing historical knowledge, and even when they are familiar with relevant teaching methods, they do not necessarily incorporate these into instruction. One study, for example, investigated the classroom practices of an experienced secondary teacher who had just completed a doctorate in history. She possessed a deep understanding of the process of historical research, and she was familiar with recent trends in the profession, such as historians’ concern with “history from the bottom up”—meaning the daily experiences of people from a variety of backgrounds—rather than only with the actions of powerful elites. But despite this deep and current disciplinary knowledge, her instruction focused primarily on teaching students to reproduce a single, consensus-oriented account of the U.S. past, with little attention to diversity or everyday life. The kind of inquiry and interpretation she had engaged in as a doctoral student was almost completely missing in her classroom. Another study found that university students who had taken a course on historical methods developed complex ideas about the interpretive nature of history, but they nonetheless thought a good history teacher was one who told “good stories” and wrote lecture notes on the board.4 Moreover, teachers are just as unaffected by knowledge of educational principles as they are by knowledge of historical interpretation. A number of studies show that even when teachers have graduated from programs that stress active student learning, multiple viewpoints, and construction of knowledge, and even when they clearly understand and accept these principles, their instruction bears little relationship to such knowledge. One study, for example, followed a teacher who had graduated from a program that emphasized historical interpretation, inquiry, and the use of a variety of historical sources and perspectives. This teacher, who held an undergraduate degree in history, had been an outstanding student in the program, and her beliefs accorded well with the principles she had encountered at the university. Yet in the classroom, she did not encourage perspective-taking, interpretation, or open-ended historical thinking or inquiry; instead, her activities were heavily teacher-centered, she lectured frequently (recounting a single narrative of U.S. history), and students took notes from the outline of textbook chapters. In study after study, what teachers know has little impact on what they do. In fact, sometimes teachers are well aware of this mismatch; in one study of preservice teachers who had engaged in a document-based methods course, for example, participants made it clear that they were unlikely to use such approaches in the classroom.5 Why is this? If teachers know that history is interpretive and involves multiple perspectives, and if they know how to engage students in the process, why

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don’t they do so? Research suggests that it is because that kind of teaching would conflict with what they see as their two primary tasks: controlling students’ behavior and covering content. Many teachers devote a great deal of effort to making sure that classroom routines are orderly and predictable and that students are quiet and still; nothing strikes more fear into their hearts than the possibility that students would talk too much, move around too often, or pursue open-ended projects—precisely the kind of activities that would result from the process of historical inquiry and interpretation. Moreover, such tasks might conflict with the need to cover the prescribed curriculum, which is one of the most pervasive explanations teachers give for their instructional practices. Everything else—primary sources, multiple perspectives, student interpretation—is extra, and there is rarely time for extras. Learning how to construct historical accounts from evidence might be nice, but it will almost always take a back seat to coverage of textbook or curriculum content, because that is what many people think history teaching is all about, especially in an era of high-stakes testing.6 Almost always, but not always. Some teachers do things differently, as we all know, and research suggests that this is because they have different purposes. Some teachers appear to be motivated primarily by the need to fit in (with peers, administrators, and the wider community) and by the desire to implement instruction efficiently. Coverage and control are well-suited to those ends. But other teachers have purposes that cannot be served by those practices, and so they must teach differently. A teacher who wants her students to understand the emotional as well as the intellectual side of history, for example, will use simulations and role plays to get at feelings and reactions. Comparative case studies show that teachers with comparable levels of knowledge may teach in ways that are very different from each other, and these differences are consistent with their ideas about the ultimate goals of the subject. Moreover, teachers who have the most deeply felt and clearly articulated purposes are those most likely to resist conformity and to teach in ways consistent with their beliefs.7 This means that in order for teachers to present history as an investigative, interpretive undertaking, they must have a purpose that cannot be served by focusing on coverage and control; their goal must be one that can be met only by having students work with primary sources, consider multiple perspectives, and so on. There are two obvious candidates for this sense of purpose. The first holds that the goal of teaching history is to introduce students to the forms of knowledge and understanding specific to the academic discipline. Because professional historians use primary sources, students should as well; because professional historians consider multiple perspectives, so too should students. If teachers want to acquaint students with disciplinary knowledge in history, they can’t ask students to spend their time reproducing textbook knowledge or lectures, because that has no connection to what historians do.8

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A great deal of theory and research in history education has been based on this argument, and we’ve even used it ourselves at times. But we no longer consider it a powerful approach to transforming history education in the nation’s schools. We simply do not think many teachers will embrace this purpose with the conviction necessary to overcome the pull of coverage and control. Nor should they. Schools in the U.S. do not exist to reproduce academic disciplines, and there are no convincing arguments for why disciplinary knowledge should be the basis for school subjects. Stephen Thornton has argued that educators should acknowledge that the demands and purposes of history as a school subject are not always the same as those of academic history, and that the discipline cannot provide criteria for what are, after all, educational judgments.9 Education for Citizenship Another goal for history education has more potential appeal for teachers, as well as being more consistent with the overarching purpose of schooling in the U.S.: preparing students for participation in a pluralist democracy.10 Education for citizenship is the foundation not only of social studies but of schools more generally in this country, and some approaches to history are particularly wellsuited to this role. A basic requirement of democratic citizenship, for example, is experience in analyzing and interpreting information—and this is precisely what historical investigations provide. Citizens must also work together to reach conclusions based on incomplete and conflicting information, and this too is an inescapable element of historical inquiry. And in a pluralist democracy like ours, citizens must try to make sense of other people’s perspectives even when they differ radically from their own; history, along with anthropology and cultural geography, can provide experience in exactly this undertaking, as students try to understand the logic behind patterns of culture and social organization found in other times and places.11 As we have argued elsewhere, these investigative and collaborative abilities are essential for democratic participation. Neither unquestioning acceptance of other people’s conclusions about the past, nor rejection of every claim as “just an opinion,” serves democracy well. If students are to use history to understand the present, they must understand how historical accounts are created, so that they can evaluate how well supported those accounts are by the available evidence. Historical claims cannot simply be buttressed by authority, whether that of the teacher, the textbook, or “experts”; they must be grounded in evidence that has been held up to public inspection. If students are simply asked to remember a body of information, which they think is true because someone in a position of authority said it was, then they don’t actually have any knowledge at all—they just have a memory of baseless assertions. Moreover, they have no way of distinguishing historical claims that are based on evidence from those that aren’t—such as myths, legends, or outright lies. The inability to

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distinguish between a myth and a grounded assertion destroys the foundation for democracy, because students will be susceptible to any outrageous story they may be told.12 Experience with historical investigations and consideration of multiple perspectives is no guarantee that students will develop into effective citizens of a pluralist, participatory democracy, but it does guarantee they will have taken part in some of its key activities. When history teachers see this as the goal of education, then they obviously cannot rely on coverage and control, because these will fail to prepare students for citizenship. If citizenship requires consideration of multiple perspectives, then these will have to feature in the history classroom; if it requires drawing conclusions from evidence, then students will have to work with evidence in order to draw conclusions. Research does not yet provide much direction for developing this kind of commitment in teachers. The goal of citizenship is widely shared, but teachers’ understanding of its meaning is sometimes simple and unelaborated.13 Moreover, teachers come to the profession with ideas, attitudes, and beliefs that have been shaped by a variety of experiences both in and out of the classroom, and education programs appear to have limited impact on these prior perspectives.14 Professional development for history teachers, meanwhile, focuses almost exclusively on pedagogical content knowledge, and such programs produce little insight into how teachers might link their instructional practices with the demands of citizenship. Several recent studies, though, have addressed the problems and potential of enhancing teachers’ reflection on the goals of social education, and we hope this trend will continue.15 Given the importance of a sense of purpose in determining classroom practice, perhaps no line of research is more important for helping history teachers reformulate their instruction. Notes 1. O. L. Davis, Jr., Elizabeth Anne Yeager, and Stuart J. Foster, ed., History Empathy and Perspective Taking in the Social Studies (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001); Tom Holt, Thinking Historically: Narrative, Imagination, and Understanding (New York: College Entrance Examination Board, 1995); James Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong (New York: New Press, 1995); Peter Seixas, “The Community of Inquiry as a Basis for Knowledge and Learning: The Case of History,” American Educational Research Journal 30 (Summer 1993): 305–324; Bruce VanSledright, In Search of America’s Past: Learning to Read History in Elementary School (New York: Teachers College Press, 2002); Peter N. Stearns, Meaning over Memory: Recasting the Teaching of Culture and History (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1993); Sam Wineburg, Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching the Past (Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple University Press, 2001). 2. James Percoco, A Passion for the Past: Creative Teaching of U.S. History (Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 1998), and Divided We Stand: Teaching about Conflict in U.S. History (Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 2001); David Kobrin, Beyond the Textbook: Teaching History Using Documents and Primary Sources

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5.

6.

7.

8. 9.

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(Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 1996); Linda S. Levstik and Keith C. Barton, Doing History: Investigating with Children in Elementary and Middle Schools, 2nd ed. (Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001). Lee J. Shulman, “Knowledge and Teaching: Foundations of the New Reform,” Harvard Educational Review 57 (February 1987): 1–22. Bruce VanSledright, “Closing the Gap between School and Disciplinary History? Historian as High School History Teacher,” in Advances in Research on Teaching, vol. 6, Teaching and Learning History, ed. Jere Brophy (Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, 1996); 257–289; G. Williamson McDiarmid, “Understanding History for Teaching: A Study of the Historical Understanding of Prospective Teachers,” in Cognitive and Instructional Processes in History and the Social Sciences, ed. James F. Voss and Mario Carretero (Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1994), 159–186. See also Cynthia Hartzler-Miller, “Making Sense of ‘Best Practice’ in Teaching History,” Theory and Research in Social Education 29 (Fall 2001), 672–95. Stephanie D. van Hover and Elizabeth A. Yeager, “ ‘Making Students Better People?’ A Case Study of a Beginning History Teacher,” International Social Studies Forum 3 no. 1 (2003): 219–232.; Bruce Fehn and Kim E. Koeppen, “Intensive Document-Based Instruction in a Social Studies Methods Course,” Theory and Research in Social Education 4 (Fall 1998): 461–484. Other studies demonstrating the mismatch between pedagogical knowledge and classroom knowledge are reviewed in Keith C. Barton and Linda S. Levstik, Teaching History for the Common Good (Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004). Linda M. McNeil, Contradictions of Control: School Structure and School Knowledge (New York: Routledge, 1988), 157–190; Joseph J. Onosko, “Barriers to the Promotion of Higher-order Thinking in Social Studies,” Theory and Research in Social Education 19 (Fall 1991): 341–366; Stephen J. Thornton, “Curriculum Consonance in United States History Classrooms,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 3 (Summer 1998): 308–20. S. G. Grant, History Lessons: Teaching, Learning, and Testing in U.S. High School Classrooms (Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003), 3–28; Bruce A. VanSledright and Jere Brophy, “ ‘Storytellers,’ ‘Scientists,’ and ‘Reformers’ in the Teaching of U.S. History to Fifth Graders: Three Teachers, Three Approaches,” in Advances in Research on Teaching, vol. 5, Learning and Teaching Elementary Subjects, ed. Jere Brophy (Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, 1995), 195–243; Suzanne M. Wilson and Sam Wineburg, “Wrinkles in Time and Place: Using Performance Assessments to Understand the Knowledge of History Teachers,” American Educational Research Journal 30 (Winter 1993): 729–69; Letitia H. Fickel, “Democracy is Messy: Exploring the Personal Theories of a High School Social Studies Teacher,” Theory and Research in Social Education 28 (Summer 2000): 359–390; Ronald W. Evans, “Teacher Conceptions of History Revisited: Ideology, Curriculum, and Student Belief,” Theory and Research in Social Education 28 (Spring 1990): 101–138; Jesse Goodman and Susan Adler, “Becoming an Elementary Social Studies Teacher: A Study of Perspectives,” Theory and Research in Social Education 13 (Summer 1985): 1–20. Wineburg, Historical Thinking, 81; Howard Gardner, The Disciplined Mind: What All Students Should Understand (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999), 157. Stephen J. Thornton, “Subject Specific Teaching Methods: History,” in Advances in Research on Teaching, vol. 8, Subject-Specific Instructional Methods and Activities, ed. Jere Brophy (New York: Elsevier Science, 2001), 309; “Educating the Educators: Rethinking Subject Matter and Methods,” Theory into Practice 40 (Winter 2001), 75.

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10. We have in mind the kind of education for democratic citizenship described in Walter C. Parker, Teaching Democracy: Unity and Diversity in Public Life (New York: Teachers College Press, 2003). 11. Linda S. Levstik and Keith C. Barton, “Committing Acts of History: Mediated Action, Humanistic Education, and Participatory Democracy,” in Critical Issues in Social Studies Research for the 21st Century, ed. William Stanley (Greenwich, Conn.: Information Age Publishing, 2001), 119–148. 12. Barton and Levstik, Teaching History for the Common Good. 13. Christopher Anderson, Patricia G. Avery, Patricia V. Pederson, Elizabeth S. Smith, and John L. Sullivan, “Divergent Perspectives on Citizenship Education: A Q-Method Study and Survey of Social Studies Teachers,” American Educational Research Journal 34 (Summer 1997): 333–365; Dorene Doerre Ross and Elizabeth Yeager, “What Does Democracy Mean to Prospective Elementary Teachers?” Journal of Teacher Education 50 (September/October 1999): 255–266. 14. S. G. Grant, “Locating Authority over Content and Pedagogy: Cross-current Influences on Teachers’ Thinking and Practice,” Theory and Research in Social Education 24 (Summer 1996): 237–72; Marilyn Johnston, “Teachers’ Backgrounds and Beliefs: Influences on Learning to Teach in the Social Studies,” Theory and Research in Social Education 28 (Summer 1990): 207–232; Justine Z. X. Su, “Sources of Influence in Preservice Teacher Socialization,” Journal of Education for Teaching 18, no. 3 (1992): 239–258; Kenneth M. Zeichner and Jennifer M. Gore, “Teacher Socialization,” Handbook of Research on Teaching, 3d ed., ed. Merlin C. Wittrock (New York: Macmillan, 1986), 329–348. 15. For example, Todd Dinkelman, “Critical Reflection in a Social Studies Methods Seminar,” Theory and Research in Social Education 27 (Summer 1999): 329–57; Elizabeth Heilman, “Teachers’ Perspectives on Real World Challenges,” Theory and Research in Social Education 29 (Fall 2001), 696–733; Avner Segall, Disturbing Practice: Reading Teacher Education as Text (New York: Peter Lang, 2002).

5

High-Stakes Testing How Are Social Studies Teachers Responding? S. G. GRANT*

Although largely left out of the No Child Left Behind legislation, social studies remains a frequently tested subject on state-level standardized exams. As of 2004, 23 states conducted standards-based social studies tests, 10 of which could be considered high stakes.1 Where social studies will fit into the national testing picture is uncertain, but the reality of state-level testing for teachers and students is unlikely to change in the near future.2 What school observers think could or should or may happen with highstakes testing is interesting, to be sure, but research on the lived experiences of social studies teachers and their students may be more revealing. As we shall see, the evidence confirms and challenges both policymakers’ hopes and critics’ fears: Teachers are both reacting and acting. Defining High-Stakes Before looking at effects of state-level social studies testing, it is necessary to realize that not all state history tests have explicit and direct “stakes” or consequences for teachers or their students. “High stakes” is vaguely defined at best. As some researchers point out, however, how teachers perceive test-related consequences may be as important as how policymakers intend them.3 If an immediate and potentially dramatic effect on students’ school lives is one dimension of high-stakes testing, then the exams administered in states like Texas, Virginia, Mississippi, and New York qualify: Test scores in these states determine whether or not students graduate from high school. By contrast, students’ test scores in states like Michigan and Kentucky count toward the general assessment of their schools, but hold no particular consequence for the students themselves. Another complication to the stakes issue comes in the form of elementary and middle school students in New York and other highstakes states who take state exams, but whose scores have little direct impact on their school lives. * S. G. Grant is Dean of the School of Education at Binghamton University.

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The stakes attached to social studies tests become especially complex when looking at teachers. Test performance in high-stakes states has far greater implications for students than for their teachers; in no state, for example, do teachers face immediate dismissal for low student test scores. That said, the perceived impact of state tests on teachers may be just as real as the real consequences attached. For evidence of this claim, one need look no further than the fact that teachers who face no state social studies test can feel just as pressed to change their teaching (or not!) as teachers who do.4 As the research evidence accumulates, one can conclude that the particular stakes attached to a state-level test may matter less than the mere existence of a test. In short, the test part of the phrase “high-stakes test” may matter as much as the stakes themselves. Patterns emerge across teachers’ responses to state tests, but those patterns offer little predictable value. Some novice teachers and their veteran peers feel pressured to undercut their pedagogical goals in reaction to state test pressures. But other teachers, sometimes in the same schools, feel free to carve out their own pedagogical paths. There are many ways to interpret the influence of state social studies tests but, as a policy tool, it is hard to ignore the conclusion that state-level tests produce a crazy quilt of responses. How Do Social Studies Teachers Respond to Tests? As the research base on how teachers respond to state social studies tests grows, an interesting distinction is emerging. The phrases “teaching to the test” and “what gets tested gets taught” make great headlines, but poor policy. Teaching is no single act. At a minimum, teachers choose curriculum, they design instructional activities, and they create assessments. Proponents and critics of testing alike typically assume that tests drive the entirety of teaching. The research evidence suggests otherwise. Although a number of questions remain open, the emerging research base suggests that state tests influence teachers’ content, instructional, and assessment decisions differently. The Influence of Tests on Teachers’ Content Decisions The principal pedagogical effect of state social studies tests appears to be on teachers’ content decisions. Teachers report making a range of small to large changes in the subject matter ideas they teach. This finding should surprise few observers, however. State tests do not tell teachers how to teach, but they do suggest what should be taught. That teachers modify their curriculum in reaction to standardized exams, then, makes sense given that state curriculum and assessment policies focus on content. Predictably, novice teachers struggle to make content choices that will most advantage their test-taking students,5 but veteran teachers do as well.6 And yet, other teachers resist the temptation to tailor their curriculum to either state standards or state exams. Across the United States, teachers plan units on topics covered on state exams, but they also develop units on topics barely

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mentioned.7 Many teachers assert control over the curriculum they teach in elective courses.8 Less common, but still evident, are those teachers who resolve the content dilemmas they face by choosing to teach more ambitiously in classes that enroll students of all levels.9 The Influence of State Tests on Teachers’ Assessment Practices Any surprise that testing proponents and critics register when learning that teachers are not using state exams as the default curriculum in their classrooms is likely to increase when they see teachers using a variety of assessment methods. Few teachers appear to be making wholesale changes in their student assessments.10 With a moment’s reflection, this finding becomes less remarkable: Most teachers already employ test questions that mirror those on state exams—multiple choice questions, short answer tasks, and essays. Researchers find, however, that teachers are not designing test-based exams exclusively. Instead, they use these exams as part of their larger assessment plans. Teachers are not sanguine about the state tests they administer: They dislike the pressure on their practices and on their students, the ways that scores are used, the kinds of test items employed, and the mixed messages that tests send about what is important. Yet few teachers dismiss outright the idea of a statelevel test. Many protest one or more features of state test construction or the ways in which scores are interpreted; few protest against the very existence of a test. Many reasons support this conclusion—coercion by school and district administrators, pressure from parents and the public, uncertainty about what seems like an inevitable trend in American education. If these explanations account for the lack of teacher resistance to the concept of testing, so does one other: Most Americans accept the validity of tests as a means of judging student performance. Like the public at large, teachers seem to accept the premise that tests are useful and that multiple-choice questions and essay prompts represent reasonable ways of judging what students know and understand. If testing is a fixture in U.S. school culture, so too is the idea that tests are limited in what they can measure. Tests may efficiently screen those who know from those who don’t, but they are a screen with wide mesh: Americans know well the case of students whose test scores fail to predict their accomplishments. Both in schools and in the public, then, a kind of schizophrenia exists: Faith in tests, but doubts as to their importance. The Influence of State Tests on Teachers’ Instructional Strategies The big surprise in the research literature is the minimal and uncertain influence state tests seem to have on teachers’ instructional decisions. Some teachers are doing more test preparation than they would like and some are no longer doing activities that they have done in the past. The dismay of a Virginia teacher that “it’s facts—names, dates, places. I used to be a good teacher—now

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I’m cramming this stuff down their throats,” echoes loudly throughout a survey of Mississippi teachers’ test-influenced instructional practices.11 At the same time, many teachers continue to teach in ways they think are appropriate for students to learn.12 Make no mistake: Some teachers report ceding control over their instructional practices to their state tests. Still, as with most things related to schooling, simple understandings rarely suffice. For even within the research that demonstrates considerable test-based influence on teachers’ instruction are signs of practices that buck this trend. Lecturing, rote recitation, and other seeming concessions to state-level testing exist alongside debates, projects, and class discussions. Tests do matter, but there is little evidence that shows wholesale instructional change. This finding may cause testing critics to cheer and proponents to cringe. Both groups, however, would be wise to hold back. Testing critics imply that teachers routinely plan and deliver rich and engaging lessons and that state-level tests stifle this creativity. Yet researchers have long described a good portion of history teaching as pedantic, at best. State-level social studies tests, then, are as unlikely to induce large-scale instructional change as any other innovation.13 Dull teachers may be no more likely to invoke test-influenced practices than their more ambitious peers, but that does not mean that their students are any better off. If the predictions of both critics and proponents miss their marks concerning the bulk of American teachers, so too do they misunderstand the best teachers. Although in short supply, excellent teachers exist in every kind of school situation. Some of these teachers find confirmation in their students’ test performance, but many more seem to shake their collective heads at a testing movement that seems to dishonor their and their students’ best efforts.14 The Influence of State Tests on Teachers’ Classroom Practices So far I have shown that tests do matter to teachers, but in various ways. The biggest influence appears to be on teachers’ content decisions. Tests factor into teachers’ assessment and instructional decisions as well. But there is little evidence of massive test-based change. Why not? The short answer is that, in spite of their public presence, tests constitute but one influence on teachers’ practices. Researchers point to a long list of factors that influence teachers’ pedagogical decisions. State-level tests make that list, but joining them are a host of other factors including personal considerations, organizational constraints, and policy issues. Beginning teachers face this array of influences no more and no less than do veterans. Similarly, teachers in states with few direct testing consequences face these influences no more and no less than do their high-stakes peers. Negotiating among competing influences is a persistent and ongoing dilemma for all teachers.15

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The personal factors that influence teachers’ decision making include their subject matter knowledge and beliefs as well as their personal relationships and experiences. The education that teachers have already experienced in history and the social sciences influences their pedagogical thoughts and actions. Also important, however, are the kinds of personal experiences and relationships they have had throughout their lives. For example, teachers who struggled to find a reason to study history may well find that experience shapes their approaches to working with their resistant students. The organizational influences on teachers’ practices come in two forms. One form includes the individuals and groups with whom teachers interact in their school and district settings. The second set of organizational influences highlights the contexts in which teachers work; that is, the norms, structures, and resources that define their teaching situations. The people teachers work with—students, colleagues, administrators, parents—and the cultural conditions in which they work can exert influence on teachers’ work in multiple, if not necessarily, predictable ways. For example, some teachers can find themselves at odds with their colleagues and administrators whose low expectations for students translate into a pedantic curriculum that focuses exclusively on low-level knowledge and skills. Others may feel constrained by a competitive school climate where standardized test scores alone are used to praise and prod teachers’ classroom efforts.16 Finally, policy factors such as local and state curriculum guidelines, textbook adoptions, and standardized tests figure into the pedagogical decisions teachers make. Teachers in earlier generations frequently cited textbooks as a powerful influence on their teaching practices.17 For the past 20 years, however, newer generations of teachers have faced a blinding array of curriculum and assessment policies that compete for their attention. Rarely, however, do these various policies (and the textbooks that districts purchase) align in coherent ways. Within this swirl of personal, organizational, and policy influences, teachers find themselves surrounded by constant calls to improve their teaching, but inconsistent and often contradictory messages about how to do so. State-level tests support some of the messages social studies teachers get but conflict with others. The current level of attention to tests, especially of the high-stakes variety, would seem to redefine the nature, conditions, and outcomes of teachers’ work. Yet the array of factors teachers must juggle on any given day undercuts some of the power of state testing as a lever of change.18 How do teachers make sense of this confusion? Some embrace every idea that floats by their classroom doorways in hopes that a shotgun approach will, eventually, help most students. Others close their doors, stick with the practices they believe work, and hope for the best. These responses, and others, suggest that looking closely at how teachers interpret state tests may be revealing. Looking closely, however, means more than simply charting teachers’ yes or no

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responses to questions about whether or not tests determine their teaching. And it means remembering that there are no generic “best” teaching practices nor any all-purpose “best” responses to state-level tests.19 Both proponents and critics of testing would be better served if they looked into the contextualized reasoning and practices of teachers. One way of understanding the relationship between teachers and tests is to see their responses as defensive. Advanced first by Linda McNeil, the notion of defensive teaching assumes that teachers exist primarily in a reactive mode: State policymakers enact new curricula and new tests, and then teachers react to them.20 This view offers considerable explanatory power, and some researchers have found evidence for the idea that teachers’ pedagogical decisions are shaped by their perceptions of state testing conditions.21 For example, a novice Michigan teacher describes how he contorts his content in light of his state social studies test: We have to start with the Constitution, because there are a lot of constitutional principles on the [Michigan Evaluation Assessment of Progress, MEAP]. We’re afraid that if we do it in order, by the time we get to the Constitution, it’s going to be so close to the MEAP that we may not focus as much on that as we should. So we start with that at the beginning and then go backwards: Do the Constitution, the Core Democratic Values, then backtrack to the colonial times and work our way forward from there.22 This teacher makes a choice that he knows has little educational value. He is not alone in facing the dilemma of how best to respond to a testing context that undercuts sound pedagogy. However, the notion that teachers like this one merely react defensively to state tests is too blunt. There is no simple causeeffect relationship, as if a new state test is created and then teachers immediately teach only in ways they believe to be consistent with the test. That formula fails on two counts. First, the defensive teaching explanation does not account for those teachers who continue to use more challenging teaching practices (or use them in concert with traditional practices). And second, it does not allow us to look deeply into the myriad ways that teachers respond to state exams. Here, interviews with teachers, observations of their practices, and analysis of the kinds of tasks they create, offer insights into and evidence for the autonomy and creativity teachers exhibit. To be sure, all teachers are, in some sense, reacting to the social studies tests their state policymakers mandate. Yet, in doing so, they are also acting in ways that are more than defensive. Most teachers recognize that tests can constitute a potential constraint on their teaching. They also recognize, however, that they face many potential constraints, and that as potential constraints, these limits are negotiable. No one teaches in a vacuum; influences of all sorts are everpresent in the ways that teachers plan, enact, and assess their lessons. Those

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influences rarely promote a single conclusion, however, so teachers are always faced with the prospect of choosing among competing influences.23 That they must choose among those influences puts teachers in the role of “gatekeeper” to their classrooms.24 This role does not mean that teachers operate with complete autonomy, but it does mean that they act as well as react in making the decisions that shape their classroom practices. Some teachers are “learning to live with [the test], but not by it.”25 This seemingly subtle distinction turns out to be profound. Teachers may choose to live with a state social studies test by re-orienting their entire practices around their perceptions of what will produce the best student scores. But they may also choose differently. With this evidence and these ideas in mind, I offer an alternative to the notion of defensive teaching, one that allows for a range of teachers’ responses, but also captures the necessary negotiations teachers face when confronted with competing demands. The construct I employ, ambitious teaching, assumes that teaching is nuanced, complex, and contextualized both because of and in spite of state social studies tests and the consequences they hold. Drawing on the ideas of John Dewey, Joseph Schwab, David Hawkins, and Lee Shulman, I argue that ambitious teaching develops (a) when teachers know their subject matter well and see within it the potential to enrich their students’ lives; (b) when teachers know their students well, which includes understanding the kinds of lives their students lead, how these youngsters think about and perceive the world, and the idea that they are far more capable than they, and most others, believe them to be; and (c) when teachers know how to create the necessary space for themselves and their students in environments in which others (e.g., administrators and other teachers) may not appreciate either of their efforts.26 In other words, ambitious teachers understand deeply both their subject matter and their students, and they are willing to push hard to create opportunities for powerful teaching and learning despite contextual factors (e.g., state curriculum, state tests, unsupportive administrators and colleagues) that may be pushing them in different directions. Examples of ambitious teaching emerge throughout the research literature. A particularly good example is Jill Gradwell’s case study of Sara Cooper who teaches in spite of, rather than because of, the New York state history test. Cooper is a novice eighth-grade U.S. history teacher with a challenging class composition—equal parts gifted, “regular,” and special education students.27 Cooper does not ignore the state eighth-grade social studies test. She does not talk much about the test in class, but she takes some actions (e.g., afterschool review sessions) that she believes will advantage her students. That said, the test figures as only one of several factors influencing Cooper’s pedagogical decisions. Equally important are her ideas about the subject matter in question and her ideas about the particular students she teaches.28 It is a complex dynamic, to be sure: Cooper must juggle her commitment to teaching the big

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ideas of history with her eager, but diverse students. And she must do so knowing that the state exam may demand that her students show only a hint of what they know and understand. Facing up to that dynamic is what distinguishes an ambitious teacher. Cooper and other ambitious teachers know that they must make difficult choices and do so with uncertain results and with uncertain support from colleagues, administrators, and others. Also, like other ambitious teachers, Cooper is not always satisfied with the choices she makes. What keeps her going, however, is the realization that she can choose differently in the future.29 Conclusion In some ways, state-level social studies tests, of both high and low stakes varieties, are changing teaching in important ways. Until recently, relatively few teachers had to deal with standardized tests, particularly those with significant consequences attached. That social studies teachers today factor the exams into their classroom practices should surprise no one. How they do so, however, has been more a matter of speculation than evidence to this point. Some observers conclude that teachers will react defensively, by slavishly enacting changes in their content, instruction, and assessments that mirror the presumed dictates of their state exams. Such reactions do occur. But evident throughout the research literature are cases of teachers who choose otherwise. Ambitious teachers take no elixir that offers immunity from the influence of their state exams. Instead, they understand the challenges that state tests pose and they factor those challenges into the mix of ideas and influences they consider when creating and teaching instructional units. The results are not always satisfactory: Ambitious teaching is no nirvana where every lesson meets every child’s every need. But ambitious teachers know that if they keep their eyes on the big ideas of history and the potential that their students bring to class they can effectively navigate the sometimes uncertain waters of their teaching contexts. Researchers have yet to fully map the different routes that ambitious teachers take from their more pedestrian peers, but by continuing to explore and document teachers’ pedagogical decision making, they offer the possibility of illustrating the kind of powerful teaching that all children deserve. Notes 1. S. G. Grant and Catherine Horn, “The State of State-Level History Testing,” in Measuring History: Cases of High-Stakes Testing across the U.S., ed. S. G. Grant (Greenwich, Conn.: Information Age Publishing, 2006). 2. William Gaudelli, “The Future of High-Stakes History Assessment: Possible Scenarios, Potential Outcomes,” in Measuring History. 3. William Firestone and David Mayrowetz, “Rethinking ‘High Stakes’: Lessons from the United States and England and Wales,” Teachers College Record 102, no. 4 (2000).

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4. Stephanie van Hover, “Teaching History in the Old Dominion: The Impact of Virginia’s Accountability Reform on Seven Secondary Beginning History Teachers,” in Measuring History; Elizabeth Yeager and Matthew Pinder, “ ‘Does Anyone Really Understand This Test?’ Florida High School Social Studies Teachers’ Efforts to Make Sense of the FCAT,” in Measuring History. 5. Avner Segall, “Teaching in the Age of Accountability: Measuring History or Measuring up to It?,” in Measuring History; van Hover, “Teaching History in the Old Dominion.” 6. Letitia Fickel, “Paradox of Practice: Expanding and Contracting Curriculum in a High-Stakes Climate,” in Measuring History; Cinthia Salinas, “Teaching in a High-Stakes Testing Setting: What Becomes of Teacher Knowledge?,” in Measuring History; Kenneth Vogler, “The Impact of a High School Graduation Examination on Mississippi Social Studies Teachers’ Instructional Practices,” in Measuring History. 7. Jane Bolgatz, “Using Primary Documents with Fourth-Grade Students: Talking about Racism While Preparing for State-Level Tests,” in Measuring History; Jill M. Gradwell, “Teaching in Spite of, Rather Than Because of, the Test: A Case of Ambitious History Teaching in New York State,” in Measuring History; Grant, History Lessons: Teaching. Learning, and Testing in U.S. High School Classrooms (Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003). 8. Fickel, “Paradox of Practice: Expanding and Contracting Curriculum in a HighStakes Climate”; David Gerwin and Francesco Visone, “The Freedom to Teach: Contrasting History Teaching in Elective and State-Tested Courses,” Theory and Research in Social Education 34, no. 2 (2006). 9. Gradwell, “Teaching in Spite of, Rather Than Because of, the Test: A Case of Ambitious History Teaching in New York State”; Grant, History Lessons; Grant, “More Journey Than End: A Case of Ambitious Teaching,” in Wise Social Studies Teaching in an Age of High-Stakes Testing, ed. E. A. Yeager and O.L. Davis, Jr. (Greenwich, Conn.: Information Age Publishing, 2005). 10. Grant, History Lessons. 11. Ann Marie Smith, “Negotiating Control and Protecting the Private: History Teachers and the Virginia Standards of Learning,” in Measuring History; Vogler, “The Impact of a High School Graduation Examination on Mississippi Social Studies Teachers’ Instructional Practices.” 12. Bolgatz, “Using Primary Documents with Fourth-Grade Students: Talking about Racism While Preparing for State-Level Tests”; Gradwell, “Teaching in Spite of, Rather Than Because of, the Test: A Case of Ambitious History Teaching in New York State”; Grant, History Lessons. 13. David Tyack and Larry Cuban, Tinkering toward Utopia (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995). 14. Grant et al., “When Increasing Stakes Need Not Mean Increasing Standards: The Case of the New York State Global History and Geography Exam,” Theory and Research in Social Education 30, no. 4 (2002). 15. Grant, “Locating Authority over Content and Pedagogy: Cross-Current Influences on Teachers’ Thinking and Practice.” Theory and Research in Social Education 24, no. 3 (1996); Grant, “More Journey Than End: A Case of Ambitious Teaching.” 16. Catherine Cornbleth, “What Constrains Meaningful Social Studies Teaching,” Social Education 63, no. 3 (2002). 17. R. Stake and J. Easley, Case Studies in Science Education (Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois, 1978).

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18. Grant, “Locating Authority over Content and Pedagogy: Cross-Current Influences on Teachers’ Thinking and Practice.” 19. See O. L. Davis’s useful distinction between “best” and “wise” teaching practices in Wise Social Studies Teaching. 20. Linda McNeil, Contradictions of Control (New York: Routledge, 1988). 21. Susie Burroughs, “Testy Times for Social Studies,” Social Education 66, no. 5 (2002), Vogler, “The Impact of a High School Graduation Examination on Mississippi Social Studies Teachers’ Instructional Practices.” 22. Segall, “Teaching in the Age of Accountability: Measuring History or Measuring up to It?”, 116. 23. Grant, History Lessons. 24. Stephen Thornton, Teaching Social Studies that Matters: Curriculum for Active Learning (New York: Teachers College Press, 2005). 25. Segall, “Teaching in the Age of Accountability: Measuring History or Measuring up to It?”, 123. 26. Grant, History Lessons; Grant, “More Journey Than End: A Case of Ambitious Teaching.” 27. Gradwell, “Teaching in Spite of, Rather Than Because of, the Test: A Case of Ambitious History Teaching in New York State.” 28. S.G. Grant and Jill M. Gradwell, “The Sources are Many: Exploring History Teachers’ Selection of Classroom Texts,” Theory and Research in Social Education 33, no. 2 (2005). 29. Other cases of ambitious teaching include Grant, “More Journey Than End: A Case of Ambitious Teaching,” in Wise Social Studies Teaching: Andrea Libresco, “How She Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Test . . . Sort of,” in Wise Social Studies Teaching; Karen Riley, Elizabeth Wilson, and Terry Fogg. “Transforming the Spirit of Teaching through Wise Practice: Observations of Two Alabama Social Studies Teachers,” Social Education 64, no. 6 (2000); Sam Wineburg and Suzanne Wilson, “Subject Matter Knowledge in the Teaching of History” in Advances in Research on Teaching, Vol. 3, ed. Jere Brophy (Greenwich, Conn.: JAI, 1991).

6

Authentic Intellectual Work

Common Standards for Teaching Social Studies M. BRUCE KING, FRED M. NEWMANN, AND DANA L. CARMICHAEL*

For most students in most schools, the usual work demanded of them is rarely meaningful, significant, or worthwhile. Learning tasks still tend to call for memorizing and reporting on specific information and content, rather than asking students for higher-level thinking, interpretation, or problem-solving. Subject matter is covered, not examined in ways that produce in-depth conceptual understanding. Schoolwork is regarded largely as a series of contrived exercises necessary to earn credentials (grades, promotions, and diplomas) required for future success; but for many, especially poor students of color, this work leads to disengagement and dropping out. The challenge for students is to comply with teachers’ and tests’ requirements, rather than to use their minds to solve meaningful problems or answer interesting and challenging questions. This is no less true for Social Studies than it is for other subject areas. What is meaningful intellectual work? To define it more specifically, we analyzed the kinds of mastery demonstrated by successful adults who continually work with knowledge—for example, scientists, musicians, childcare workers, construction contractors, health care providers, business entrepreneurs, repair technicians, teachers, lobbyists, and citizen activists. Adults in these diverse endeavors face common intellectual challenges that provide guidelines for an education that extends beyond basic skills to more complex academic work. Of course, we do not expect children to achieve the same level of mastery accomplished by skilled adults, but identifying the nature of intellectual work in these professions can help to define criteria for performance necessary for success in contemporary society. Consider, for example, an engineer designing a bridge. To complete the bridge design successfully, the engineer relies on * M. Bruce King is a Faculty Associate in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Fred M. Newmann is Professor Emeritus of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dana L. Carmichael is President of Dynamic Learner Consulting, Inc., St. Paul, Minnesota.

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extensive factual knowledge from engineering, architecture, science, and mathematics. But the particular context for the bridge, such as its length, height, peak points of stress and load, and the impact of local variation in weather conditions, require the engineer to organize, analyze, and interpret all this background information to make a unique product. Consider also a citizen trying to make an informed decision about whether an elected officeholder has done a good enough job to be re-elected over the challengers, or trying to make a convincing public statement to increase local funding for school security. Finally, consider a single mother of pre-school children who calculates the costs and benefits of job opportunities, paying for childcare, and deciding how to choose among childcare providers. The examples illustrate how diverse endeavors of work, citizenship, and personal affairs present adults with intellectual challenges that differ from those commonly experienced by students in schools. Such challenges can serve as guidelines for curriculum, instruction, and assessment that extend beyond the basics, and beyond extensive lists of content standards, to more complex intellectual work. Authentic Intellectual Work: Criteria and Rationale As a short-hand phrase for the difference between the intellectual accomplishment of skilled adults and the usual work that students do in school, we refer to the more complex adult accomplishments as authentic intellectual work. Authentic is used here not to suggest that students are always unmotivated to succeed in conventional academic work, or that basic skills and factual knowledge should be devalued, but only to identify some kinds of intellectual work as more complex and socially or personally meaningful than others. Often times, authentic is used to mean only that the tasks students are assigned have meaning or connect to something in their lives now. We mean much more. Specifically, authentic intellectual work involves original application of knowledge and skills, rather than just routine use of facts and procedures. It also entails careful study of the details of a particular topic or problem and results in a product or presentation that has meaning beyond success in school. We summarize these distinctive characteristics of authentic intellectual work as construction of knowledge, through the use of disciplined inquiry, to produce discourse, products, or performances that have value beyond school. Table 6.1 presents these criteria and the different standards for authentic instruction, assignments, and student work. Construction of Knowledge Skilled adults in diverse occupations and participating in civic life face the challenge of applying skills and knowledge to complex problems that are often novel or unique. To reach an adequate solution to new problems, the competent adult has to “construct” knowledge because these problems cannot be solved by routine use of information or skills previously learned.

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Table 6.1 Criteria and Standards for Authentic Intellectual Work CRITERIA

STANDARDS Instruction

Assignments

Student Work

Construction of Knowledge

Higher Order Thinking

Construction of Knowledge

Analysis

Disciplined Inquiry

Depth of Knowledge and Student Understanding

Elaborated Written Communication

Disciplinary Concepts

Substantive Conversation Value Beyond School

Connection to the Real World

Elaborated Written Communication Connection to Students’ Lives

Such construction of knowledge involves organizing, interpreting, evaluating, or synthesizing prior knowledge to solve new problems. Teachers often think of these operations as higher order thinking skills. We contend, however, that successful construction of knowledge is best learned through a variety of experiences that call for this kind of cognitive work with important content, not by explicitly teaching discrete “thinking skills.” Disciplined Inquiry Constructing knowledge alone is not enough. The mere fact that someone has constructed, rather than reproduced, a solution to a problem is no guarantee that the solution is adequate or valid. Authentic adult intellectual accomplishments require that construction of knowledge be guided by disciplined inquiry. By this we mean that learners 1. use a prior knowledge base, 2. strive for in-depth understanding rather than superficial awareness, and 3. develop and express their ideas and findings through elaborated communication. Prior Knowledge Base Significant intellectual accomplishments build on prior knowledge accumulated in an academic or applied discipline. Students must acquire a knowledge base of facts, vocabularies, concepts, theories, and other conventions necessary

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to conduct rigorous inquiry. Transmitting a knowledge base, along with basic skills, is usually the central focus of direct instruction in the content areas. In-depth Understanding A knowledge base that is of value to students involves more than familiarity with a broad survey of topics. To be most powerful, students must have a deeper understanding of that knowledge that helps them grapple with the complexities of specific problems. Such understanding develops as one seeks, proposes, and tests relationships among key facts, events, concepts, and claims in order to clarify a specific problem or issue. Lessons and assignments that satisfy this criterion have students sustain a focus on a significant topic or issue, and demonstrate their understanding by arriving at a reasoned, well-supported conclusion or explaining how they solved a relatively complex problem. Elaborated Communication Accomplished adults in a range of fields rely upon complex forms of communication both to conduct their work and to present its results. The tools they use—verbal, symbolic, graphic, and visual—provide qualifications, nuances, details, and analogies woven into extended narratives, explanations, justifications, and dialogue. Elaborated communication may be most often evident in essays or research papers, but debates, simulations, and facilitated public issues discussions could also involve elaborated communication. Value Beyond School Finally, meaningful intellectual accomplishments have utilitarian, aesthetic, or personal value. When adults write letters, news articles, organizational memos, or technical reports; when they speak a foreign language; when they design a house, negotiate an agreement, or devise a budget; when they create a painting or a piece of music—in all of these they try to communicate ideas that have an impact on others. In contrast, most school assignments, such as quizzes, questions on a reading, or typical final exams are designed only to document the competence of the learner. They lack meaning or significance beyond the certification of success in school. The call for “relevant” or “student-centered” curriculum is, in many cases, a less precise expression of the view that student intellectual accomplishments should have value beyond simply indicating school success. While some people may regard the term “authentic” as equivalent to education that is “relevant,” “student-centered,” or “hands-on,” we do not. Value beyond school is only one component of authentic intellectual work. Activity and topics should not just be interesting to students, they should involve particular intellectual challenges that when successfully met would have meaning to students beyond complying with teachers’ requirements. These tasks have students explore the connections

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between academic knowledge and situations outside the classroom in ways that create meaning and significance for that knowledge. The three criteria—construction of knowledge, through disciplined inquiry, to produce discourse, products, and performances that have meaning beyond success in school—provide a foundation for the more complex intellectual work necessary for success in contemporary society. All three criteria are important. For example, students might be asked to write a letter to the editor about a proposed social welfare policy. One student might say she vigorously opposes the policy but offer no arguments indicating that she understands relevant economic and moral issues. This activity may meet the criteria of constructing knowledge to produce discourse with value beyond school, but it would fall short on the criterion of disciplined inquiry, and thereby represent only superficial awareness, not deep understanding, of the issue. Or students might be asked to interview family members about experiences during wartime or to conduct a survey of peer opinion on local economic or environmental conditions. These activities would connect schoolwork to students’ lives beyond school, but if students only reported what the respondents said, without summary or analysis or drawing connections to disciplinary content, there would be virtually no construction of knowledge or disciplined inquiry. Judgments about the extent to which schoolwork is “authentic” should be made on a continuum, from less to more, depending on how fully all three criteria are met. Examples What does authentic intellectual work by students look like? The first example illustrates a high school Social Studies student constructing knowledge through disciplined inquiry to produce intellectual work that has meaning and value beyond completing tasks in school. Students were instructed to develop a “position paper” on a controversial issue. The following excerpts are from one student’s longer paper justifying U.S. intervention in Kuwait in the Persian Gulf in 1991. Student Work Example, 12th Grade History There have been numerous instances when the world has witnessed what happens when aggressors are not stopped. Let us look back to 1935 when Mussolini decided to invade and annex Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s emperor appealed to the League of Nations, but nothing was done. Soon afterwards, in 1936, Adolph Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland, thereby violating the Treaty of Versailles. Again, the world ignored these blatant displays of hostility and power . . . When Emperor Hirohito of Japan attacked Manchuria in 1931, and then China in 1937, he was simply scolded by the League of Nations . . .

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• M. Bruce King, Fred M. Newmann, and Dana L. Carmichael In 1938, Hitler united Austria and Germany. The world protested, but then gave in to Hitler who said he only wanted to unite the German people. Then, Hitler took the Sudentenland from Czechoslovakia. As before, concessions were made to appease the aggressor . . . In all the examples of unchecked aggression, the moral is the same. The school bully who demands lunch money from other children will not stop until someone stands up to him. If the bully is allowed to harass, intimidate, and steal from other children, it is giving him silent permission to use power against the weak . . . Those who complain about the United States acting as a “police nation” would do well to remember that Desert Storm has been a United Nations effort, not solely a U.S. effort. The U.N. Security Council condemned Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait, as did the Arab League. The U.N. imposed mandatory sanctions, forbidding all member states from doing business with Iraq. The European Community, the United States and Japan froze Kuwaiti assets. The United States, Britain, France, Canada, Australia, West Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium acted in accordance with the United Nations and with the support of its many members. There is a time for peace and a time for war. War is a horrible situation, but it is imperative that countries learn to recognize when it is necessary. Perhaps someday the world will be able to solve its problems without violence. In the meantime, we would endanger international security to allow people like Saddam Hussein and his terrorist goons to threaten and overpower independent countries such as Kuwait.

By organizing an argument for intervention to stop international aggression, especially when international support for the action is evident, the student constructed knowledge. Elaboration was offered by citing historical instances where aggression, if not stopped, led to a chain of negative consequences. In addressing an important policy issue of the day, the student produced intellectual work connected to issues beyond school. For a second example, let us turn from student work to the assignments that prompt that work. The following example, an essay assignment, is from an inclusive classroom that is team-taught by a Social Studies and Special Education teacher. This assignment scored high on two of the three criteria for authentic intellectual work. In this class, there were 24 students, 4 of them special education students with mild to moderate learning disabilities. Teacher Assignment Example, 11th Grade U.S. History Students worked for a week on an assignment that required them to write an essay from the point of view of a specific individual after the end of the Civil War. Roles were given that reflected perspectives of both

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the North and the South. In their essay, students proposed a plan for the post-Civil War South from their individual’s point of view. Two of the students with disabilities, for example, wrote from the perspective of a northern wife and mother and of a freed slave. Based on the criteria for authentic intellectual work, this assignment was rated as follows:







High on construction of knowledge. Students were asked to interpret and organize information relevant to the Civil War from the perspective of their particular role and to consider how their character would feel after the war and what that person might recommend for reconstruction of the south. High on disciplined inquiry. Students were asked to write an essay in which they made generalizations or drew conclusions from their role’s perspective, as well as support them. Through elaborated writing, they could demonstrate in-depth understanding of important Social Studies content. Low on value beyond school. The assignment did not offer students the opportunity to connect the topic to experiences or significant contemporary issues, or to communicate ideas that have an impact on others.

One of the keys to successful team teaching in an inclusive classroom, according to these veteran teachers, is holding high expectations for all students while accommodating individuals’ learning needs. For them, learning expectations included both mastery of important social studies content and critical thinking. They stressed the importance of having students evaluate historical situations, synthesize information, speculate on events if the situation were different, and make connections between historical events and contemporary issues. While not using the language of the specific criteria of authentic intellectual work, their lessons and assignments consistently met those criteria. This U.S. History assignment highlights two further considerations. First, it scored high on two of the three criteria; not all criteria can or should be met in every task or assessment. Second, students of varying backgrounds and learning strengths can successfully tackle intellectually challenging assignments, as the research has shown. Research, Obstacles, and Policy What are some of the important lessons regarding authentic intellectual work for the research and policy arenas? From 1990 to 2004, researchers completed studies at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison,1 the University of Minnesota, and the Consortium on

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Chicago School Research. These studies demonstrated that students who experienced higher levels of authentic instruction and assessment showed higher achievement than students who experienced lower levels of authentic instruction and assessment. The results were consistent for grades 3 through 12, across different subject areas, and for different students regardless of race, gender, disability status, or socioeconomic status. Current research in Australia is showing similar results. Research focused on Social Studies has been consistent with the broader studies. Figure 6.1 presents one example; the difference between scores of 5.4 and 6.8 represents 30 percentile points in the full distribution of scores. Actual reform of teaching and assessment, however, has proceeded at a snail’s pace. Teachers and schools face persistent obstacles that undermine emphasis on intellectual challenge: low expectations for academic excellence, especially for students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds; lack of student engagement in their courses; professional isolation of teachers; proliferation of incoherent reform projects and professional development initiatives; and testing programs that emphasize only basic skills and recall of knowledge. The recent standards movement has not significantly alleviated the main problems. Standards for curriculum and assessment commonly issued by districts, states, or professional organizations tend to emphasize the specific subject matter (content and skills) to be mastered in each subject and grade level. Though the standards often call for “critical thinking,” “inquiry,” and “learning to learn,” in reality the pressure on teachers to cover voluminous Figure 6.1 Mathematics and Social Studies Authentic Student Performance in Classes with Low, Average, and High Authentic Pedagogy in 24 Restructuring Elementary, Middle, and High Schools

Source: Newmann, Marks and Gamoran (1996)

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amounts of subject matter and to prepare students for high-stakes tests can prevent them from taking time to help students think carefully about, build indepth understanding of, and communicate elaborately about the content and skills that the standards prescribe. These problems leave teachers, administrators, parents, students, and the public at large without a clear sense of the core intellectual mission of schooling. Whether policy makers and educational institutions will successfully tackle these systemic problems remains to be seen, but even with these issues unresolved, individual schools and social studies departments can, this research shows, increase student achievement for all student groups with curriculum, classroom instruction, assignments, and assessment of student work that are guided by the framework outlined here. Why Promote Authentic Intellectual Work? With schools in general and Social Studies in particular being called upon to meet a myriad of purposes (e.g., prepare students for higher education and democratic civic participation; encourage responsible social behavior; celebrate cultural diversity; provide a foundation in historical, geographic, and economic literacy; and develop personal, social, and workplace skills), why add another goal? Promoting authentic intellectual work is not a project that adds a new or different educational goal. Instead, authentic intellectual work provides a framework for teaching and assessing any goal that relies on knowledge from an academic or applied discipline. The framework does not recommend how schools should arrive at priorities among the many tasks they are asked to perform. These issues must be resolved through democratic processes in local communities. The framework does insist, however, that whenever a school or teacher is involved in teaching content or skills from an academic or applied discipline, serious effort should be devoted to helping students produce authentic intellectual work. This position rests on three main points. Better Preparation for Demands of the Workplace, Citizenship, and Personal Affairs Studies of cognitive demands in modern workplaces document the importance of workers’ problem-solving skills, in-depth understanding of problems and specific vocational content on the job, and elaborated and nuanced forms of communication. While thousands of jobs continue to require only low-level skills, as a matter of fairness all students deserve the opportunity to be educated for the demands of more intellectually challenging workplaces. Public investment in education is justified not only for its contribution to individual economic success, but also for building civic competence in a democracy. From Aristotle to Jefferson, Dewey, and contemporary political scientists, the argument for democracy assumes that citizens are capable not only of

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basic literacy, but also of exercising principled and reasoned judgment about public affairs. Arriving at defensible positions on controversial public issues— from local disposal of environmental waste to national regulation of campaign financing or whether to vote for the candidate who most consistently agrees with your positions but is not likely to win—all require interpretation, evaluation, in-depth understanding, and elaborated communication that extends well beyond traditional tests of knowledge. Furthermore, education should reinforce intellectual competence needed to maximize individual health, safety, and personal fulfillment. Consider the intellectual competence required in contemporary society to care for one’s family and friends, to be safe and maintain health, to manage one’s time and resources, and to develop rewarding hobbies and relationships. Coping with escalating and often conflicting information in each of these areas presents daunting challenges of interpretation, analysis, synthesis, in-depth understanding of specific problems, and working with elaborate forms of written, oral, and electronic communication. Increased Student Engagement in Learning Participation in authentic intellectual activity is more likely to motivate and sustain students in the hard work that learning requires. Teachers report that authentic intellectual work is often more interesting and meaningful to students than repeated drills, lectures, and worksheets aimed at disconnected knowledge and skills. Our research indicates that students exposed to authentic intellectual challenges are more engaged in their schoolwork than students exposed to more conventional schoolwork. When students have opportunities to construct knowledge rather than only reproduce what they have been given, to understand topics deeply instead of only superficially, to express themselves by explaining their ideas, and to study topics that have some significance beyond the classroom, they are more likely to care about learning and be willing to devote the serious effort that learning requires. Increased opportunities for student engagement offered through authentic intellectual work lead to more effort, which pays off in increased student achievement on both basic skills and more complex intellectual challenges. Intellectual Mission Strengthens Professional Community The criteria for authentic intellectual work (along with more specific standards and rubrics for rating lessons, assignments, and student work2) provide a common language for teachers and administrators to use in describing the intellectual mission of the school, department, or teaching team when selecting curricular content and instructional activities, and when evaluating their progress and their students’ accomplishments. By defining the kinds of intellectual work to be nurtured in common across classes and grade levels, this framework

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transcends lists of content standards and skills, thereby strengthening unity on the academic purpose within the professional community. The criteria and specific standards can stimulate teacher dialogue and cooperative planning within and across courses, grade levels, and subjects. Because the dialogue is grounded in rigorous intellectual activities, the framework itself becomes more meaningful to professionals than vague school missions that provide little guidance to teachers for explicit, shared intellectual goals. Teachers can meaningfully collaborate to teach content and skills according to the criteria for authentic intellectual work. Research in schools across the United States and internationally has shown that when teachers’ lessons and assignments meet these criteria, students from diverse backgrounds score significantly higher on assessments of complex intellectual performance as well as on tests of basic knowledge and skills, compared to students in classes where teaching falls short on the criteria. As research uncovered substantial positive achievement benefits for students in Social Studies and other subject areas, we concluded that teachers should have opportunities for professional development to help them use the standards and rubrics to guide their teaching and assessment of student work. In working with several schools along these lines, we are encouraged by the results. Our goal is not to rule out traditional teaching but to strive for a more reasonable balance between traditional teaching and authentic intellectual work to enhance student engagement and learning. Research on Authentic Intellectual Work Avery, P.G., C. Freeman, and D.L. Carmichael-Tanaka. “Developing Authentic Instruction in the Social Studies.” Journal of Research in Education 12, no. 1 (2002): 50–56. King, M.B., J. Schroeder, and D. Chawszczweski. “Authentic Assessment and Student Performance in Inclusive Schools.” Brief No. 5. Madison, WI: Research Institute on Secondary Education Reform for Youth with Disabilities, September 2001. Available at www.wcer.wisc.edu/riser/ briefs.htm. Ladwig, J., M. Smith, J. Gore, W. Amosa, and T. Griffiths. “Quality of Pedagogy and Student Achievement: Multi-Level Replication of Authentic Pedagogy.” Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education conference, Freemantle, November 2007. Available at www.aare.edu.au/07/pap/lad07283.pdf. Marks, H.M. “Student Engagement in Instructional Activity: Patterns in Elementary, Middle and High Schools.” American Educational Research Journal 37, no. 1 (2000): 153–184. Newmann, F.M. & Associates. Authentic Achievement: Restructuring Schools for Intellectual Quality. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1996. Newmann, F.M., A.S. Bryk, and J. Nagaoka. “Authentic Intellectual Work and Standardized Tests: Conflict or Coexistence.” Chicago: Consortium on Chicago School Research, 2001. Available at ccsr.uchicago.edu/content/publications.php?pub_id=38. Newmann, F.M., M.B. King, and D.L. Carmichael. Authentic Instruction and Assessment: Common Standards for Rigor and Relevance in Teaching Academic Subjects. Des Moines, IA: Iowa Department of Education, 2007. Available at www.thedlcteam.com/DLC/AIW_Books.html. Newmann, F.M., H.M. Marks, and A. Gamoran. “Authentic Pedagogy and Student Performance.” American Journal of Education 104, no. 4 (1996): 280–312.

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Notes 1. This research was conducted at the Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools, and the Research Institute on Secondary Reform for Youth with Disabilities. 2. Available from http://www.thedlcteam.com/DLC/AIW_Books.html.

II Perspective Matters

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Education and Diversity JAMES A. BANKS, PETER COOKSON, GENEVA GAY, WILLIS D. HAWLEY, JACQUELINE JORDAN IRVINE, SONIA NIETO, JANET WARD SCHOFIELD, AND WALTER G. STEPHAN*

What do we know about education and diversity, and how do we know it? This two-part question guided the work of the Multicultural Education Consensus Panel, which included the eight scholars named above. The panel’s work was sponsored by the Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Washington and the Common Destiny Alliance at the University of Maryland. Our aim was not simply to respond individually to the question but, through deliberation, to arrive at a consensus. This brief article summarizes our consensus findings.1 We call our findings essential principles. They are designed to help educational practitioners in all types of schools increase student academic achievement and improve intergroup relations. Another aim is to help schools successfully meet the challenges of—and benefit from—the diversity that characterizes the United States and its schools. We believe that democratic societies are fragile works in progress. Their existence depends upon thoughtful citizens who believe in democratic ideals and are willing and able to participate in civic life. We believe that schools make * James A. Banks is the Kerry and Linda Killinger Professor of Diversity Studies and Director, Center for Multicultural Education, at the University of Washington, Seattle. Peter Cookson is Scholar in Residence, Yale Divinity School. Geneva Gay is Professor of Education and Faculty Associate, Center for Multicultural Education, at the University of Washington, Seattle. Willis D. Hawley is Professor Emeritus of Education and Public Affairs at the University of Maryland, College Park. Jacqueline Jordan Irvine is Professor Emeritus of Urban Education at Emory University, Atlanta. Sonia Nieto is Professor Emeritus of Language, Literacy, and Culture, School of Education, at the University of Massachusetts. Janet Ward Schofield is Professor of Psychology and Senior Scientist, Learning and Development Center, at the University of Pittsburgh. Walter G. Stephan is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at New Mexico State University.

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a difference in the lives of students and are essential to maintaining our democratic way of life. There are twelve essential principles organized into five categories: (1) Teacher Learning; (2) Student Learning; (3) Intergroup Relations; (4) School Governance, Organization, and Equity; and (5) Assessment. The categories overlap somewhat. Teacher Learning Principle 1: Professional development programs should help teachers understand the complex characteristics of ethnic groups within U.S. society and the ways in which race, ethnicity, language, and social class interact to influence student behavior. Continuing education about diversity is especially important for teachers because of the increasing cultural and ethnic gap that exists between the nation’s teachers and students. Effective professional development programs should help educators to: (1) uncover and identify their personal attitudes toward racial, ethnic, language, and cultural groups; (2) acquire knowledge about the histories and cultures of the diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, and language groups within the nation and within their schools; (3) become acquainted with the diverse perspectives that exist within different ethnic and cultural communities; (4) understand the ways in which institutionalized knowledge within schools, universities, and popular culture can perpetuate stereotypes about racial and ethnic groups; and (5) acquire the knowledge and skills needed to develop and implement equity pedagogy, defined by Banks as instruction that provides all students with an equal opportunity to attain academic and social success in school.2 Professional development programs should help teachers understand the complex characteristics of ethnic groups and how variables such as social class, religion, region, generation, extent of urbanization, and gender strongly influence ethnic and cultural behavior. These variables influence the behavior of groups both singly and interactively. Social class is one of the most important variables that mediate and influence behavior. In The Declining Significance of Race, Wilson argues that class is becoming increasingly important in the lives of African Americans.3 The increasing significance of class rather than the declining significance of race is a more accurate description of the phenomenon that Wilson describes. Racism continues to affect African Americans in every socialclass group, although it does so in complex ways that to some extent—but by no means always—reflect social-class status. Although students are not solely products of their cultures and vary in the degree to which they identify with them, there are some distinctive cultural behaviors that are associated with ethnic groups.4 Teachers should become knowledgeable about the distinctive cultural backgrounds of their students; they should also acquire the skills needed to translate that knowledge into

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effective instruction and an enriched curriculum.5 In these ways, teaching can be culturally responsive to students from diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, and language groups. Making teaching culturally responsive involves strategies such as constructing and designing relevant cultural metaphors and multicultural representations to help bridge the gap between what students already know and appreciate and what they will be taught. Culturally responsive instructional strategies transform information about the home and community into effective classroom practice. Research indicates that when teachers incorporate the cultures and languages of students into instruction the students’ academic achievement increases.6 Student Learning Principle 2: Schools should ensure that all students have equitable opportunities to learn and to meet high standards. Schools can be thought of as collections of opportunities to learn.7 A good school maximizes the learning experiences of students. One might judge the fairness of educational opportunity by comparing the learning opportunities students have within and across schools. The most important of these opportunities to learn are: (1) teacher quality (indicators include experience, preparation to teach the content being taught, participation in high-quality professional development, verbal ability, and teacher rewards and incentives); (2) a safe and orderly learning environment; (3) time actively engaged in learning; (4) student-teacher ratio; (5) rigor of the curriculum; (6) grouping practices that avoid tracking and rigid forms of student assignment based on past performance; (7) sophistication and currency of learning resources and information technology used by students; and (8) access to extra-curricular activities. Although the consequences of these different characteristics of schools vary with particular conditions, the available research suggests that when two or more cohorts of students differ significantly in their access to opportunities to learn, differences in the quality of education also exist.8 Such differences affect student achievement and can undermine the prospects for positive intergroup relations. The content of the lessons students are taught also influences the level of student achievement. This is hardly surprising, but the curriculum students experience, and the expectation of teachers and others about how much of the material students are expected to learn, varies from school to school. In general, students taught curricula that are more rigorous learn more than their peers with similar prior knowledge and backgrounds who are taught less rigorous curricula. To take a famous example from mathematics, early access to algebra leads to greater participation in higher math and increases academic achievement.

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Principle 3: The curriculum should help students understand that knowledge is socially constructed and reflects researchers’ personal experiences as well as the social, political, and economic contexts in which they live and work. In curriculum and teaching units and in textbooks, students often study historical events, concepts, and issues only or primarily from the points of view of the victors.9 The perspectives of the vanquished are frequently silenced, ignored, or marginalized. This kind of teaching privileges mainstream students—who most often identity with the victors or dominant groups—and cause many students of color to feel left out of the American story. Concepts such as the discovery of America, the westward movement, and pioneers are often taught primarily from the points of view of the European Americans who constructed them. The curriculum should help students understand how these concepts reflect the values and perspectives of European Americans as well as their experiences in the United States. Teachers should help students learn how these concepts have very different meanings for groups indigenous to America and for groups such as African Americans who came to America in chains. Teaching students the different and often conflicting meanings of concepts and issues for the diverse groups that make up the United States will help them to better understand the complex factors that contributed to the birth, growth, and development of the nation, to develop empathy for the points of views and perspectives that are normative within various groups, and to increase their ability to think critically. Principle 4: Schools should provide all students with opportunities to participate in extra- and cocurricular activities that develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes that increase academic achievement and foster positive interracial relationships. Research evidence that links student achievement to participation in extra- and cocurricular activities is increasing in quantity and consistency.10 Research supports the proposition that participation in after-school programs, sports activities, academic associations like language clubs, and schoolsponsored social activities contributes to academic performance, reduces high school drop-out rates and discipline problems, and enhances interpersonal skills among students from different ethnic backgrounds. Gutiérrez and her colleagues, for example, found that “non-formal learning contexts,” such as after-school programs, are useful in bridging home and school cultures for students from diverse groups.11 Braddock concluded that involvement in sports activities was particularly beneficial for African American male high school students.12 When designing extra-curricular activities, educators should give special attention to recruitment, selection of leaders and teams, the cost of participating, allocation of school resources, and opportunities for cooperative equal-status intergroup contact.

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Intergroup Relations Principle 5: Schools should create or make salient superordinate crosscutting group memberships in order to improve intergroup relations. Creating superordinate groups, or groups with which members of all the other groups in a situation identify, improves intergroup relations.13 When membership in superordinate groups is salient, other group differences become less important. Creating superordinate groups stimulates liking and cohesion, which can mitigate pre-existing animosities. In school settings there are many superordinate group memberships that can be created or made salient. For example, it is possible to create superordinate groups through extracurricular activities. There are also many existing superordinate group memberships that can be made more salient: the classroom, the grade level, the school, the community, the state, and even the nation. The most immediate superordinate groups (e.g., students or members of the school chorus rather than, say, Californians) are likely to be the most influential, but identification with any superordinate group can reduce prejudice. Principle 6: Students should learn about stereotyping and other related biases that have negative effects on racial and ethnic relations. We use categories in perceiving our environment because categorization is a natural part of information processing. But the mere act of categorizing people as ingroup and outgroup members can result in stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination.14 Specifically, making distinctions between groups often leads to perceiving the other group as more homogenous than one’s own group and to an exaggeration of the extent of the perceived group differences. Thus, categorizing leads to stereotyping and to behaviors influenced by those stereotypes. Intergroup contact can counteract stereotypes if the situation allows members of each group to behave in a variety of ways across different contexts so that their full humanity and diversity are displayed. Negative stereotypes can also be modified in noncontact situations by providing ingroup members with information about multiple outgroup members who disconfirm the stereotype across a variety of situations.15 Principle 7: Students should learn about the values shared by virtually all cultural groups (e.g., justice, equality, freedom, peace, compassion, and charity). Teaching students about the values that virtually all groups share, such as those described in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, can provide a basis for perceived similarity that can promote favorable intergroup relations.16 In addition, the values themselves serve to undercut negative intergroup relations by discouraging injustice, inequality, unfairness, conflict, and a lack of compassion or charity. The value of egalitarianism deserves special

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emphasis because a number of theories suggest that it can help to undermine stereotyping and prejudice and to restrict the direct expression of racism.17 Principle 8: Teachers should help students acquire the social skills needed to interact effectively with students from other racial, ethnic, cultural, and language groups. One of the most effective techniques for improving intercultural relations is to teach members of cultural groups the social skills necessary to interact effectively with members of another culture.18 Students need to learn how to perceive, understand, and respond to group differences. They need to learn not to give offense and not to take offense. They also need to be helped to realize that when members of other groups behave in ways that are inconsistent with ingroup norms these individuals are not necessarily behaving antagonistically. One intergroup relations trainer asks members of minority and majority groups to discuss what it feels like to be the target of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination.19 Sharing such information informs the majority group of the pain and suffering their intentional or thoughtless acts of discrimination cause. It also allows the members of minority groups to share their experiences with one another. Other techniques that involve sharing experiences through dialogue have also been found to improve intergroup relations.20 Conflict resolution is a skill that can be taught in the schools in order to improve intergroup relations.21 A number of school districts throughout the United States are teaching students to act as mediators for disputes among other students. This type of mediation holds promise as one approach to resolving certain intergroup conflicts in schools. Principle 9: Schools should provide opportunities for students from different racial, ethnic, cultural, and language groups to interact socially under conditions designed to reduce fear and anxiety. One of the primary causes of prejudice is fear.22 Fear leads members of social groups to avoid interacting with outgroup members and causes them discomfort when they do. Fears about members of other groups often stem from concern about realistic and symbolic threats to the ingroup—that the ingroup will lose some or all of its power or resources or that its very way of life will be undermined. Many such fears have little basis in reality or are greatly exaggerated. To reduce uncertainty and anxiety concerning interaction with outgroup members, the contexts in which interaction takes place should be relatively structured, the balance of members of the different groups should be as equal as possible, the probabilities of failure should be low, and opportunities for hostility and aggression should be minimized. Providing factual information that contradicts misperceptions can also counteract prejudice based on a false sense of threat. Stressing the value

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similarities that exist between groups should also reduce the degree of symbolic threat posed by outgroups and thus reduce fear and prejudice. School Governance, Organization, and Equity Principle 10: A school’s organizational strategies should ensure that decisionmaking is widely shared and that members of the school community learn collaborative skills and dispositions in order to create a caring environment for students. School policies and practices are the living embodiment of a society’s underlying values and educational philosophy. They also reflect the values of those who work within schools. Whether in the form of curriculum, teaching strategies, assessment procedures, disciplinary policies, or grouping practices, school policies do not emerge from thin air; they embody a school’s beliefs, attitudes, and expectations of its students.23 This is true whether the school is one with extensive or limited financial resources, with a relatively monocultural or a richly diverse student body, or located in a crowded central city or an isolated rural county. School organization and leadership can either enhance or detract from developing learning communities that prepare students for a multicultural and democratic society. Schools that are administered from the top-down are unlikely to create collaborative, caring cultures. Too often schools talk about democracy but fail to practice shared decision making. Powerful multicultural schools are organizational hubs that include a wide variety of stakeholders, including students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members. There is convincing research evidence that parental involvement, in particular, is critical in enhancing student learning.24 A just multicultural school is receptive to working with all members of the students’ communities. Principle 11: Leaders should develop strategies that ensure that all public schools, regardless of their locations, are funded equitably. School finance equity is a critical condition for creating just multicultural schools. The current inequities in the funding of public education are startling.25 Two neighborhoods, adjacent to one another, can provide wholly different support to their public schools, based on property values and tax rates. Students who live in poor neighborhoods are punished because they must attend schools that are underfunded when compared to the schools located in more affluent neighborhoods. Some policy makers and researchers argue that variations in funding are not strongly correlated with variations in student learning.26 This literature has convinced some policy makers and politicians that funding is not a critical issue in improving America’s schools. Investigators who have examined this situation more carefully have found that when funds are used for instructional purposes there are positive effects on student learning.27 Thus, schools that

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have adequate supplies and learning aids such as computers are more likely to increase student learning than schools without these supplies and aids. While this finding may seem obvious, it has been obscured by those who wish to substantially reduce funding for public education. Assessment Principle 12: Teachers should use multiple culturally sensitive techniques to assess complex cognitive and social skills. Evaluating the progress of students from diverse racial, ethnic, and socialclass groups is complicated by differences in language, learning styles, and cultures. Hence, the use of a single method of assessment will likely further disadvantage students from particular social classes and ethnic groups. Teachers should adopt a range of formative and summative assessment strategies that give students an opportunity to demonstrate mastery. These strategies should include observations, oral examinations, performances, and teacher-made as well as standardized measures and assessments. Students learn and demonstrate their competencies in different ways. The preferred mode of demonstrating task mastery for some is writing, while others do better speaking, visualizing, or performing; some are stimulated by competitive and others by cooperative learning arrangements; some prefer to work alone while others like to work in groups. Consequently, a variety of assessment procedures and outcomes that are compatible with different learning, performance, work, and presentation styles should be used to determine if students are achieving the levels of skill mastery needed to function effectively in a multicultural society. Conclusion Multicultural education is good education. Powerful multicultural schools help students from diverse racial, cultural, ethnic, and language groups to experience academic success. Academic knowledge and skills are essential in today’s global society, but they are not sufficient. Students must also develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to interact positively with people from diverse groups and to participate in the nation’s civic life. Diversity in the nation’s schools is both an opportunity and a challenge. The nation is enriched by the ethnic, cultural, and language diversity among its citizens and within its schools. However, whenever diverse groups interact, intergroup tension, stereotypes, and institutionalized discrimination develop. Schools must find ways to respect the diversity of their students as well as help to create a unified, superordinate nation-state to which all citizens have allegiance. Structural inclusion into the nation-state and power sharing will engender feelings of allegiance among diverse groups. E pluribus unum— diversity within unity—is the delicate goal toward which our nation and its schools should strive. We offer these design principles with the hope that they

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will help educational practitioners realize this elusive and difficult but essential goal of a democratic and pluralistic society. Notes 1. The full report, including a checklist that can be used within schools, is entitled Diversity within Unity: Essential Principles for Teaching and Learning in a Multicultural Society. It can be ordered from the Center for Multicultural Education, University of Washington. See the center’s website for ordering (and downloading) information: http://education.washington.edu/cme/. Select “Publications.” The Carnegie Corporation of New York generously supported the project. 2. James A. Banks, “Multicultural Education: Historical Development, Dimensions, and Practice,” in Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education, eds. James A. Banks and Cherry A. McGee Banks (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004), 3–29. 3. William Julius Wilson, The Declining Significance of Race: Blacks and Changing American Institutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978). 4. A. Wade Boykin, “The Triple Quandary and the Schooling of Afro-American Children,” in The School Achievement of Minority Children: New Perspectives, ed. Ulric Neisser (Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1986), 57–92. 5. Geneva Gay, Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research and Practice (New York: Teachers College Press, 2000). 6. Carol D. Lee, “A Culturally Based Cognitive Apprenticeship: Teaching African American High School Students Skills in Literary Interpretation,” Reading Research Quarterly 30 (1995): 608–630; and Carol D. Lee, “Is October Brown Chinese? A Cultural Modeling Activity System for Underachieving Students,” American Educational Research Journal 38 (2001): 97–142. 7. Linda Darling-Hammond, The Right to Learn (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1997). 8. Robert Dreeben and Adam Gamoran, “Race, Instruction, and Learning,” American Sociological Review 51 (1986): 660–669. 9. James A. Banks, Cultural Diversity and Education: Foundations, Curriculum and Teaching, 4th ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2001). 10. Jomills Braddock, “Bouncing Back: Sports and Academic Resilience among African-American Males,” Education and Urban Society 24 (1999): 113–131; Jacquelynne S. Eccles and Bonnie L. Barber, “Student Council, Volunteering, Basketball, or Marching Band: What Kind of Extracurricular Involvement Matters?,” Journal of Adolescence Research 14 (1999): 10–43; Jennifer A. Gootman, ed., After-School Programs to Promote Child and Adolescent Development: Summary of a Workshop (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2000). 11. Kris D. Gutiérrez, Patricia Baquedano-Lopez, Hector H. Alvarez, and Ming M. Chiu, “Building a Culture of Collaboration through Hybrid Language Practices,” Theory into Practice 38 (1999): 87–93. 12. Braddock, op. cit. 13. Samuel Gaertner, Mary Rust, John Dovidio, Betty Bachman, and Phyllis Anastasio, “The Contact Hypothesis: The Role of a Common Ingroup Identity on Reducing Intergroup Bias,” Small Group Research 25 (1994): 224–249. 14. Henri Tajfel and John C. Turner, “The Social Identity Theory of Intergroup Behavior,” in Psychology of Intergroup Relations, eds. Stephen Worchel and William G. Austin, 2nd ed. (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1986): 7–24. 15. Lucy Johnston and Miles Hewstone, “Cognitive Models of Stereotype Change,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 28 (1992): 360–386.

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16. Lawrence Kohlberg, Essays on Moral Development (New York: Harper and Row, 1981). 17. Samuel L. Gaertner and John F. Dovidio, “The Aversive Form of Racism,” in Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism, eds. John. F. Dovidio and Samuel L. Gaertner (Orlando, Fla.: Academic Press, 1986), 61–90; and Irwin Katz, David C. Glass, and Joyce Wackenhut, “An Ambivalence-Amplification Theory of Behavior toward the Stigmatized,” in Psychology of Intergroup Relations, eds. Stephen Worchel and William G. Austin, 2nd ed. (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1986), 103–117. 18. Stephen Bochner, “Culture Shock,” in Psychology and Culture, eds. Walter Lonner and Roy Malpass (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1994), 245–252. 19. Louis Kamfer and Daniel J. L. Venter, “First Evaluation of a Stereotype Reduction Workshop,” South African Journal of Psychology 24 (1994), 13–20. 20. Ximena Zúniga and Biren Nagda, “Dialogue Groups: An Innovative Approach to Multicultural Learning,” in Multicultural Teaching in the University, eds. David Schoem, Linda Frankel, Ximena Zúniga, and Edith Lewis (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1993), 233–248. 21. Morton Deutsch, “Cooperative Learning and Conflict Resolution in an Alternative High School,” Cooperative Learning 13 (1993): 2–5. 22. Samuel L. Gaertner and John F. Dovidio, op. cit.; and Walter G. Stephan, Reducing Prejudice and Stereotyping in Schools (New York: Teachers College Press, 1999). 23. Sonia Nieto, The Light in Their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities (New York: Teachers College Press, 1999). 24. Joyce L. Epstein, “School and Family Partnerships,” in Encyclopedia of Educational Research, ed., Marvin C. Alkin, 6th ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 1139–51. 25. Jonathan Kozol, Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools (New York: Crown Publishers, 1991). 26. Eric A. Hanushek, “School Resources and Student Performance,” in Does Money Matter? The Effect of School Resources on Student Achievement and Adult Success, ed. Gary Burtless (Washington, D.C.: Brookings, 1994), 43–73. 27. Robert Dreeben and Adam Gamoran, “Race, Instruction, and Learning,” American Sociological Review 51, no. 5 (1986): 660–669.

8

Isn’t Culturally Responsive Instruction Just Good Teaching?

KATHRYN H. AU*

I’m standing just inside the door of the third-grade classroom where I’m scheduled to conduct observations. In this elementary school on the Wai‘anae Coast of the island of O‘ahu, about 60 percent of the students in this school are of Native Hawaiian ancestry, while about 20 percent are Filipino, about 5 percent White, and another 5 percent Samoan. Almost all speak Hawai‘i Creole English (a nonmainstream variety of English) as their home language. About two-thirds come from families living in poverty, including homeless families camping on the nearby beaches. The school day hasn’t officially begun, but students are entering the room, signing in by flipping their name cards, and going quickly to their seats. They look at the whiteboard to read the teacher’s message, make sure their homework is ready to be checked, and get out a book to read. By the time the bell rings, the students are settled at their desks, ready to begin the day. The teacher walks to the front of the room, makes a few announcements, and launches into her first lesson, which requires the students to work in small groups to comprehend, summarize, and generate questions about a newspaper article. At the same time, students assigned to take attendance and the lunch count and to collect homework carry out their tasks independently. I’m impressed by how quickly the students have become engaged in challenging academic work, by how self-directed they seem, and by the teacher’s calm yet business-like manner. This smoothly running classroom, in which the teacher and students are obviously in tune with one another, shows many features of culturally responsive instruction. I sensed that the classroom belonged as much to students as it did to the teacher, that the students felt “at home” in school. I saw that both students and teacher were focused on academic learning, another hallmark of culturally responsive instruction. I noticed that the teacher had built in time for * Kathryn H. Au, formerly of the University of Hawaii, is Chief Executive Officer, SchoolRise, LLC.

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students to work in small groups, that there was a place for collaboration and cooperation in the classroom. Culturally responsive instruction appears to offer the potential to improve students’ academic achievement and chances for success in school. However, it is not easy to see how culturally responsive instruction can be applied, especially in classrooms with students of many different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In the first section of this article I discuss the key characteristics of culturally responsive instruction. In the second section I respond to three frequently asked questions about culturally responsive instruction. In the final section I discuss practical implications in terms of classroom structures for participation. Culturally Responsive Instruction: What Is It? Culturally responsive instruction resides firmly within a pluralist vision of society,1 which recognizes that the cultures of different ethnic groups provide content worthy of inclusion in the curriculum. Culturally responsive instruction aims at school success for students of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, acknowledging that a disproportionate number of these students typically experience failure in school. To close the achievement gap between students of diverse backgrounds and their mainstream peers, we use culturally responsive instruction—teaching that allows students to succeed academically by building on background knowledge and experiences gained in the home and community. Three Key Questions I teach in an urban school, and my students come from a dozen or more different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Can teachers in a multiethnic setting like mine still use culturally responsive instruction? Yes, you certainly can, although you will need to think carefully about how you will implement culturally responsive instruction. This question grows from the fact that much of the research on culturally responsive instruction has been conducted in classrooms in which the majority of students are from one particular ethnic group. For example, my research linked the classroom use of talk story, a speech event observed among Native Hawaiians, to improved reading performance in Hawaiian children.2 These and similar studies seem to highlight a precise match between instructional practices and students’ cultural backgrounds. Many teachers feel that they cannot achieve such a match, because they teach in settings in which students come from many different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. There is, however, another way of applying research on culturally responsive instruction to multiethnic, multilingual settings. This approach involves identifying patterns of instruction consistent with a diverse worldview that resonates with the cultural values of many nonmainstream groups.3

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Gollnick and Chinn4 identified individualism and freedom as paramount values of the dominant group, a conclusion supported in research by Spindler and Spindler.5 These and related mainstream values, shown in the first column of Table 8.1, underlie dominant society beliefs about how schooling should be conducted. In contrast, consider a diverse worldview based on beliefs in the importance of working with others and cooperation, as shown in the second column of Table 8.1. In the diverse worldview, cooperation allows challenges to be met more easily, as members of the group all bring their thoughts and efforts to bear. What is important is the well-being of the group, especially the family, extended family, or kinship network. These values are shared by many students of diverse backgrounds and their families. As you can see, both the mainstream and diverse worldviews have positive features, and it is not a matter of having to choose between the two. In the classroom, students are likely to benefit from a classroom environment in which they have experiences with both kinds of values. The challenge is to make sure that values reflected in the diverse worldview find a place in the classroom because patterns typically observed in classrooms tend to reflect primarily mainstream values. Classroom and home settings should remain distinct and different from one another, so that teachers can carry out classroom activities in a manner that promotes academic achievement, and families can carry out their lives in a manner consistent with their own goals. In other words, culturally responsive instruction does not involve duplicating home and community settings in the classroom. Instead of duplication, think of culturally responsive instruction in terms of hybridity.6 Hybridity refers to the creative blending of elements from students’ home cultures with elements typical of the classroom and academic learning. In culturally responsive instruction, the teacher is creating hybrid settings that (1) have a focus on academic goals that students of diverse backgrounds, like all other students, should meet to do well in school and in later Table 8.1 Mainstream and Diverse Values Mainstream

Diverse

Individual effort

Working with others

Competition

Cooperation

Personal achievement

Well-being of the group

Success measured in material terms

Success measured in spiritual terms

Independence

Interdependence

People control nature

People live in harmony with nature

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life and (2) provide students with a comfortable, understandable environment that enables them to meet these goals. Can mainstream teachers who are outsiders to the students’ cultures still implement culturally responsive instruction? Again, the answer is yes. A finding common to all the research reviews is that teachers of mainstream backgrounds, as well as teachers of diverse backgrounds, can successfully use culturally responsive instruction and teach students of diverse backgrounds. For example, in my study of talk story-like reading lessons,7 one of the teachers, Teacher LC, was a mainstream teacher. Although initially unsuccessful in conducting reading lessons with young Hawaiian students, Teacher LC learned after a year to use talk story-like participation structures and to link her lessons to students’ interests. LadsonBillings’ study8 of teachers effective in promoting the literacy of African American students included five African Americans and three European Americans. Although teachers who share their students’ cultural backgrounds may have an advantage in establishing positive relationships and providing students with effective instruction, other teachers can definitely learn to adjust their teaching to become more effective. Isn’t culturally responsive instruction just good teaching, and shouldn’t good teaching be the same in every setting? This time the answer is no. To understand why, consider this statement from Geneva Gay: Many educators still believe that good teaching transcends place, people, time, and context. They contend it has nothing to do with the class, race, gender, ethnicity, or culture of students and teachers. This attitude is manifested in the expression “Good teachers anywhere are good teachers everywhere.” Individuals who subscribe to this belief fail to realize that their standards of “goodness” in teaching and learning are culturally determined and are not the same for all ethnic groups. The structures, assumptions, substance, and operations of conventional educational enterprises are European American cultural icons. . . .9 In other words, to advocate a universal concept of good teaching may actually amount to advocating teaching from a European American or mainstream perspective. It remains true that certain general principles of good teaching appear widely applicable. An example of such a principle is establishing positive relationships with students. However, the way these principles are instantiated may well differ depending on the cultural backgrounds of the students. For example, a teacher may seek to establish positive relationships with students by praising them by name: “Noah is doing a great job of organizing his ideas in a

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web.” In the eyes of some students, however, the teacher may inadvertently have violated the cultural value of working for the good of the group rather than calling attention to one’s individual accomplishments. The teacher’s wellintentioned comment may cause the student to feel uncomfortable and to be looked down upon by his peers.10 Instead, this teacher could try to establish positive relationships with students by praising a small group of students or referring to the students’ good work indirectly: “Team B, you’re doing a wonderful job of organizing your ideas in webs.” As this example implies, the way we usually “do school” is itself a form of culturally responsive instruction, in this case, instruction responsive to the cultural backgrounds of mainstream students. From this perspective, it becomes apparent that the concept of culturally responsive instruction is applicable to all students, those of mainstream as well as diverse backgrounds. In both cases, the idea is that students have a better chance of experiencing academic success and of reaching high levels of literacy when instruction is responsive to their cultural backgrounds. Classroom Structures for Participation How can teachers adjust classroom structures for participation so that instruction becomes culturally responsive? Teachers can make these adjustments by using a variety of different groupings and interactional patterns in their classrooms. Some of these structures for participation will be consistent with a mainstream worldview oriented toward individual achievement, while others will be consistent with a diverse worldview oriented toward the well-being of the group. Both are important, because culturally responsive instruction is never intended to limit students’ learning only to structures for participation that they already find comfortable. Whole Class Lessons Whole class lessons usually require students to learn at the same pace and to conform to the same expectations for behavior. These expectations for conformity mean that teachers tend to rely on classroom recitation to keep the students under tight control. In classroom recitation, the teacher singles out individual students to answer questions.11 In classrooms with many African American or Native Hawaiian students, to give two examples, use of individual recitation during whole class lessons often leads to difficulty, because teachers make themselves visible targets for students’ disruptive behavior.12 Rather than being the most easily managed arrangement, whole class lessons may actually turn out to be the most difficult to manage, especially for novice teachers. The solution is to use whole class instruction judiciously, such as for minilessons lasting about 10 to 15 minutes.13 During this time, teachers provide instruction in new content, strategies, and skills, and set the tone and focus for the small group and independent work to follow.

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Teachers who use whole-class instruction effectively in classrooms with many African American students, Native Hawaiian students, and others consider the pace of interaction. Teachers in some classrooms—notably, with many African American students—find that a brisk, rhythmic pace, including choral responding, works well.14 Teachers in other classrooms, such as those with many Native American students, may find it effective to speak in a slower, measured manner.15 Another factor is the means by which students obtain turns at speaking. Students from some cultural backgrounds are very comfortable with raising their hands and eager to be chosen. Students from other cultural backgrounds are reluctant to volunteer to speak, even when they have many ideas to share.16 These students may believe that responding in front of the whole class is a form of showing off, bragging, or putting oneself above others. In these situations, in order to involve all students, teachers may want to vary the participation structure. Specifically, instead of relying on students to volunteer, the teacher may have each student in turn give a brief response. Another factor relates to whether or not students have had time to prepare their responses to teachers’ questions. Students from some cultural groups are taught at home to rehearse, practice, and otherwise prepare themselves before displaying their knowledge.17 Students from some cultural groups may be especially hesitant about sharing their responses when questions require interpretation or speculation rather than factual answers, because they have been taught to provide the answers expected by the teacher.18 To get around this problem, teachers can pose a question and have students discuss their ideas with a partner or a small group of three or four. A representative of each pair or small group then shares a key idea or answer with the whole class. Teacher-led Small Group Lessons Teacher-led small group lessons provide students with many opportunities to respond and to receive recognition for their efforts from both the teacher and peers. When the small group includes no more than six students, everyone usually feels obliged to make a contribution, and a student’s lack of participation is readily noticed. Small group lessons often provide teachers with the most valuable instructional time, both to engage students actively with academic concepts and vocabulary and to establish positive relationships with students. As in whole class lessons, teachers must continue to attend to issues of turntaking and pacing. If the teacher allows students to speak when they have something to say, instead of tightly controlling turntaking, small group lessons become consistent with a worldview oriented toward the well-being of the group and cooperation. To establish a collaborative tone to the lessons, teachers must avoid calling on students and instead allow students to determine when they will speak. Some students have ideas to offer but do not know how to enter the conversation on their own, particularly if it is fast-paced. If the teacher sees

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that a student wants to speak but has not been able to do so, the teacher can make a space by quieting the group. For example, the teacher might say, “Excuse me, let’s stop for a moment to see if Sarah has anything to add. Sarah, do you have an idea to share?” Small group discussions may proceed at a brisk pace, as in talk story-like reading lessons, or the pace may need to be more leisurely. Teachers should watch students for clues about their comfort with the pace of the lesson and make adjustments accordingly. For example, research suggests that teachers in classrooms with Native American students may need to wait an extra moment to be sure students have finished speaking and do not feel interrupted.19 Student-led Small Groups To make sure that student-led small groups are organized in a manner consistent with a diverse worldview, the teacher can guide students to set the ground rules to be followed during these small group discussions. These ground rules can reinforce values of cooperation. For example, the fourth graders in Torry Montes’ class agreed that everyone should participate and that shy students would be invited to join the conversation.20 Rules such as these promote collaboration rather than competition among students within the group. Student-led small groups in the form of book clubs21 can be used to promote higher level thinking about text. Teachers can take a number of steps to enhance students’ ability to engage in thoughtful discussions about biographies, historical fiction, and other texts and so make good use of the time in book clubs. Teachers should make sure all students have access to the text, for example, by having struggling readers engage in partner reading or giving them access to a listening center where they can hear the book on audiotape or CD. In general, teachers should model the kinds of comments students might make about the text, such as offering interpretations or making personal connections, as well as giving students help with learning how to ask open-ended questions. Teachers can have students observe and comment upon live or videotaped book club discussions, so that students see the difference between productive and unproductive conversations. Some groups of students, such as the African American students observed by Florio-Ruane,22 may have the skills to engage in discussions of literature with little or no teacher guidance. Another valuable use of student-led small groups involves having students work together to complete a project. For example, in a thematic unit on civil rights, one small group might choose to conduct research on Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott. Students in the group pull together information from a number of different sources, and summarize their information in a written report. They can devise other ways to share their information with the class, such as through web pages or dramatization. In some cases, as in classrooms with many Native Hawaiian students, teachers should not assign roles for members of the student-led groups but let

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students work out these roles on their own. Native Hawaiian students, for example, often have considerable experience working with their siblings and cousins to accomplish tasks, and so know how to organize a small group to reach a common goal. In other cases, small groups may function more smoothly if the teacher assigns students roles, such as recorder or reporter. This approach may be necessary if students prefer to work on their own, are not accustomed to working with their peers, or come from cultural backgrounds with an orientation toward individual accomplishment. Individual or Independent Work Time Obviously, if students of diverse backgrounds are to be successful in school, they need to learn to work on their own. The ability to complete academic tasks independently is valued in school settings oriented toward individual achievement and competition and that emphasize standardized or state tests. As with the previous three structures for participation, teachers should discuss the expectations and rules for participating appropriately with students. For example, in a primary grade classroom, the teacher might explain the situation to students in the following way: Today you’re going to be reading a section in your social studies textbook. Your job is to read this section on your own and then write the answers to the three questions. We’re going to be doing this work in a different way. Usually, if you need help, you can ask someone at your table. With this work, you cannot ask anyone at your table. If you need help, you will raise your hand and wait for me to come over to you. The reason we’re doing things this way is so that I can see the kind of social studies reading you can do on your own. This information will help me know what I need to teach you. Do you have any questions about what we’re going to be doing now? In this explanation, the teacher has made the rules for participation explicit for the students. This new structure for participation has been contrasted to the structure with which students are familiar. The teacher has given the students the reason that this structure for participation is being used. However, despite the teacher’s clear explanation, it may not be easy for students to engage successfully in this new participation structure on the first few tries. In order to support students’ learning of these new rules for participation, the teacher should take a few minutes at the end of the lesson for a whole-class discussion. During this discussion, the teacher has the students evaluate their performance during the activity and provide suggestions about how they might improve their performance the next time. It takes time for students of diverse backgrounds to learn to participate appropriately in new structures, particularly if those structures reflect an individualistic, competitive worldview.

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A final insight about individual work time is provided by Philips, who observed that Native American students used this time to approach the teacher for help with their work.23 These students preferred to receive assistance from the teacher individually and in private, rather than during whole-class or smallgroup lessons. This study suggests that teachers in multiethnic classrooms may want to make themselves available for individual conferences with students at some time during the school day. The teacher may have students sign up for these conferences in advance, as during the writers’ workshop, or students may simply come over to the teacher’s desk when no other student is there. Conclusion Yes, culturally responsive instruction is good teaching. But I hope it has become clear that what constitutes good teaching—teaching that helps all students to learn and prosper in school—may vary from setting to setting. This means that teachers cannot follow a simple formula for implementing culturally responsive instruction but must creatively experiment and make adjustments until they find the right combination of structures for participation. Teachers who wish to use culturally responsive instruction in multiethnic classrooms have the challenge of organizing to create a place for different structures for participation over the course of a week, if not a day. This variety of structures for participation is necessary if students of diverse cultural backgrounds are to engage successfully in academic learning, at least part of the time, from the beginning of the school year. As the year goes on, teachers enable students to participate effectively in structures that may initially have been unfamiliar or uncomfortable. The opportunities for academic learning available to students of diverse backgrounds increase as they begin to engage successfully in all the structures for participation commonly found in school, those consistent with a worldview oriented toward competition as well as with a worldview oriented toward cooperation. In this way, culturally responsive instruction offers the potential for closing the achievement gap so often seen between students of diverse backgrounds and their mainstream peers. Notes 1. Gollnick, D. M., & Chinn, P. C. (2002). Multicultural education in a pluralistic society (sixth ed.). Upper Saddle River NJ: Merrill Prentice-Hall. 2. Au, K., & Mason, J. M. (1981). Social organizational factors in learning to read: The balance of rights hypothesis. Reading Research Quarterly, 17(1), 115–152. 3. Spindler, G., & Spindler, L. (1990). The American cultural dialogue and its transmission. London: Falmer Press. 4. Gollnick & Chinn, op cit. 5. Spindler & Spindler, op cit. 6. Au, K. (2006). Multicultural issues and literacy achievement. Mahwah NJ: Erlbaum. 7. Au & Mason, op cit. 8. Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The dreamkeepers: Successful teachers of African American children. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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9. Gay, G. (2000). Culturally responsive teaching. New York: Teachers College Press, p. 22. 10. See Philips, S. U. (1983). The invisible culture: Communication in classroom and community on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. New York: Longman. 11. Au, op cit; and Mehan, H. (1979). Learning lessons: Social organization in the classroom. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. 12. D’Amato, J. (1988). “Acting”: Hawaiian children’s resistance to teachers. Elementary School Journal, 88(5), 529–544. 13. Routman, R. (2000). Conversations: Strategies for teaching, learning, and evaluating. Portsmouth NH: Heinemann. 14. Hollins, E. R. (1982). The Marva Collins story revisited. Journal of Teacher Education, 33(1), 37–40. 15. Erickson, F., & Mohatt, G. (1982). Cultural organization of participation structures in two classrooms of Indian students. In G. B. Spindler (Ed.), Doing the ethnography of schooling: Educational anthropology in action (pp. 132–174). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. 16. Boggs, S. T. (1972). The meaning of questions and narratives to Hawaiian children. In C. Cazden, V. John & D. Hymes (Eds.), Functions of language in the classroom (pp. 299–327). New York: Teachers College Press. 17. Philips, op cit. 18. Wong-Fillmore, L., Ammon, P., McLaughlin, B., & Ammon, M. (1985). Learning English through bilingual education (final report). Washington DC: National Institute of Education. 19. Vogt, L. A., Jordan, C., & Tharp, R. G. (1987). Explaining school failure, producing school success: Two cases. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 18(4), 276–286. 20. Montes, T. H., & Au, K. H. (2003). Book Club in a fourth-grade classroom: Issues of ownership and response. In R. L. McCormack & J. R. Paratore (Eds.), After early intervention, then what? Teaching struggling readers in grade 3 and beyond (pp. 70– 93). Newark DE: International Reading Association. 21. Raphael, T. E., & McMahon, S. I. (1994). Book Club: An alternative framework for reading instruction. The Reading Teacher, 48(2), 102–116. 22. Florio-Ruane, S. (2004, October). Personal communication (email message). 23. Philips, op cit.

9

Silence on Gays and Lesbians in Social Studies Curriculum STEPHEN J. THORNTON*

Imagine, as was once the case, that today’s social studies curriculum measured all else against a standard of being male, Protestant, and Anglo-Saxon.1 Women, African Americans, Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians, Jews, and Muslims, not to mention other religious, ethnic, and racial groups, would react with righteous outrage. With justification, we can claim that today’s social studies curriculum has become more inclusive of a range of groups and perspectives within and beyond the United States. Although still imperfect, the contemporary K-12 social studies curriculum has moved away from the tacit equating of “American” with, for example, Protestant, or Christian for that matter. At least one major exception to this legitimation of diversity persists: it is still tacitly assumed that everyone is heterosexual until proven otherwise. Despite striking growth in social, political, legal, and media presence of gays in American life, especially in the past decade,2 few social studies materials appear to have substantive treatment of gay history and issues. Indeed, many of these materials fail to even mention such words as homosexual, straight, or gay. It is as if the millions of gay inhabitants of the United States, past and present, did not exist. Although scholarship studied in colleges is now sometimes rich with gay material, Americans who do not attend college—and the least educated are precisely those who are most inclined to be prejudiced against gay people3—are unlikely to hear of such scholarship. The belief that the archetypal human is straight is called heteronormativity. It belies an inclusive curriculum. Moreover, it encourages stereotypes. As James Banks has warned, using a “mainstream” benchmark against which group differences are measured promotes “a kind of ‘we-they’ attitude among mainstream students and teachers.”4 Banks’s observation about multiethnic education seems equally applicable to the study of homosexuals: “Ethnic content should be used to help students learn that all human beings have common * Stephen J. Thornton is Professor and Chair, Department of Secondary Education, at the University of South Florida.

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needs and characteristics, although the ways in which these traits are manifested frequently differ cross-culturally.”5 Heteronormativity goes basically unchallenged in teaching materials for K-12 social studies. Unless children are raised in a limited number of locales or have teachers who go beyond what the textbook provides, they may graduate from high school being none the wiser that heteronormativity paints an inaccurate picture of social life and perpetuates intolerance, sometimes with tangibly destructive consequences such as harassment and physical violence.6 Curricular Limitations of Current Inclusion The social studies curriculum, because it must make some attempt at describing the world as it is, has always dealt with “difference.” The debate, as Margaret Smith Crocco shows, has centered on what the differences are and how they have been dealt with.7 The common failure even to mention the existence of lesbians and gay men (let alone bisexual and transgender persons) clearly clashes with gay matters today being a visible part of the public landscape in most of America. Thus, a first step that social studies educators need to take is frank acknowledgment that differences in sexual orientation (and other taboo subjects such as religion) exist in America.8 To put it another way, educators must answer the question, Does everybody count as human?9 One current and widely used U.S. history high school textbook is illustrative of the current failures. In its treatment of postwar African American novelists, James Baldwin is described as writing about “patterns of discrimination” directed toward blacks. This point is placed as a precursor to the struggle against racial injustice in the civil rights era. The text is silent, however, about Baldwin’s being both African American and homosexual. He wrote eloquently of “patterns of discrimination” directed toward gay men. For example, in Giovanni’s Room and in Another Country, which were written in the same postwar and civil rights period of American history, Baldwin explores how young gay men fled prejudice in family and community in the United States for the relative anonymity of Paris.10 This silence on homosexual expatriate writers stands in stark contrast to the treatment of heterosexual expatriate writers. U.S. history textbooks routinely discuss the “lost generation” of the 1920s, the group of literary artists such as Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald who, disillusioned with American materialism, traveled to Paris searching for meaning. Their fictional characters and the motives of these characters are frequently canonized in high school history textbooks, while Baldwin’s fictional gay characters and the motives of his characters go unmentioned. The same silences that characterize the American history curriculum appear in global history and geography. Take the subject of human rights. There has been a great deal of attention, especially since September 11, 2001, to the oppression of Afghan women by the harsh, extremist brand of Islam embraced

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by the Taliban. Properly, this denial of basic human rights to women has widely stood condemned both in the West and in the Islamic world. But no such condemnation of systematic persecution of gay men (or allegedly gay men) in parts of the Islamic world, such as recently in Egypt, appears in the curriculum although, as with Afghan women, the persecution rests on these men simply for being who they are. Social studies courses most directly devoted to citizenship, such as government and civics, routinely extol the freedoms Americans enjoy because they are Americans. That such freedoms still extend only to some people and not to others, however, is likely to go unmentioned in textbooks. For example, unlike important allies such as the United Kingdom, of whose armed forces in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf we have heard so much recently, U.S. armed forces legally discriminate against lesbians and gay men. Although American youngsters will certainly study American freedoms in social studies courses, they may never be told or question that other closely associated nations also extend freedoms to gays that are denied them in the United States. American history and government texts justifiably vaunt our belief in self-evident rights dating back to at least 1776; they omit that some of these rights are selectively available depending on a person’s sexual orientation. The limitations of the current curriculum, however, run deeper than exclusion from history and other courses. Although acknowledgment of the humanity of gay people and democratic tolerance for them should be fundamental, these aims fail to strike at the heart of heteronormativity. While it is generally acknowledged that the social studies should prepare young people for citizenship, gay people are vulnerable to the way freedom to participate fully in the affairs of the state is defined. At present, as Nel Noddings writes, it seems that “to improve their status, the vulnerable must either become more like the privileged or accept some charitable form of the respect taken for granted by those acknowledged as full citizens.”11 In other words, even if gay people were identified as gay people in the curriculum, this begs the questions of what should be said about them and from what perspectives. The Hidden Curriculum Everybody Sees The hidden curriculum of schools rigidly patrols the boundaries of sex role behavior. Homophobia is common in American schools.12 Although unmentioned in the publicly announced curriculum, all young people learn that sex role deviance, actual or perceived, exacts a heavy price. It is surely one of the most successful exercises in social training that schools perform. Moreover, this unannounced curriculum functions in practically all schools regardless of racial and ethnic composition, social class, and so forth. Indeed, young people who are themselves oppressed by poverty, crime, or racial mistreatment frequently become oppressors of peers perceived to be gay.13 Whether by choice or neglect, school professionals are implicated in

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patrolling sex role boundaries.14 In corridors and classrooms, for example, few if any taunts are more common than “fag,” and embedded in history textbooks are messages about what it means to behave in a “masculine” fashion.15 In other parts of school grounds such as parking lots, bathrooms, and locker rooms, where youngsters are frequently unsupervised by adults who know them, sex role deviations sometimes meet with physical violence. There seems to be a variety of motives for how teachers respond to all of this. Some teachers may be afraid of being labeled “gay” if they correct students for bigoted behavior. Disturbingly, some teachers appear to agree with condemnations of perceived departures from “normal” sex roles; girls must be “feminine” and boys must not be “effeminate.” They may ignore, and sometimes even encourage, harassment of students perceived to be gay. Administrators and teachers may counsel harassed students to avoid “flaunting” their allegedly deviant behavior, in effect, blaming the victim.16 What is clear is that administrators and teachers are not being neutral or impartial when they ignore this hidden curriculum. Silence, far from neutral, implicitly condones continuation of the persecution. Studies have long shown that depression and suicide are far more common among youngsters who are gay than among their straight peers.17 School professionals—classroom teachers, administrators, counselors, and librarians—are frequently the only responsible adults to whom these at-risk children can turn for both needed support and equal educational opportunities. Toward More Inclusive Curriculum It is too easy for educators to feel absolved of responsibility because authorities have frequently omitted gay people and gay issues from curriculum documents and materials. Moreover, censorship of gay material is commonplace. Ominously, these forms of neglect exist alongside a persistent countermovement. Every step forward for the well-being of gay students and a curriculum more inclusive of lesbian and gay experience has been doggedly challenged by anti-gay groups.18 Teachers have choices. All teachers are curricular-instructional gatekeepers —they largely decide the day-to-day curriculum and activities students experience.19 How teachers enact curriculum, even with today’s constraints such as standards and high-stakes tests, still matters both practically and ethically. Opportunities to incorporate at least some gay material into the standard curriculum exist; in many instances, all that is required is the will to call attention to aspects of standard subject matter that heretofore went unmentioned. Quite a few inclusion opportunities in mainstay secondary school courses such as U.S. history, world history, and geography present themselves. No U.S. history survey textbook that I have seen, for instance, omits Jane Addams. She is rightly portrayed as one of the nation’s greatest social and educational thinkers and activists, not to mention her formidable work for world peace.

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Addams never married. She chose to spend her adult life among a community of women and had a long-time special relationship with one woman.20 This may raise ample opportunities for properly directed class discussion: What did it mean that a considerable number of educated women of Addams’s means and generation chose to forsake marriage and pursue careers beyond domesticity? Were they models for gender equity for later generations of women’s rights and equity advocates? Note, we have not directly addressed Addams’s sexual orientation. (The evidence, in any case, seems inconclusive.) Perhaps more important than a rush or need to judge, however, is to ask if this woman’s accomplishments would be diminished or enhanced by such knowledge. Or a primary educational objective could be to understand how Addams, who rejected some gender conventions for her day, helped shape her times and her legacy for today. Her significance, in this scheme, incorporates the complexities and controversial aspects of her life as well as speaking to different but nonetheless related questions today. Other topics such as the ancient world in global history courses provide different pathways to incorporate the gay experience. Again, let me underscore that we are still working with standard material in the curriculum. No new instructional materials are required. Specialist knowledge, while as desirable as ever, is unessential. Take the topic of Alexander the Great. One high school world history textbook I examined, for example, shows how, through his military genius and statesmanship, Alexander built a “multicultural” empire. Although adjectives such as “multicultural” (and “gay” for that matter) are anachronistic here, the point for today’s readers seems plain enough: Alexander was a leader, probably before his time, in building what we might call today an inclusive society. Here we might pause to challenge how inclusive (or “multicultural”) this textbook treatment is. No mention is made of Alexander’s homosexuality. Teachers, however, could readily place Alexander’s homosexuality in its cultural and temporal context. In those terms, his sexual orientation was relatively unremarkable. Sensitively approached, such a perspective may lead students to rethink stereotypes of both warriors and homosexuals. Classical Greece provides numerous opportunities to explore beyond the information given. Textbooks routinely feature photographs of idealized male images such as Greek athletes and actors. Why did the Greeks so prize the male form? What does it reveal about their culture? How does it relate to today’s notions of athleticism and the arts? How is the ideal of male community perpetuated by today’s college campus fraternities? Of course, gay materials may also be an instructional focus rather than ancillary to the main part of a lesson or unit. In U.S. history courses, a unit on the civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s is standard. These days a wide range of groups in addition to African Americans are often featured in this unit, such

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as Latinos, women, Native Americans, and so forth. But seldom does this extend to gay people. Such a unit could be made more genuinely inclusive if it also included a lesson devoted to a turning point in civil rights for gay people, such as the 1969 Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village, New York City. Although much more the exception than the rule, teachers in some parts of the country have designed instructional sequences on gay topics longer than a lesson or two. One civics teacher, for example, as part of a nineweek unit on “Tolerance and Diversity,” included a two-week mini-unit on “Homophobia Prevention.” He has written of the experience and materials he used.21 Current events instruction is also a ready site for dealing with gay material. By way of illustration, recently published secondary school American history textbooks are silent on the “history” of former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gays in the military. Teachers, however, could still treat this rights topic in the classroom because the media report on it with some regularity. A good issue for critical thinking might be why the number of persons discharged from the armed forces for their homosexuality has continued to rise in the decade since the supposed implementation of the policy.22 Conclusion Even concerned and willing educators face some significant obstacles to incorporating gay material in the curriculum. Many veteran teachers may never have studied gay material during their preservice teacher education programs, either in academic or professional courses. As noted, this situation has changed somewhat in the academy today in courses in history, the social sciences, and literature. In teacher education, too, the situation has altered. “Student sexual diversity guidelines for teachers” now appear in some teacher education textbooks, for instance.23 Furthermore, explicit training for and sensitivity to inclusion is now common in teacher education programs in diverse regions of the nation. We probably shouldn’t expect, however, in-service workshops devoted to gay subject matter to arise everywhere in the nation any time soon. But nearly everywhere the legal realities of protecting the rights of gay students, if nothing else, may compel some staff development.24 Heteronormativity is also a concern because many students in our schools now have parents who are gay or lesbian. These children have the same rights to an equal education as do their peers whose parents are heterosexual. About ten years ago, however, a storm of controversy erupted in New York City when it was suggested that the children’s book Heather Has Two Mommies even be allowed as an option to be included on a several hundred-page list of curriculum ideas on diversity from which teachers might choose.25 Although it is now most noticeable in large cities, many schoolchildren across the nation have lesbian or gay parents. Yet only “traditional” families tend to be included in the curriculum. Despite Heather’s apparent sensitivity to

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appropriate treatment for the intended age group, this failed to prevent its being removed from the list of suggested (not mandated) books. However, at least some more encouraging reports of teachers addressing the issue of nontraditional families have appeared more recently. For example, one New York City teacher reported on positive outcomes from teaching a novel to middle school students that concerned a boy coming to terms with his father’s being gay.26 If we are to be inclusive in the social studies curriculum, then the kinds of changes I have sketched here are vital first steps. The alternative, if many educators perpetuate heteronormativity, is that most young people will continue to learn about homosexuality through a popular prejudiced lens. Notes 1. Frances FitzGerald, America Revised: History Schoolbooks in the Twentieth Century (New York: Vintage, 1980). 2. Suzanna Danuta Walters, All the Rage: The Story of Gay Visibility in America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001). 3. Patricia G. Avery, “Teaching Tolerance: What Research Tells Us,” Social Education 66, no. 5 (2002): 270–275. 4. James A. Banks, Multiethnic Education (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1988), 177. 5. Ibid., 175. 6. Human Rights Watch, Hatred in the Hallways: Violence and Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students in U.S. Schools (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2001). 7. Margaret Smith Crocco, “Dealing with Difference in the Social Studies: A Historical Perspective,” International Journal of Social Education (in press). 8. Rahima Wade, “Diversity Taboos: Religion and Sexual Orientation in the Social Studies,” Social Studies and the Young Learner 7, no. 4 (1995): 19–22. 9. Stephen J. Thornton, “Does Everybody Count as Human?” Theory and Research in Social Education 30, no. 2 (2002): 178–189. 10. See James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room (New York: Modern Library, 2001) and Another Country (New York: Dial Press, 1962). 11. Nel Noddings, “Caring, Social Policy, and Homelessness,” Theoretical Medicine 23 (2002): 441. 12. For an analysis of this state of affairs, see Margaret Smith Crocco, “The Missing Discourse about Gender and Sexuality in the Social Studies,” Theory into Practice 40, no. 1 (2001): 65–71 and “Homophobic Hallways: Is Anyone Listening?” Theory and Research in Social Education 30, no. 2 (2002): 217–232. 13. Kevin C. Franck, “Rethinking Homophobia: Interrogating Heteronormativity in an Urban School,” Theory and Research in Social Education 30, no. 2 (2002): 274–286. 14. Human Rights Watch, op. cit. 15. Jeffrey J. Kuzmic, “Textbooks, Knowledge, and Masculinity: Examining Patriarchy from Within,” in Masculinities at School, ed. Nancy Lesko (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2000). 16. Perry A. Zirkel, “Courtside: Gay Days,” Phi Delta Kappan 84, no. 5 (2003): 412–413. 17. Human Rights Watch, op. cit., 75. 18. See, for example, People for the American Way, “Right Wing Watch: Back to

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19.

20. 21. 22.

23. 24. 25. 26.

School with the Religious Right,” www.org/pfaw/ general/default.aspx?oid=3652, accessed February 4, 2003. For elaboration of this point, see Stephen J. Thornton, “From Content to Subject Matter,” The Social Studies 92, no. 6 (2001): 237–242 and “Teacher as CurricularInstructional Gatekeeper in Social Studies,” Handbook of Research on Social Studies Teaching and Learning, ed. James P. Shaver (New York: Macmillan, 1991). Jean Bethke Elshtain, Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy: A Life (New York: Basic Books, 2002). Brian K. Marchman, “Teaching about Homophobia in a High School Civics Course,” Theory and Research in Social Education 30, no. 2 (2002): 302–305. David Harris has developed a scoring rubric for classroom discussions of controversial issues, in which he uses this issue as the running example. See David Harris, “Classroom Assessment of Civic Discourse,” in Education for Democracy: Contexts, Curricula, and Assessments, ed. Walter C. Parker (Greenwich, CT: Information Age, 2002). See, for example, Myra Pollack Sadker and David Miller Sadker, Teachers, Schools, and Society (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2000). Zirkel, op. cit. Leslea Newman and Diana Souza, Heather Has Two Mommies (Boston: Alyson Publications, 1989). Greg Hamilton, “Reading ‘Jack’,” English Education 30, no. 1 (1998): 24–39.

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Race, Gender, and the Teaching and Learning of National History TERRIE EPSTEIN AND JESSICA SHILLER*

State and national social studies standards have laid out what young people need to know about history, government, and other social studies subjects, but they do not provide information on what young people actually know and believe about a subject. The perspectives or frameworks of knowledge and beliefs that young people bring to their social studies lessons are significant not only because they can serve as a scaffold or springboard for learning, but also because they serve as filters through which teaching, subject matter, and learning must pass. Young people’s perspectives about the social world, like those of historians and teachers, are shaped by their identities as members of families, communities, regions, and nations, as well as by their affiliations with racial, ethnic, religious, and other groups. These identities and affiliations influence if, how, and how much young people engage with social studies teachers and texts in schools and how much they learn from school subjects. In this article, we summarize research that has examined the relationships among children’s, adolescents’ and adults’ social identities (their national, racial, ethnic, and gender identities) and their knowledge of, engagement with, and beliefs about texts and tasks related to the study of national history. Our purpose is to bring to teachers’ awareness the multiple forces that shape and differentiate young people’s understanding of national history. With this awareness, teachers can recognize and build on their students’ perspectives and in this way help more students learn. National Identity and History In a comparative study of fifth graders in the United States and Northern Ireland, differences were found in the ways that children and adults in the two countries thought about historical change.1 American children attributed * Terrie Epstein is Associate Professor of Social Studies Education at Hunter College of the City University of New York. Jessica Shiller is Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education at Lehman College of the City University of New York.

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changes in their nation’s past more often to the actions of individual historical actors than to larger political or social forces. Northern Irish children, however, more often associated changes in the nation’s development with large-scale social or political phenomena. The researcher attributed the differences in the children’s understanding of historical change to the narrative structures of historical texts that children and adults in each country encountered. Northern Irish textbooks, curricular materials, and the culture at large often presented historical change as a result of large-scale movements or processes, such as immigration or industrialization. American textbooks and the culture at large more often credited great men or individual actors with changing national circumstances. Another researcher studied Estonian adults’ knowledge of, and beliefs about, their nation’s past.2 He was interested in how Estonian adults who had grown up under Soviet control of the country thought about Estonian history once the Soviet Empire ended in the 1990s. He found that the adults who had gone to school while the Soviet Union controlled the country actually had learned two competing historical narratives. One was based on what they had learned in schools: that Estonians in 1940 had asked the Soviet Union to integrate their nation into the Soviet empire to protect it from German aggression. The Soviet Union graciously obliged and took Estonia under its wing. The second narrative was one that had been handed down by family members and other adults who lived during the Soviet takeover. Unlike the school-based accounts, family members’ accounts portrayed the Soviet Union as having forced Estonia into the Soviet empire in 1940. Even though adults had greater knowledge of the Soviet perspective on Estonian history, they believed and were committed to the history handed down from family members and others. Racial Identity and National History We also know something about how children’s, adolescents’, and adults’ racial identities influence their interpretations of U.S. history. In a study of European American teachers’ and children’s concepts of Native Americans in U.S. history, a researcher found that kindergarten and first-grade children entered school with stereotypical views of Native Americans. They saw them as exotic and uncivilized, images they had acquired from children’s literature and the media.3 Once second graders in the same schools completed a unit on Native American life, they shed the stereotypical images that younger children had acquired and saw Native Americans as diverse groups of peoples. Fourth and fifth-grade students continued to incorporate instruction on Native Americans as diverse and as victims of European expansion during the colonial period, and these students expressed respect and empathy for Native Americans. But as the fifth-grade teachers changed the focus of instruction away from settlement and towards the American Revolution, the students began to identify with the colonists. Rarely did they recognize or express empathy for Native Americans

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again. When describing westward expansion in the nineteenth century, for example, the teachers and students portrayed pioneers as heroes and barely mentioned that pioneers displaced Native Americans in the march west. Children’s racial identities also affect how they interpret primary sources and how they judge the significance of particular subject matter. In one study, researchers in Kentucky asked African American and European American fifth graders to interpret a 1967 photograph of white protesters and armed soldiers at an anti-war protest.4 The African American children interpreted the photograph as either a rally against racism (the children associated the 1960s protest with the civil rights movement) or as a dangerous place for African Americans (white soldiers were armed and facing a crowd). Oddly enough, the European American children in the study identified the same picture as having belonged to the Civil War era. In another study, African American and Latino eighth graders saw little purpose in having studied about European settlement during U.S. colonial history, while the European American students thought the unit was interesting and important.5 Researchers also have examined race-related differences in the patterns of young people’s and adults’ historical perspectives and engagement. Researchers in Canada and the United States found that differences in high school students’ racial, ethnic, and immigrant identities led to differences in their selections of significant actors, events, and themes in national history.6 In a Canadian high school, for example, an adolescent who emigrated from Hong Kong listed as a significant historical event the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong during World War II. Similarly, a Chilean immigrant student selected the 1973 coup against Salvador Allende as a significant historical event.7 In another study, researchers found that Sioux Indian adults explored family history and visited historical museums or sites more often than did African American, Mexican American, or European American adults. African American and Sioux Indian adults also thought that it was more important to situate their families’ experiences within the broader contexts of their racial group’s history than did the European American or Mexican American adults in the study.8 The pattern emerging from these studies is this: Students’ social identities— national, racial, and ethnic—are not inert. Rather, they actively shape how and what students learn about national history. Another study brings this point home. One of the authors of this article (Epstein) studied the teaching and learning of U.S. history in fifth, eighth, and eleventh grade classrooms in an urban Midwestern community comprising African American and European American students.9 At each grade level, she collected data on students’ interpretations of historical actors and events before and after the students had received a year of history instruction. She found that although the classroom teachers (all of whom were white) had some effect on students’ interpretations of historical actors, events, and themes, the students’ pre-instructional interpretations acquired from family members and peers had a greater effect. This

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was particularly true of students’ explanations of actors and events related to race relations and political rights. At the beginning and end of the year, African American fifth-, eighth-, and eleventh-grade students saw European Americans or whites as those responsible historically for enslaving, segregating, and physically abusing African Americans. European American students at each grade level referred to black enslavement and segregation but did not refer to European Americans or whites as those who enslaved or segregated blacks and downplayed or totally omitted the role of European American violence towards African Americans. Similarly, African American students at each grade level discussed how Europeans took Native American lands and/or false credit for the discovery of the New World. European American students more often described Native Americans as people who assisted Europeans in the New World or contributed to the larger national culture. In their depictions of political rights, European American students associated the Bill of Rights, and other actors and events connected with national formation, with the granting or expansion of rights to all Americans or as the foundation of equal rights in contemporary society, which all people enjoy. Even in classrooms where teachers taught that the Bill of Rights extended rights to wealthy white men only, European American students still portrayed the document as having “given us our rights.” African American children and adolescents on the other hand more often referred to the Bill of Rights as having given “some people but not other people rights” and commented that people like African Americans still do not have equal rights today. This was the case at the end of the year even when teachers taught that Americans had equal rights today. Overall, African American and European American students at each grade level incorporated aspects of the teacher’s lessons into their explanations of race and rights in U.S. history and contemporary society, but they did so in ways that amplified, rather than revised, their pre-instructional historical views. Gender and National History We turn now to gender differences in historical thinking. At the end of a unit on early Native American and pioneer history, European American boys in grades K-3 in a Midwestern community knew more about the construction of Native American dwellings than did the girls. Girls, however, knew more details about the interiors of log cabins.10 In another study conducted in the Northwest, fifth- and eighth-grade European American boys and girls were asked at the beginning of the school year to draw pictures of Puritans, Western settlers, and hippies.11 The girls included more pictures of women in their historical drawings than did the boys, who primarily depicted male figures. In both studies, the researchers attributed the differences in boys’ and girls’ depictions to gender role socialization.

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In another study, European American eighth-grade girls and boys who completed a unit on nineteenth century U.S. women’s history believed that women were a significant part of history and had been left out of previous courses.12 At the same time, these students worried that the unit on women’s history silenced men, even though the teacher had included relevant male actors and activities. Similarly, European American males and females in an eleventh grade U.S. women’s history class had difficulty reconciling the historical perspectives that they encountered in the class with the male-oriented approach to U.S. history that they had learned during the previous 10 years of schooling and throughout the broader culture.13 Researchers in Amsterdam examined the effects of a women’s history course on high school age young women and men.14 The course dealt with twentiethcentury women’s history in the Netherlands, Europe, and the United States, and the researchers compared student learning in this course to the learning of similar students in traditional history classes. Students in the women’s history class learned more about women in history than did students in the traditional history class. Also, the course contributed to young women’s positive gender identity. But the young men in the women’s history class said that they preferred traditional history classes to the women’s history class. Conclusion Although there have been a limited number of studies that examine the effects of social identities on people’s historical knowledge and beliefs, they provide teachers with rich food for thought about teaching and learning national history. First, even as early as kindergarten, children come to school with historical content and concepts which are related to their racial, gender, and national identities. There are limits to what and how much children or adolescents will adopt from teachers or texts, especially when school-based historical content conflicts with history accounts learned in the home. Second, differences in North American and Northern Irish children’s concepts of historical change provide a powerful example of the ways in which broader national cultures shape children’s understanding of historical content and suggest ways to broaden children’s concepts of historical change. While it is important for teachers in the United States to emphasize that individual actions can and do make a difference in history, they also ought to emphasize that great individuals do not make or change the past or present alone. Teachers who place greater emphasis on the roles of groups or social movements in promoting historical change and place group or movement activities in the broader context of political or social forces provide a more powerful explanatory framework for how and why particular individuals, groups, or movements at particular times were or were not successful. Third, social identities have an important influence not only on what children, adolescents, and adults know about their nation’s past, but also on what

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they believe or are willing to accept about national history. The study of Estonian adults found that the adults knew more about Soviet perspectives on Estonian history than they did about the history handed down from family members, but they did not accept the historical perspectives taught in school. The studies on race-related differences in children’s and adolescents’ knowledge of race relations and political rights in U.S. history illustrated that teachers’ instruction had at best a small effect on students’ perspectives on race and rights. These studies suggest that teachers who understand the perspectives that underlie students’ historical knowledge may be better equipped to support and broaden the historical knowledge that young people carry into the classroom. Teachers can examine how their own social identities shape their knowledge and beliefs about national history. Also, they can step up their efforts to assess students’ knowledge and beliefs both before and during instruction. Teachers can learn from students whose social identities differ from theirs and incorporate these perspectives into instruction on national history. They can do this by remembering that there is not one but multiple interpretations of history and by paying special attention to the interpretations and perspectives of historians who may share the social identities of their students. Teachers can then integrate these perspectives into their instruction on historical actors, events, or periods, either in place of, or in comparison to, traditional interpretations. To the extent that teachers are willing to broaden their knowledge and beliefs about the nation’s past, differences among children’s, adolescents’, and teachers’ social identities can be a source of growth and achievement rather than a reason for avoidance, conflict, or disengagement. Notes 1. Keith Barton, “A Sociocultural Perspective on Children’s Understanding of Historical Change: Comparative Findings from Northern Ireland and the United States,” American Educational Research Journal 38 (2001): 881–913. 2. James V. Wertsch, “Is it Possible to Teach Beliefs, as well as Knowledge about History?” in Knowing, Teaching, and Learning History: National and International Perspectives, eds. Peter Stearns, Peter Seixas, and Sam Wineburg (New York University Press, 2000), 38–50. 3. Jere Brophy, “Elementary Students Learn about Native Americans: The Development of Knowledge and Empathy,” Social Education 63, no. 1 (1999): 39–45. 4. Linda S. Levstik and Keith C. Barton, “ ‘They Still Use Some of Their Past’: Historical Salience in Elementary Children’s Chronological Thinking,” Journal of Curriculum Studies 28, no. 5 (1996): 531–576. 5. Bruce VanSledright, “I Don’t Remember, the Ideas are all Jumbled in my Head: Eighth Graders’ Reconstructions of Colonial American History,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 10, no. 4 (1995): 317–345. 6. Peter Seixas, “Historical Understanding among Adolescents in a Multicultural Setting,” Curriculum Inquiry 23, no. 3 (1993): 301–327; Sexias, “Students’ Understanding of Historical Significance,” Theory and Research in Social Education 22, no. 3 (1994): 281–304; Terrie L. Epstein, “Deconstructing Differences in

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7. 8. 9.

10. 11.

12.

13. 14.

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African-American and European-American Adolescents’ Perspectives on U.S. History,” Curriculum Inquiry 28, no. 4 (1998): 397–423. Seixas, “Historical Understanding among Adolescents in a Multicultural Setting.” Roy Rosenzweig and David Thelen, The Presence of the Past: Popular Uses of History in American Life (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998). Epstein, “Urban Adolescents’ Perspectives on Racial Diversity in United States History: Case Studies from an Urban Classroom,” American Educational Research Journal 37, no. 1 (2000): 185–214; Epstein, “Race, Research and Social Education,” Theory into Practice 40, no. 2 (2001): 42–47; Epstein, “Deconstructing Differences in African American and European American Adolescents’ Perspectives on U.S. History.” Jere Brophy and Janet Alleman, “Second Graders’ Knowledge and Thinking about Shelter as a Cultural Universal,” Social Education 66, no. 7 (2002). Janice Fournier and Samuel Wineburg, “Picturing the Past: Gender Differences in the Depiction of Historical Figures,” American Journal of Education 105 (1997): 160–185. Levstik, “Scary Thing Being an Eighth Grader: Exploring Gender and Sexuality in a Middle School History Unit,” Theory and Research in Social Education 30, no. 2 (2002): 233–254. Mary K. Tretrault, “It’s so Opinioney,” Journal of Education 168 (1986): 78–95. Geert ten Dam and Rally Rijkschroeff, “Teaching Women’s History in Secondary Education: Constructing Gender Identity,” Theory and Research in Social Education 16, no. 1 (1996): 71–89.

III Subject Matters

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What Can Forrest Gump Tell Us about Students’ Historical Understanding? SAM WINEBURG, SUSAN MOSBORG, AND DAN PORAT*

Historical narratives envelop us everywhere—at home, at church, at the movies; in the buildings we inhabit, the parks we visit, the stamps we lick; in the days we take off from work, the newspapers we read, and the six-o’clock news we receive from Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, and Dan Rather. By the time young people reach their eighteenth birthday in our culture, they possess a rich narrative of origins—how the United States came into being, the roots of the race issue that divides American society, something about Pilgrims, colonists, and settlers. In terms of impact and influence, no algebra or French teacher can compete with such famous history teachers as Steven Spielberg or Oliver Stone, whose devoted students number in multiples of millions. Each of us grows up in a home with a distinct history and a distinct perspective on the meaning of larger historical events. Our parents’ stories shape our historical consciousness, as do the stories of the ethnic, racial, and religious groups that number us as members. We attend churches, clubs, and neighborhood associations that further mold our collective and individual historical selves. We visit museums. We travel to national landmarks in the summer. We camp out in front of the TV and absorb, often unknowingly, an unending barrage of historical images. By the time children have celebrated a decade of Thanksgivings and Martin Luther King Days, they are already seasoned students of American culture and history. But the notion that all these sources form a coherent whole mocks the complexity of social life. Historical consciousness does not emanate like neat concentric circles from the individual to the family to the nation and to the world. Lessons learned at home contravene those learned at school. What we hear at

* Sam Wineburg is Professor of Education and (by courtesy) History at Stanford University, and Executive Director, National History Education Clearinghouse. Susan Mosborg is Research Scientist at the LIFE Center (Learning in Informal and Formal Environments), College of Education, University of Washington. Dan Porat is Senior Lecturer in Education at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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school conflicts with what we hear at church or synagogue—if not in the pews then certainly in the bathrooms. If we pay attention to the lyrics of rap music or tune our dials to Rush Limbaugh or Howard Stern, we confront more disjunctures. To make historical sense, we must navigate the shoals of the competing narratives that vie for our allegiance. Our Research We followed youngsters from three different schools and communities across a year of eleventh grade history instruction and into the twelfth grade.1 But the school curriculum was just one of the venues in which we located our study. We believed that the home was also a prime venue for teaching us to become historical, for influencing the shape of the narratives we tell about ourselves and our nation. We conceptualized the development of historical understanding not as a series of courses in school but as a complex interplay between home, school, community, and the historicizing forces of popular culture. We were suspicious of the simplistic accounts of both young people’s disengagement from the past, on one hand, and their abject ignorance of it on the other. We believed that historical knowledge, to use Michael Schudson’s apt phrase, “seeps into the cultural pores” even if such knowledge is not “readily retrievable by seventeen-year-olds answering a quiz.”2 The three schools we identified were in the Pacific Northwest: an inner-city high school, a college preparatory academy, and a Christian high school. From each school we selected five parent/child dyads. When we began, all students were about to enter eleventh grade and were enrolled in the state-mandated U.S. history course. In the first year of data collection, we engaged each parent and each child in extensive oral history interviews, querying them about the history of their own lives, their families and their communities, as well eliciting from them personal narratives about the key events and turning points in American history. During the academic year that followed, we engaged in over a hundred hours of classroom observations across the three schools, and enlisted students in six more formal interviews, ranging from an interview on Vietnam to interviews that asked students to interpret the comments their teachers made on their history papers and tests. Here is a brief glimpse of the Vietnam interview. The Vietnam Interview In studying Vietnam, we wanted to examine a historical event that was experienced by parents in their own lifetimes but had already become “history” for their children—the difference, if you will, between lived memory and learned memory. We were faced with many dilemmas in examining this issue because the last thing we wanted to do was create a setting that seemed test-like when our primary goal was to get one generation to talk to the other about an issue of

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historical significance. To reduce the pressure and to try to create a somewhat natural setting, we decided to focus on pictures.3 We built our interview around a series of five iconic pictures.4 The pictures included the Life magazine picture of a nine-year-old Kim Phuc running naked after a napalm bomb attack; an ambiguous picture in which a GI, holding two Vietnamese children under his arm, appears to be fleeing a battlefield; construction workers at a pro-war rally in front of Manhattan’s City Hall in May 1970; a flower child placing a daisy into the gun barrel of an MP at the “March on the Pentagon” in October 1967; and a Vietnam vet, chalk in hand, tracing the name of a fallen comrade at the Vietnam War Memorial. The interview took the form of free-response: parents and children first wrote down their reactions to the pictures (without revealing their responses to each other) and then shared these responses with us in discussion. Some Findings Collective Memory Within our sample, there were parents and students who disagreed deeply over the meaning of the Vietnam War, from those who marked Vietnam as the beginning of “The Fall”—the descent into crime, disorder, and drug use of modern America—to others, such as Ellen Oshansky, who in telling her son how she “marched on Washington” wistfully sighed, “Back then, we had a purpose.” Yet hawk or dove, Republican or Democrat, Christian or agnostic, black or white, participants spoke in a single voice when it came to the question of what America “did” to the returning vet. Today’s Vietnam vet was collectively viewed not as a perpetrator in Vietnam, but as a victim of it. Despite the geographic region in which our research took place, no participant recalled anything remotely resembling the following characterization of a homecoming from a Time article at the time: “Flags waved, ticker tape showered down on the troops, and pretty girls pressed red roses into the men’s hands” (“Joy in Seattle; Troops Withdrawn from Vietnam,” July 18, 1969, p. 5). Participants sometimes drew a distinction between their own personal behavior (e.g., hosting parties for friends and relatives who returned from Vietnam) and what they claimed to have seen on television (i.e., hippies assembling to taunt returning vets). Indeed, participants seemed to share a common narrative: vets were vilified, spat on, derided; attacked in the press; and unsupported at home. But this is an image at considerable odds with the historical record. The literature—from sociologists such as Jerry Lembcke,5 to the journalist Bob Greene,6 to communication research on newspaper reports of “homecomings”7—suggests there is little basis to this one-sided collective image other than its crystallization in the media. It is precisely this gap, between the narratives commonly held, and the more variegated stories among professionals, that helps us to flesh out some of the differences between notions

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of “collective” memory and what might be called “historical” or “archival” memory. Collective Occlusion We cannot speak of collective memory without speaking of its converse. Terms such as “collective amnesia” or “collective forgetting” are misleading because archival cultures such as ours do not, properly speaking, forget. In fact, we specialize in the preservation of narratives—ordering, cataloging, binding, and now digitizing the evidence on which they are based. But these narratives are often known only by the specialized memory keepers of modern society, such as historians, museologists, and professional archivists. “Collective occlusion” refers to those stories, accounts, and narratives that, while available in individuals’ lived memory and archived in historical memory, become largely blocked from view in the historical present. The term speaks to that which is no longer “common knowledge.” It is a construct that asks us to think about the stories, images, and cultural codes that become blocked as memories are transmitted from one generation to the next, and are at risk of being lost in the everyday processes of how societies remember.8 Collective occlusion helps us talk about the history that does not seep into our cultural pores simply by participating in modern culture. To illustrate, consider the story of domestic support for Vietnam. As late as 1972, the war, having dragged on for nearly a decade and having spread to Cambodia and Laos, still commanded overwhelming support in public opinion polls.9 As a way to probe everyday historical memory for the war, we used a picture from a 1970 rally by hardhat workers who jammed Manhattan’s City Hall hoisting banners and placards with slogans like “WE HARD HAT MEN ARE BUILDING AMERICA NOT DESTROYING IT: GOD BLESS AMERICA,” and “THIS COUNTRY ISN’T PERFECT BUT IT’S THE BEST ON THE FACE OF THIS EARTH.” Eleven of twelve American-born parents, whether supportive of the war or against, quickly discerned the picture as a pro-war rally. We heard something different as we listened to students’ interpretations. Rather than viewing the picture as a pro-war rally, these young people (despite what seemed to us clear and incontrovertible signals in the photograph) viewed the image not as a rally in support of the war but as a protest against it. In fact, the first time we heard this interpretation we questioned the youngster to make sure we were hearing right: Andrea: I put that this was a protest against the war. Interviewer: (startled) Against? Andrea: Against, yes, and it looks like it might have been a certain group. All these people, they look like they’re construction people or something like that, with their hats on, and it looks like lots of different ethnicities in here. It says, “We

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hard hat men,” so obviously they’re doing something with their hands or something like that, obviously these people felt like the war was destroying their jobs, their homes, destroying the country as a whole. In total, eight of fifteen youths could not “read” the cultural codes embedded in the picture to make sense of it. These were intelligent, industrious high schoolers who had studied Vietnam in school, could identify the Gulf of Tonkin, Dien Bien Phu, and had even written reports on similarities between the American and Vietnamese Declarations of Independence. In a curious twist of historical revision, Vietnam had become a war waged without supporters. The theme of domestic support for the war had dropped out of the current Vietnam narrative for these young people. It had become part of a history that had failed to navigate the memory gap separating one generation from the next. Cultural Curriculum When we began this work, we hypothesized that there would be significant points of tension between the history taught in schools and the history available in film, music, and TV in the culture at large. This may be the case, but it is not what we found. In fact, rather than forming a separate sphere, the school often became the purveyor of the history curriculum offered by popular culture, the place where young people first sat and sampled its wares: Hollywood movies, made-for-TV documentaries, and the like. Similarly, the home became a venue in which parent and child often shared in the joint experience of the past by turning on the VCR and together witnessing a celluloid version of it. The most striking instance of this trend was with John Delenay, a bright sixteen-year-old with a penchant for drama. In reflecting on Vietnam vets, John noted that he “always heard” them referred to as “baby killers.” But when we questioned John, he responded by quoting from a video his family owned and had together watched repeatedly: “I think Forrest Gump had a lot to say, you could learn a lot from it, attitudes. But you watch the Vietnam parts, and the guy says to Forrest, one of the hippies looks at Forrest Gump in his military uniform, and he goes, ‘Who’s the baby killer?’ ” This sequence of images and dialogue, invented by the director Robert Zemeckis, was the sharpest and clearest recollection John had of the entire Vietnam era. John was not alone. Without prompting, Forrest Gump spontaneously made its way into nine of our fifteen parent/child interviews on Vietnam. In terms of a shared text between parent and child, its influence was peerless. There was no other cultural product—book, TV program, documentary—that compared in effect. The collective experience of video was the meeting place of parent, child, and teacher. These findings about John and others give a new twist to the notion of

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the “family as educator,” particularly as it pertains to history. The family still educates, to be sure, but not in some stylized, Norman Rockwell way. Here, it is not family stories that are transmitted from generation to generation. Rather, the family serves as the context for a new kind of history lesson: the family mediates the larger cultural narrative provided by Hollywood.10 Conclusion We are still trying to understand the larger patterns in the data we have collected. For now, we believe our findings speak to a different way of conceptualizing the history taught in schools. Current textbooks and curricula make no mention of everyday notions of historical knowing. By investigating the history students bring with them to school, we can consider anew the role of the classroom. What might be taught, what might be emphasized, and what might the school do to articulate with (rather than merely duplicate) the home and the surrounding culture?11 Notes 1. This work was supported by the Spencer Foundation, whom we thank. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the authors. 2. Michael Schudson, Watergate in American Memory: How We Remember, Forget, and Reconstruct the Past (New York: Basic Books, 1992), 64. 3. Douglas Harper, “Visual Sociology: Expanding Sociological Vision,” American Sociologist 18, no. 1 (Spring 1981): 54–70. 4. We also used a cartoon and a short two-minute presentation of a song. In the cartoon from 1968, the Angel of Death, standing against a background of tombstones, asks Uncle Sam, “What should I put down as the reason for dying?” The song we played was “Woodstock,” by Joni Mitchell and performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. (“Who are they?” wondered nearly half of the teens.) 5. Jerry Lembcke, The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam (New York: New York University Press, 1998). 6. Bob Greene, Homecoming: When the Soldiers Returned from Vietnam (New York: Putnam, 1989). 7. Thomas D. Beamish, Harvey Molotch, and Richard Flacks, “Who Supports the Troops,” Journal of Social Problems 42, no. 3 (August 1995): 344–357. 8. We prefer the term “occlusion” to the more widely used “amnesia” for several reasons. First, occlusion conveys a sense of blockage; it is not that these memories are erased or forgotten but that they are not salient or easily seen. Second, even when memories are occluded, they are, in historical and archival cultures, available in books, on the Web, and often taught in specialized university seminars. “Amnesia” misrepresents the complexity of social memory by conveying monolithic, socially uniform processes. The partiality and opacity of “occlusion” conveys this complexity more fully. 9. Domestic support for the Vietnam War was rarely mentioned in our interviews. However, a Harris poll in 1966 noted that 73 percent of Americans said they were “deeply concerned” about the war and 61 percent said they were “personally involved.” See Fred Turner, Echoes of Combat: The Vietnam War in American Memory (New York: Anchor Books, 1996), 127.

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10. For elaboration, see the chapter “Making Historical Sense,” in Peter N. Stearns, Peter Seixas, and Sam Wineburg, eds., Knowing, Teaching, and Learning History: National and International Perspectives (New York: New York University Press, 2000), 306–325. See also Sam Wineburg, Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching the Past (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2001). 11. Our study is one of a number of projects aimed at understanding history in school and out. See also Peter Seixas, “Mapping the Terrain of Historical Significance,” Social Education 61, no. 1 (January 1997): 22–27; James V. Wertsch, “Is It Possible to Teach Beliefs, as Well as Knowledge about History?,” in Stearns et al., 38–50; Keith C. Barton and Linda S. Levstik, “ ‘It Wasn’t a Good Part of History’: National Identity and Students’ Explanations of Historical Significance,” Teachers College Record 99, no. 3 (Spring 1998): 478–513; and Terrie Epstein, “Adolescents’ Perspectives on Racial Diversity in U.S. History: Case Studies from an Urban Classroom,” American Educational Research Journal 37, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 185–214.

12

What Does It Mean to Think Historically . . . and How Do You Teach It? BRUCE A. VANSLEDRIGHT*

There is a lot of talk these days about thinking historically. Policy makers use the term. So do teachers, curriculum writers, test makers, and administrators. And above all researchers use it—a lot. A number of articles have been published in this very column concerning the topic, many by those who do historyeducation research. Some might argue that the term “thinking historically” has become nothing more than educational jargon, that educators use it as a metaphor for a significantly broad range of activities that occur in any given social studies classroom. Others might say that the term means different things to different people. As a result, it can be difficult to know what it means to teach it. In what follows, I will attempt to address the question I pose in the title. I hope to clarify what might be meant by historical thinking and therefore shed some light on how it could more successfully be taught. I address the question as a former history teacher—thirteen years in secondary schools ending in 1989, with a return in 1999 to a fifth-grade classroom for part of the year—and as a history-education researcher who has been studying historical thinking among teachers and students for fourteen years. The question the title poses has been something I have been deeply interested in since I first began teaching history. It has puzzled and perplexed me as a teacher and also as a researcher. Part of the difficulty in knowing what we mean by historical thinking has to do with whom we are talking about and in what context. Are we describing the historical thinking of the experts, or historians, and how they go about their work? Are we talking about novices, such as elementary school students, who perhaps are learning chronological, survey history for the first time in school? Or do we mean adolescents, those we might describe as intelligent novices? The historians can serve as a benchmark in relationship to which we can understand what the less sophistical historical thinkers do. However, we must not unfairly hold novices to the standard set by the experts. The academic * Bruce A. VanSledright is Professor and Head of the History/Social Studies Education Program at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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developmental distance between novices and experts is a gap that history teachers—through history education—can strive to close. Source Work Historians by definition spend most of their professional lives engaged in historical thought.1 In the initial investigative phases of their work, they occupy themselves with reading and digesting the residues of the past left behind by our ancestors. Much of this residue remains in the form of documents or sources. “Source work,” then, becomes a staple in the investigative lives of these experts. Source work is a complex undertaking, requiring a form of critical literacy.2 This involves the constant interrogation of documents and their authors. Historians know that there is a distinct difference between history (the product of their investigations) and the past (traces and artifacts that remain—historical data, if you will). They also know that not everything that happened in the past is available to us in the present and that what does remain is organized from someone’s perspective. As a result, historians reconstruct (some might say create) the past based on questions they attempt to answer. Criteria are involved in selecting and reconstructing the past, and these criteria relate to what is considered generally acceptable practice within the field, although this practice varies some and is often in dispute.3 The product, a “history,” is subject to peer criticism based on those criteria. Because sources represent varying perspectives regarding a question under investigation, historians learn to become astute at assessing the nature of these sources. Assessing sources is a complex process involving at least four interrelated and interconnected cognitive acts—identification, attribution, perspective judgment, and reliability assessment.4





Identification involves knowing what a source is. This requires a series of steps in which the source is effectively interrogated by questions such as: What type of account is this—a journal, a diary, an image, a newspaper article? What is its appearance—does it seem older or newer; is the paper brittle; is the handwriting clear, is the drawing faded? When was it created? What is the grammar, spelling, and syntax? Knowing what a source is helps the historian determine what questions can be asked of it, and what sorts of evidence claims and interpretations can be drawn from the account.5 Attribution involves recognizing that a source is constructed by an author/artist (hereafter, simply author) for particular purposes. It also requires locating the author within her historical context. Recognizing that an author with an historically contextualized position constructed an account for a purpose and that it can function as evidence in building historical interpretations (i.e., producing history) is an important cognitive step.

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Judging perspective involves a careful reading of a source followed by a set of assessments as to the author’s social, cultural, and political position. Leveling these types of judgments is difficult because the author is absent, unavailable for direct questioning about her position or authorial intent. To engage this cognitive activity well means historians study the context in which the source was authored and wait to render judgments until a variety of accounts have been read. Making sense of the author’s perspective or positionality6 often takes the form of reading between the lines, or below the surface of the text.7 Reliability assessment involves historians in corroboration. Related accounts are assessed for their relative value as evidence used in making claims about what has occurred in the past. Judging the reliability of an account involves comparing it to other accounts from the period. The historian attempts to understand if an author’s claims can be corroborated elsewhere among documentary sources. A source has no innate reliability; reliability is established by the investigator. Because sources are reliable only in relation to the questions that are asked of them, and because a source’s reliability cannot be fixed definitively, judging reliability is almost always a relative and partial accomplishment, even among experts.

As historians pore through documents and assess their status, they simultaneously begin to build theories and models about the past they are investigating. Once they have exhausted the archive of sources, they impose a theory of events on the evidence, attempting to craft an explanation that sticks as close as possible to a preponderance of that evidence. Because holes can exist in the evidence trails, historians need to use their imagination to fill in those holes. The result is an account that explains the past—a “history” of the event. Typically, histories are written in narrative form using all the rhetorical strategies common to that genre.8 Learning to Think Historically Knowing what expertise looks like gives history teachers some targets for what they might accomplish with their students (assuming they desire to move those students down the path towards greater expertise in historical thinking). Because the work of historical thinking is complex and often difficult, some teachers—particularly at the elementary and middle school levels—make the presumption that their students are incapable of engaging in such thought. This presumption has proven inaccurate based on a host of studies conducted since about 1985.9 It turns out that children as young as age seven can begin to do source work. By high school, with careful guidance from ambitious history teachers, students can learn to do it much as historians. But what does this developmental process from a novice’s effort to greater

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expertise look like among learners? Research has not fully addressed this question, but we now can say much more about it than was possible in 1985. Source work is arguably the sine qua non of historical thinking. To that end I concentrate on what’s been learned about how grade-school students approach it as an example of progression in historical thinking in the direction of emerging expertise. Much of the research that permits this analysis has been done in England, initially by Denis Shemilt and more recently by Peter Lee and his colleagues on Project Chata.10 Other studies have followed in North America.11 Children and adolescents (and, it should be noted, adults who never learned to think historically) often approach sources as decontextualized, disembodied, authorless forms of neutral information that appear to fall out of the sky ready made. The younger the students, the more likely they will be to conclude that the past is either given or inaccessible or both. As students engage in source work (assuming they receive such opportunities), these former conclusions give way to the idea that we learn about the past via stories told about it and that these stories are stabilized by the information available. Differences that arise among sources are associated with gaps in information or simple mistakes. With continued source work and scaffolding from knowledgeable history teachers, a major epistemological shift occurs in how students understand the past and its relationship to “history” (recall, the products of historical investigation). Students come to realize that stories have authors and that these authors can hold very different perspectives on the same event or incident. Differences observed among sources come to be understood as a consequence of distortions (intentional or otherwise), bias, exaggeration, ideology, partisanship, and the like. It is at this point that perspective assessment becomes a part of the learner’s strategic and analytic cognitive capacity. However, there still may be problems. The perspective-assessment effort frequently has been referred to as judging bias. Among learners who are taught to look at author perspective, bias detection appears to be a considerable preoccupation. However, for novices, it differs from the perspective assessments of the experts because bias detection takes on the character of a good-bad dichotomy (telling the truth or lying). Assessing perspective ultimately is concerned with understanding authorial intent in its fullest sense (to the extent that this is possible), with bias assumed to be a natural byproduct of an author’s historicized position (race, class, gender, nationality, etc.). Bias detection alone turns out to be a weak, and perhaps misleading subspecies of assessing perspective. Students need considerable help here in getting past this simplistic strategy. Learning how to assess the reliability of accounts and corroborate source evidence can be stymied by the dogmatic use of the truth-lie dichotomy. If all sources contain bias, and bias is associated with lying, then, as Ashby and Lee have noted, this renders learners helpless in the face of conflicting sources.12 As a result,

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interpretations of the past become virtually impossible to construct. Without the capacity to construct interpretations of the past, history becomes unachievable. Teachers can help students drop their reliance on this truth-lie characterization and adopt a view that investigators, who provide us with evidence of the past, may hold quite legitimate positions that differ from one another, and that it is in the nature of sources to vary. Criteria for selecting from sources and corroborating the evidence they provide must be employed in order for history to become possible and understandable. This latter position is the one employed by historians. Teaching Historical Thinking So how can these ideas be taught? Let me draw on my own experience. I spent a semester with a group of diverse fifth graders a few years ago, teaching them American history and trying to push them down this path toward greater expertise much as I have described it above. I studied my own practice and collected data on what the students gained from the experience. I address this question in broad strokes based on what I learned.13 Everything I have been describing hinges on turning typical history instruction upside down. The common preoccupation with having students commit one fact after another to memory based on history textbook recitations and lectures does little to build capacity to think historically. In fact, studies suggest that these practices actually retard the development of historical thinking because they foster the naïve conception that the past and history are one and the same, fixed and stable forever, dropped out of the sky readymade, that the words in the textbooks and lectures map directly and without distortion onto the past.14 Instead, what occurs in the classroom needs to involve source work, investigations into the traces and shards of the past, and much of it. Students—even the young ones—need opportunities to engage these sources, to learn to assess their status, and to begin building and writing up their own interpretations of the past.15 That way they engage the activity because they come to own the end product—their own histories, if I may put it that way. Ambitious history teachers who take to this journey will no doubt experience some frustrations here due to curriculum and testing constraints. I recognize that these constraints are real and can be invasive. But I believe that if teachers are committed to cultivating historical thinking in their students, they must push hard against these constraints, particularly against those that retard genuine historical understanding, such as reducing an entire American history survey course to thirty-seven multiple-choice questions.16 The most immediate difficulties, however, will center on being able to anticipate how students move their way across the progression I described. Some will be reticent to shift their views from naïve trust in history texts.

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Students’ movement away from this position and toward the idea that sources all bear perspectives and that perspectives can be legitimate and still differ may be difficult to notice initially, making it difficult to seize on teachable moments. Peppering students with questions that get at such transformation in thought can help. Watching how students go about the task of assessing sources can also be revealing. Having them do source work in small groups frees teachers to circulate and listen in on what students talk about. Activities designed expressly to raise issues of perspective can also provide opportunities to “hear where students are” (e.g., studying the trail of testimony following the so-called Boston Massacre, reading the documentary evidence about what occurred at Lexington Green, or studying newspaper editorials written by southern blacks and whites on the issues of segregation prior to 1960). Designing assessments that mirror the practice of investigating the past through source work is also important. Asking students (again, even the young ones) to read a short set of documents and then write an interpretive essay mirrors the practice taught in the classroom. Such assessments can be graded both for the substantive knowledge students reveal and for the strategic and criterial activities in which they engaged as they fashioned the essay. Persistence, and more persistence after that, will be necessary. The changes will come slowly for many students. Being equipped with a good sense of what the most recent research (some of which was reviewed above and in previous issues of this Research and Practice column) tells us about the progression from naivete to expertise will support persistence and eventual success. Finally, it probably is fair to ask why anyone would want to focus this much attention on cultivating historical thinking in students. After all, nowhere does it say that the mission of the social studies is to provide the next generation of historians; nor is that my purpose. Historical thinking is a very close relative to active, thoughtful, critical participation in text- and image-rich democratic cultures. Consider what good historical thinkers can do. They are careful, critical readers and consumers of the mountains of evidentiary source data that exists in archives and that pours at us each day via the media. Good historical thinkers are tolerant of differing perspectives because these perspectives help them make sense of the past. At the same time, such thinkers are skilled at detecting spin, hype, snake-oil sales pitches, disguised agendas, veiled partisanship, and weak claims. They also know what it means to build and defend evidence-based arguments because of practice constructing interpretations rooted in source data. In short, they are informed, educated, thoughtful, critical readers, who appreciate investigative enterprises, know good arguments when they hear them, and who engage their world with a host of strategies for understanding it. As I have written elsewhere, Thomas Jefferson could hardly have wanted better citizens than these thinkers.17 I can imagine few better purposes than this on which to center a school subject.

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Notes 1. I draw here on the studies of historians and their cognitive processes conducted by Sam Wineburg. See his Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching the Past (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001). 2. For elaborations on this point, see Bruce VanSledright, In Search of America’s Past: Learning to Read History in Elementary School (New York: Teachers College Press, 2002), 151–153. 3. Peter Lee and Rosalyn Ashby, “Progression in Historical Understanding among Students Ages 7–14,” in Knowing, Teaching, and Learning History: National and International Perspectives, eds. Peter Stearns, Peter Seixas, and Sam Wineburg (New York: New York University Press, 2000), 199–222. 4. For more on these four cognitive moves, see Bruce VanSledright and Peter Afflerbach. “Assessing the Status of Historical Sources: An Exploratory Study of Eight U.S. Elementary Students Reading Documents,” in International Review of History Education, Volume 4: Children’s and Teachers’ Ideas About History, ed. Peter Lee (London: Woburn Press, 2005), 1–20. 5. Rosalyn Ashby and Peter Lee, “Information, Opinion, and Beyond” (Paper presented at the American Education Research Association annual meeting. San Diego, Calif., April 1998). 6. Bruce VanSledright, “From Empathic Regard to Self-Understanding: Im/positionality, Empathy, and Historical Contextualization,” in Development of Historical Empathy: Perspective Taking in Social Studies, eds. O.L. Davis, Jr., Elizabeth Yeager, and Stuart Foster (Lanham, Md.: Rowman Littlefield, 2001), 51–68. 7. Wineburg, Historical Thinking, 63–88. 8. Hayden White, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987). 9. Reviews and/or references to many of these studies can be found in, for example, Keith Barton and Linda Levstik, Teaching History for the Common Good (Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004): Mario Carretero and James Voss. Cognitive and Instructional Processes in History and the Social Sciences (Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1994); S.G. Grant, History Lessons: Teaching, Learning, and Testing in U.S. High School Classrooms (Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003); Linda Levstik and Keith Barton, Doing History: Investigating with Children in Elementary and Middle School (Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997); Stearns, et al., Knowing, Teaching, and Learning; VanSledright, In Search of America’s Past, 1–23, 105–155; Wineburg, Historical Thinking, 28–60. 10. Denis Shemilt, History 13–16 Evaluation Study (Edinburgh: Holmes McDougall, 1980); Lee and Ashby, “Progression in Historical Understanding.” 11. See note 9. 12. Ashby and Lee, “Information, Opinion, and Beyond.” 13. VanSledright, In Search of America’s Past. In chapters three through five of this book, I lay out in considerable detail my daily efforts to move my fifth graders toward greater expertise in thinking historically. See also David Gerwin and Jack Zevin, Teaching U.S. History as Mystery (Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 2003) and James Percoco, A Passion for the Past: Creative Teaching of U.S. History (Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 1998). 14. See for example Wineburg, Historical Thinking, 63–88, and Bruce VanSledright, “I Don’t Remember—the Ideas are All Jumbled in My Head: Eighth Graders’

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Reconstructions of Colonial American History,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 10 (1995): 317–345. 15. See VanSledright and Afflerbach, “Assessing the Status” for a description of how fourth graders (nine-year-olds) can be taught and actually learn a number of initial steps in assessing the status of sources. 16. On this point, see also Grant, History Lessons, 187–212. 17. VanSledright, In Search of America’s Past.

13

Maps and Map Learning in Social Studies

SARAH WITHAM BEDNARZ, GILLIAN ACHESON, AND ROBERT S. BEDNARZ*

Maps are not the whole of geography, but there can be no geography without them. In fact, well-known geographers have often defined their subject around maps and map use. In 1939, Richard Hartshorne stated, “So important is the use of maps in geographic work that . . . it seems fair to suggest to the geographer if the problem cannot be studied fundamentally by maps . . . then it is questionable whether or not it is within the field of geography.”1 Fifty years later Peter Haggett expressed the same sentiment even more directly and succinctly: “Geography is the art of the mappable.”2 Since 1990, the importance of maps and other graphic representations has become even more important to geography and geographers. This is due, to a large extent, to the development and widespread diffusion of geographic (spatial) technologies. As computers and silicon chips have become more capable and less expensive, geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning satellite (GPS) receivers, and remotely sensed images of Earth from airplanes and satellites have become accessible to geography students and faculty at all levels. These technologies are key research and communication tools for geographers and have significantly increased interest in geography as evidenced by rising enrollments in university undergraduate and graduate programs.3 Another indication of the growing importance of maps is a rising interest among geographers, psychologists, and cognitive scientists in spatial thinking, the kind of thinking that underpins map reading and interpretation. Spatial thinking is the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to use spatial concepts, maps and graphs, and processes of reasoning in order to organize and solve problems.4 Of course geospatial technologies and their products are available to * Sarah Witham Bednarz is Professor of Geography and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Geosciences, at Texas A&M University. Gillian Acheson is Assistant Professor of Geography at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Robert S. Bednarz is Professor of Geography at Texas A&M University.

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students and faculty in all disciplines, and they have become ever more common in the daily lives of more and more people. In fact, one can argue that the ability to use maps, images, and spatial technologies intelligently and critically is becoming a requirement to participate effectively as a citizen in modern society. Consider these four developments: 1. Travelers, hikers, hunters, and fishers frequently use GPS systems to find their locations and to assist them in getting to their destination. These systems are also becoming more common in automobiles. 2. Google, the most popular internet search utility, now offers users maps at virtually any scale desired and, recently, through Google Earth, remotely sensed images that users can view from any direction or angle. 3. Governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) typically make information available via printed and, increasingly, online maps. For example, the federal government lets online users map census data; cities and towns post their planning and land-use maps on the internet; and property tax districts post maps of tax rates and assessed values on their websites. NGOs are using “participatory GIS” or web-based GIS mapping tools to allow stakeholders to interactively explore spatial aspects of a wide range of issues, from urban neighborhood revitalization efforts to cleanup decisions at a plutonium production facility.5 4. Static and animated maps are much more common in today’s newspapers, magazines, and electronic media than they were 20 years ago. As the cost of producing and reproducing maps and images has declined, the media have increased both the amount and the sophistication of the materials they publish. These maps play an important role in both representing and reproducing space.6 The well-known 2004 election map indicating the so-called Republican red states (shown here in light gray) and the corresponding Democrat blue states (in darker gray) illustrates this (Figure 13.1). The map has taken on iconic status and reinforces the erroneous view that President Bush’s victory was a landslide. The population-based cartogram constructed by Michael Gastner and colleagues at the University of Michigan (Figure 13.2) offers a more accurate representation of the vote.7 In this way, maps and graphics may play a role in legitimating or disputing specific ideologies, beliefs, and practices. These developments, and more, both allow and require modern citizens to understand spatial information presented on electronic and printed maps and images. For this reason, helping students become competent users and creators of these technologies should be an important element of all of the social studies—maps are not just for geography anymore. This places a

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new—but welcomed—burden on geography educators to ensure that map learning and spatial thinking are taught and taught well in the social studies.8 But are they? Assessing Students’ Knowledge Assessments indicate that students are not competent map users. An analysis of the 2001 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) geography exam revealed that at every level (grades 4, 8 and 12) test items that required students to use and interpret maps were the most challenging (see Table 13.1). At grade 4, nine of the ten most difficult items required map interpretation, construction, or use. For grades 8 and 12, five and seven of the ten most frequently missed questions involved maps.9 Teachers’ Goals One explanation for these low scores is that few social studies teachers are aware of the growing importance of maps, or are prepared and motivated to teach about and with maps. Teaching about maps means providing students with the skills and understandings required to read, interpret, and produce maps. Teaching with maps means using maps to help students learn key social

Figure 13.1 Election Results by State.

Figure 13.2 Election Results by State in a Population Cartogram. Source: M. Gastner, C. Shalizi, and M. Newman. Maps and Cartograms of the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election Results, www-personal.umich.edu/∼mejn/election/.

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Describe and explain differences in population pyramids Use a time zone map Use map to explain international trade in oil Explain two reasons for high rate of tropical deforestation Use multiple maps to explain land use in Canada Recognize the natural forces that cause erosion Use map to explain historical shift in center of U.S. population Identify purpose of OPEC Understand and compare different views on land ownership Interpret resource map to determine likely location for large city to develop





Interpret resource map to determine likely location for large city to develop Draw map based on written description of its features Identify the mountain range in which Switzerland is located Use multiple maps to locate states where crops grow year round Use map to determine which countries might have a conflict over resources Use multiple maps to compare conditions for farming in two countries Interpret information given on transit map Find and draw specified route on a transit system map Identify a megalopolis on a population map Determine elevation of a region on a physical map

Grade 8 Top Ten Most Difficult Test Questions

Grade 4 Top Ten Most Difficult Test Questions

Table 13.1 Ten Most Difficult Test Items, NAEP 2002. (Items in italics involve map skills.)



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Use data and maps to explain Mongolia’s economic development Explain reasons for international trade in oil Explain differences between two countries using population pyramids Use atlas to explain regional variations in land use Use map to explain historical shift in center of U.S. population Use map to explain economic impact of MidEast War Use multiple maps to describe regions where most Australians live Explain high rate of tropical deforestation Use map and charts to compare urbanization in two European countries Use a time zone map

Grade 12 Top Ten Most Difficult Test Questions

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studies concepts and relationships. Teaching with maps enables students to learn through maps—that is, to think spatially—in various reasoning and problem-solving contexts in the classroom and real world.10 A recent survey completed by members of the Texas Alliance for Geographic Education provides information about teachers’ attitudes towards maps, how they use maps, and how they teach map skills.11 These teachers taught elementary (K-5), middle (6–8), and high (9–12) school, and they ranged in classroom experience from one to 38 years with an average of almost 14 years. All were expected to teach map skills as a component of the state-mandated social studies curriculum, which includes geography as a strand from kindergarten to grade 12. The survey revealed that these teachers’ methods were highly individualized. They used a variety of approaches and materials, including the textbook, workbooks, and self-made worksheets. Three broad approaches to teaching map lessons were identified: employing hands-on activities, repeating lessons periodically, and making the content relevant to students. Teachers described hands-on activities, especially “making” (labeling blank outline maps) maps, as a way for students both to learn about maps and to learn with maps. When teachers were asked the most important thing students learned from their map lessons, about one-third identified reading, interpreting, and analyzing maps. They expected their students to evaluate the information provided by the maps, to make inferences and decisions based on that information, to gain what one teacher called an “appreciation of spatial perspectives and understanding of spatial dimensions through scale,” and, in the words of another teacher, “to understand the geographic impacts illustrated by the map.” Thus, about one-third of teachers claimed to focus their map lessons on higher-order thinking involving the analysis and interpretation of the information presented on maps. However, when they were asked to describe the content of their lessons, their responses indicated that they were mainly teaching students to read maps. That is, they taught about latitude and longitude (or teaching students about grids), the five components of maps (title, date, direction, legend, and scale), the different types of maps (e.g., political, economic, physical, or topographic), and locating places. Teachers went on to report the most important skills for their students to learn included way-finding; locating cities, countries, and physical features; and understanding latitude and longitude, scale, direction, and map symbols. Generally speaking, then, their stated higher-order goals were not supported by their lower-order practices. Map Learning Researchers from a variety of fields have explored map learning. Geographers, social studies educators, and psychologists have studied how people use maps to organize information and find their way. They have also studied how people create and use mental images, termed “mental maps,” to understand their

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environments and to organize their knowledge of places. The results of this research should be integrated into curricula and textbooks and understood by teachers in order to improve students’ map learning and spatial thinking. Three findings are especially important concerning students’ ability to use maps, their ability to understand maps, and the cognitive complexity of map use. First, even the youngest students possess significant spatial skills, and they can be taught to read and interpret maps and images. Although many parents and teachers are skeptical about the ability of young children to understand and use maps, even elementary school students can use maps effectively. Research shows that young children are surprisingly adept at using maps (and remotely sensed images) to find locations and trace their paths to and from familiar destinations.12 Second, children can use maps for more than way-finding. They are able to understand and use symbols and patterns represented by color or shading.13 A few studies suggest that simple maps can be understood by children even without formal instruction. Some have interpreted these results to mean that certain spatial abilities are innate and that we need not wait until children progress to later developmental stages to introduce them to maps and other spatial representations.14 Third, this “intuitive” map learning seems to level off; that is, without formal instruction, students’ map learning plateaus. After all, map interpretation is a complex, multi-stepped cognitive process. One problem is that children and adults cling to a variety of misconceptions about maps and map use.15 For example, people often misinterpret symbols on maps. Understanding symbols requires abstract thinking and the ability to make generalizations. Point symbols, such as a dot to indicate the location of a city, are frequently assumed by novice map users to indicate size. They understand that a point is a distinct, small, and finite area when, in fact, the boundaries of the city might be much larger than the point on the map. Other map readers interpret point symbols as circles surrounding the location of a city or an area where something is taking place. Graduated symbols that portray the magnitude of a phenomena (i.e., a town’s population) by using symbols of different sizes further confuse map readers. Even adults often interpret the symbol’s size as a representation of the town’s area, not its population. Thus, the symbol denoting New York City’s population, which is very dense, is misunderstood to indicate that the city covers a large area. Pictorial symbols, such as the use of a single cow to indicate a region of cattle raising or a derrick to represent an area of oil production, are often used to simplify map interpretation in elementary social studies texts and atlases, yet they frequently confuse young students. For example, the single cow symbol has been interpreted by young learners to represent the presence of one giant cow in an area rather than a cattle-raising region. A car symbol positioned in an area of automobile production was interpreted variously by

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young British students as showing the location of a parking lot, the site of a traffic jam, a place where people liked red cars, and as the location of a broken car.16 The triangle symbol often used to represent mountains can mislead students to think that all mountains have distinct, pointed peaks similar to the symbol. Color, an important component of maps, is regularly interpreted naïvely as well. The green shading typically used to indicate a region with low elevation is often misunderstood by map readers to represent grassland or forest. Colors on political maps indicating the area of a country can lead to confusion as well; some students associate the color of the country with other assumed attributes of that place when, in fact, the mapmaker selected the color only for cartographic or artistic purposes. Researchers report that individuals react subjectively to color. “Red, for instance, is associated with fire, warning, heat, blood, anger, courage, power, love, material force, and Communism.”17 When Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are traveling down the Mississippi, Huck thinks he knows where they are by the color of the landscape. Tom asks, “You know by the color?” Huck answers, “It’s got everything to do with it. Illinois is green, Indiana is pink.” Incredulously, Tom replies, “Did you reckon the states was the same color out-of-doors as they are on the map?”18 In addition to the misconceptions about symbols and color, many map readers find it difficult to identify relationships from maps, particularly thematic maps. For example, the relationship between high literacy rates and low infant mortality rates often goes undetected by students because they do not recognize the negative or inverse relationships between variables.19 Relationships can occur when high values are associated with other high values or when high values are associated with low values, as in this case. Instruction does make a difference. Several studies confirm that the understanding of maps and how to use them can be improved.20 Children as young as four or five can be successfully taught about the shape of Earth, directions, Earth-sun relations, and the concept of scale.21 Instruction using maps as a primary tool can improve the mental maps of seventh-grade students and increase their understanding of the characteristics of places on a worldwide basis.22 A short, 20-minute session that taught a group of college students basic map terminology and how to read a topographic map improved their performance significantly compared to a group that received no instruction.23 As this brief review suggests, research does not provide teachers with a tested method they can adopt to ensure their students’ success. Nevertheless, research strongly implies that students can use maps effectively, that appropriate instruction can help them improve their skills, and that instruction should be developed with a full understanding of the difficulties learners experience in map learning and spatial thinking.

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A Map Curriculum The National Geography Standards: Geography for Life (1994), written more than a decade ago under the auspices of the United States Department of Education, specifies the essential subject matter, skills, and perspectives that all people should have to be geographically literate. The standards-setting process gave geography educators an opportunity to reflect on map learning, spatial thinking, and other key aspects of school geography. One goal of Geography for Life was for educators to see maps as a means of communication and to give students opportunities to become fluent in the language of maps. Maps play a central role in the first three (of 18) standards summarized under the heading Seeing the World in Spatial Terms. Standard 1—how to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective—is about maps, mapping, and using maps (and other geographic representations such as globes, graphs, diagrams, and aerial- and satellite-produced images) to learn geography. Standard 2—how to use mental maps to organize information about people, places, and environments—is about developing a personal understanding of the locations and characteristics of places (a student’s mental map). Standard 3—how to analyze the spatial organization of people, places, and environments on Earth’s surface—focuses on the ability to describe and analyze patterns of people, places, and environments on Earth using both visual and mental maps. The National Geography Standards were built on a foundation of traditional map components and skills such as reading maps, using scale to determine distance, and understanding map symbols. But the document also made recommendations based on the research already reviewed here that, while not practiced widely, are essential to our vision of map learning. One suggestion was that students should be able to make maps as well as read them. For example, the standards recommended that by the end of fourth grade, a student should be able to represent information geographically by reading a story and creating a sketch map to illustrate it. An example of this skill would be showing the movement of the family of ducks through the city of Boston, as described in the classic children’s book Make Way for Ducklings.24 A second recommendation of the National Geography Standards was that students should use maps produced with new technologies such as GIS and remote sensing. Maps displaying satellite imagery (e.g., Google Earth) are widely available now and becoming very popular; it was considered important, even in 1994, that students expand their map interpretation skills to include digital maps and images. Although the standards did not suggest integration of GIS into K-12 education, its growing importance was highlighted in an appendix. A more recent National Academy of Science study explores the role of GIS in supporting spatial thinking.25

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A third suggestion addresses social studies learning in general. Research suggests that when students read, they remember information as both word statements and visual images. This “dual encoding” can be enhanced when teachers encourage their students to link what they read to maps and other geographic representations. For example, every American fifth-grade student reads about Paul Revere’s ride, but what is understood and remembered is questionable.26 If students are asked to make a map of this momentous event showing the starting point, the opposite shore, the route of the two riders, and the eventual destination, Revere’s ride becomes vivid. Linking what with where, and reading and thinking with and through maps, makes content more memorable.27 Talking Back to Maps “Both in the selectivity of their content and in their signs and styles of representation, maps are a way of conceiving, articulating, and structuring the human world which is biased towards, promoted by, and exerts influence upon particular sets of social relations.”28 Just as the quotes at the beginning of this article represent the traditional importance of maps to the discipline of geography, so this quote from J.B. Harley represents a postmodern appreciation. Postmodern geographic thought has had little impact on geography education in the elementary and secondary schools of the United States, but we believe two perspectives of critical cartography are essential components of a revitalized pedagogy of maps and map learning: students and teachers should understand how geographic knowledge is created, and they should understand the purposes of such knowledge. In the context of maps and map learning, it is important that students and teachers understand that maps are social constructions. Just as texts are written by individuals with varying points of view, and can be read and interpreted in different ways and for different purposes, maps, too, are not objective representations of reality but social productions that can be subjected to critical analysis. Part of any revitalization of map learning, or to use Harley’s phrase, “an increase in levels of carto-literacy,” must include explicit instruction about how to interrogate a map—to consider the conditions under which it was produced, whether it may portray a particular point of view, and what, if any, messages it conveys about power and perspective.29 We believe it is essential for students to develop a critical awareness and skepticism about maps as well as other graphics and images. We close with two examples. During the Cold War, those who wished to emphasize the danger faced by the United States from communism often portrayed global spheres of influence using a Mercator projection. The size of countries on this type of map is exaggerated as one moves toward the poles. Thus, using this map to depict Eastern Europe, China, and the USSR (often in a bright symbolic red color) made this

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northerly region seem larger and more menacing than it would have on a map that represented areas more realistically.30 Choosing where to center a map also conveys the point of view of the mapmaker. Harley points out that centering this same Mercator projection on Europe strongly supported Europeans’ view of their global hegemony. This view makes it appear that “two-thirds of the Earth’s surface lie in high latitudes,” the location of Europe. At the same time “the colonies inhabited by coloured peoples are shown too small.”31 The practice of putting oneself at the center of the map is still common. Most American textbook maps in use today show the world with the North American-European core at the center, dividing the Pacific Rim in half and assigning it to the edges of the map. Not surprisingly, Japanese textbook maps frequently center on the Pacific basin splitting the Atlantic Ocean in half and assigning it to the map’s edges. Here are Three Strategies to Help Students Become More Critically “Carto-literate”: 1. Have students take a problem-solving approach by asking them to map a phenomenon, such as murders in the United States, in two ways. First, have them (inappropriately) plot the total number of murders by state. Then after dividing the number of murders by the states’ populations, ask students to map the per capita murder rate. Ask why the latter is more appropriate if one is interested in comparing the murder rate between states. By linking how a map is created to its purpose, students should gain a better sense of ways maps can distort relationships. 2. Have students take an inquiry approach to understand the characteristics of map projections. The objective is to comprehend how projections affect the information maps convey and the conclusions that can or cannot be reached from maps with various projections. Ask students to compare the size of northern regions (e.g., Canada, Russia, Greenland) on world maps with different projections such as the Mercator, the Robinson, and the Peters. Which maps show (relative) sizes most accurately? Which show shape or distance more accurately? Ask students how map readers might be confused or misled if an inappropriate map projection is chosen.32 3. Combine problem-solving with inquiry by requiring students to collect examples of maps from a range of local, national, and international sources, including newspapers and magazines. Display the maps, and guide students’ evaluation of them, questioning the maps’ social and political purpose(s), perspectives, biases, and possible distortions. By reflecting on the assumptions made in producing each map, students may develop the habit of mind to view maps critically.33

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Notes 1. Richard Hartshorne, The Nature of Geography (Washington, D.C.: Association of American Geographers, 1939). 2. Peter Haggett, The Geographer’s Art (Cambridge, Mass: Blackwell, 1990). 3. Douglas Richardson and Patricia Solis, “Confronted by Insurmountable Opportunities: Geography in Society at the AAG’s Centennial,” Professional Geographer 56, no. 1, 2004: 4–11. 4. Committee on the Support for Thinking Spatially: The Incorporation of Geographic Information Science across the K-12 Curriculum, Committee on Geography, National Research Council, Learning to Think Spatially: GIS as a Support System in the K-12 Curriculum (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2005). 5. Sarah Elwood, “Negotiating Knowledge Production: The Everyday Inclusions, Exclusions, and Contradictions of Participatory GIS Research,” Professional Geographer 58, no. 2 (2006): 197–208; Christina H. Drew, Timothy L. Nyerges, Kevin McCarthy, and J.A. Moore “Using Decision Paths to Explore Three Environmental Cleanup Decisions: A Cross Case Analysis” International Journal of Environment and Pollution 17, no. 3 (2002): 171–201. 6. Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space (Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell, 1991). 7. Michael Gastner, Cosma Shalizi, and Mark Newman, “Maps and Cartograms of the 2004 US Presidential Election Results” (Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan, Accessed January 3, 2006), www-personal.umich.edu/mejn/election. 8. Sarah W. Bednarz, Gillian Acheson, and Robert S. Bednarz, “Maps,” The Social Studies Review 42, no. 2 (2004): 77–84. 9. Andrew R. Weiss, Anthony D. Lutkus, Barbara S. Hildebrant, and Mathew S. Johnson, NAEP: The Nation’s Report Card: Geography 2001 (Washington D.C.: National Center for Education Statistics, 2002). 10. Lynn Liben, “Thinking Through Maps,” in Spatial Schemas and Abstract Thought, ed. Meredith Gattis (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2001). 11. Gillian Acheson, Teaching the Tool of the Trade: An Exploration of Teachers’ Beliefs, Knowledge, and Practices about Maps (Ph.D. dissertation, Texas A&M University, 2003). 12. Mark Blades and Christopher Spencer, “The Use of Maps by 4–6 Year-Old-Children in a Large-scale Maze,” British Journal of Developmental Psychology 5, no. 1 (1987): 19–24; Blades and Spencer, “The Development of 3- to 6-Year-Olds’ Map Using Ability: The Relative Importance of Landmarks and Map Alignment.” The Journal of Genetic Psychology 151, no. 2 (1990): 181–194; Neil Bluestone and Linda Acredolo, “Developmental Changes in Map-reading Skills,” Child Development 50 (1979): 691–697; Joseph M. Kirman and M. Unsworth, “Digital Data in the Grade 6 Classroom,” Journal of Geography 91, no. 6 (1992): 241; Clark C. Presson, “The Development of Map-Reading Skills,” Child Development 53, no. 1 (1982): 196–199; David H. Uttal and Henry M. Wellman, “Young Children’s Representation of Spatial Information Acquired From Maps,” Developmental Psychology 25, no. 1 (1989): 128–138. 13. David Boardman, “The Development of Graphicacy: Children’s Understanding of Maps,” Geography 74, no. 2 (1989): 321–331; Karen M. Trifonoff, “Going Beyond Location: Thematic Maps in the Early Elementary Grades,” Journal of Geography 94, no. 6 (March/April 1995): 368–374; Patrick Wiegand and Bernadette Stiell, “Communication in Children’s Picture Atlases,” The Cartographic Journal 33, no. 1 (1996): 17–25.

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14. James M. Blaut, “The Mapping Abilities of Young Children: Children Can,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 87, no. 1 (1997): 152–158; James M. Blaut, and David Stea, “Studies of Geographic Learning,” Annals of Association of American Geographers 61, no. 2 (1971): 387–393. 15. Arline L. Bronzaft, Stephen B. Dobrow, and T. J. O’Hanlon, “Spatial Orientation in a Subway System,” Environment and Behavior 8, no. 4 (1976): 575–594; Roger M. Downs and Lynn S. Liben, “The Development of Expertise in Geography: A Cognitive-Development Approach to Geographic Education,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 81, no. 2 (1991): 304–327; Jeannine B. Mealey, Malcolm M. Cohen, and Kevin Jordan, “Effects of Map Orientation during Learning on Airport Identification,” Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine 69, no. 2 (1998): 104–110; Phillip Muehrcke, “Beyond Abstract Map Symbols,” The Journal of Geography 73, no. 8 (1974): 35–52. 16. Wiegand and Stiell, op. cit. 17. Mark Monmonier, How To Lie with Maps, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 170. 18. Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer Abroad: Tom Sawyer, Detective, and Other Stories (New York: Harper 1910): 29. 19. Patrick Wiegand, “Cartography and Geoinformation Science in the Curriculum” (Keynote address. Commission on Geographical Education, International Geographical Union, Glasgow, UK, August 11–15, 2005). 20. Roger M. Downs and Lynn S. Liben (1991); Madeline Gregg and Gaea Leinhardt, “Mapping Out Geography: An Example of Epistemology and Education,” Review of Educational Research 64, no. 2 (1994): 311–361; M. H. Matthews, Making Sense of Place: Children’s Understanding of Large-Scale Environments (London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992). 21. Cammie L. Atkins, “Introducing Basic Map and Globe Concepts to Young Children,” Journal of Geography 80 (1981): 228–233. 22. John J. Chiodo, “Improving the Cognitive Development of Students’ Mental Maps of the World,” Journal of Geography 96, no. 3 (1997): 153–163. 23. James Saku, “Map Use, Teaching, and Experience,” Cartographica 49, no. 3–4 (1992): 38–45. 24. Robert McCloskey, Make Way for Ducklings (New York: The Viking Press, 1941). 25. Learning to Think Spatially: GIS as a Support System in the K-12 Curriculum. 26. Jere Brophy and Bruce VanSledright, Teaching and Learning History in Elementary Schools (New York: Teachers College Press, 1997). 27. Reginald G. Golledge and Robert J. Stimson, Spatial Behavior: A Geographic Perspective (New York: Guilford Press, 1997). 28. J.B. Harley, “Maps, Knowledge, and Power,” in The Iconography of Landscape, eds. Denis Cosgrove and Stephen Daniels (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). 29. Ibid., 278. 30. Monmonier, 95. 31. Harley, 290. 32. Judy M. Olson, “Map Projections and the Visual Detective: How to Tell if a Map is Equal Area, Conformal, or Neither,” Journal of Geography 105, no. 1 (2006): 13–32; and Avner Segall, “Maps as Stories about the World,” Social Studies and the Young Learner 16, no. 1 (2003), 21–25. 33. John Morgan and David Lambert, Geography: Teaching School Subjects 11–19 (London: Routledge, 2005), 114.

14

What Do Children Know about Cultural Universals?

JERE BROPHY AND JANET ALLEMAN*

Much of the content commonly addressed in elementary social studies is focused on cultural universals, domains of human experience that have existed in all cultures, past and present. These include the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter, as well as family structures, government, communication, transportation, and several others. Although activities relating to cultural universals can be identified in all societies, their perception and practice vary. Early social studies teaching tends to focus on cultural universals for two major reasons. First, human activities relating to cultural universals dominate everyday living and are the focus of much of human social organization and communal activity. Therefore, instruction on cultural universals provides many natural starting points for developing initial social understandings. Second, children from all social backgrounds begin accumulating personal experiences with cultural universals right from birth, and they can draw on these experiences as they learn social education concepts and principles. Educators who approach the subject of cultural universals analytically can help students develop a valuable understanding of how our social system works, how and why it got to be that way, how and why related practices vary across location and culture, and what all of this means for personal, social, and civic decision making. For educators to build on their students’ knowledge and to address misconceptions, however, they need more information about the trajectories in children’s development of basic social understandings. Although some research has been done on the developmental stages of students’ economic, political, and social knowledge, very little such information exists for the social studies.

* Jere Brophy is Professor of Teacher Education at Michigan State University, East Lansing. Janet Alleman is Professor of Teacher Education at Michigan State University, East Lansing.

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The authors of this article have been studying the progress of children’s knowledge for content commonly addressed in elementary social studies, particularly in the primary grades. We have conducted interviews with large samples of children in grades K-3 to elicit their knowledge and thinking about cultural universals. Our findings should be useful for teachers of grades K-3 in planning instruction about cultural universals, as well for teachers of grade 4 who need to understand the prior knowledge and misconceptions students are likely to have. Although most surveys of students’ social studies knowledge concentrate on isolated facts, with findings that illustrate what percentage of students answered which item correctly, our studies focus on the qualitative aspects of children’s thinking, as well as commonly held misconceptions. Below, we present highlights of our findings on children’s ideas about shelter, clothing, and food. We also explore methods that humans have developed for addressing these basic needs. The findings were derived from individual interviews conducted with urban and suburban Michigan students in grades K-3, stratified according to socioeconomic status, achievement level, and gender. Shelter Our first study focused on shelter.1 Most students understood that shelter is a basic need, even in warm-climate places like Hawaii. They gave good explanations for why people need shelter (for protection against the elements and to provide a place to keep possessions). Their ideas about prototypical homes from the past, however, emphasized description over explanation and form over function. For example, they usually recognized differences in size, construction material, durability, and general quality of Native American pueblos, longhouses, and tipis depicted in illustrations, but they did not understand much about the historical, geographical, or cultural reasons for these contrasting housing styles. Students seemed generally unaware that housing types reflected differences in climate and local availability of construction materials; many students thought that the Native Americans who built pueblos could just as easily have built longhouses. Students also did not realize that certain native tribes were nomadic societies that moved with the buffalo, and that for these groups, portability was a crucial quality of tipis. When asked to explain why certain tribes used tipis, students usually suggested reasons such as that tipi dwellers were poor people who could not afford better homes, that tipi dwellers preferred a tipi because they could build a fire in it and the smoke would discharge through the hole in the top, or that those who lived in tipis needed something to do with the leftover animal skins that they didn’t want to waste. The children’s ideas about the log cabins of pioneers were more accurate and less fanciful than their ideas about Native American homes, but even so, misconceptions were common (e.g., that the cabins could easily collapse

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because the logs weren’t nailed together). Most of the students emphasized the deficiencies of these homes rather than appreciating them as inventive adaptations to a time and place. In thinking about contemporary housing, the students focused on what is visible inside and outside the home but did not show much awareness of what is in between the walls or beneath the building. They usually showed little appreciation of homes as controlled environments for comfortable living or of the mechanisms that bring us instant access to light, heat, or running water. Most understood that water is piped into homes, but many did not appreciate that this water is drawn from fresh—rather than salt—water sources and purified before being sent to homes; and students did not realize that it arrives under pressure. Most understood that thermostats are used to adjust heating, but were vague about where the heat comes from or how the system works. Their thinking progressed from believing that a utility company supplies heat directly and the furnace is merely a storage place, to knowing that heat is generated in the furnace but not knowing how, to knowing that the furnace contains a fire that heats air. Most knew that electricity is involved in creating light, because they knew that one must throw a switch to allow electricity to enter the bulb. However, they were unable to explain how the arrival of electricity causes the bulb to light up. Most of the students believed that most people prefer homes to apartments. However, they had difficulty explaining what is involved in renting apartments and why some people choose to do so; and some of the younger ones confused apartments with hotels or institutions that care for the elderly. Only a few understood that renting is a profit-making business or that people can get mortgage loans to allow them to move into a home before they have accumulated its full purchase price. They thought that people who live in apartments do so only temporarily because they are waiting for a house to be constructed, waiting for a house to become available, or have not yet accumulated enough money to buy a home. Because we conducted our initial study in a primarily horizontal, low-density Michigan suburb, we later interviewed in primarily vertical, highdensity Manhattan.2 Despite dramatic contrasts between these built environments, the students’ responses to our shelter interview were more similar than different. The New York City students were less likely to say that most people prefer homes to apartments or to confuse apartments with hotels, but they knew less than the Michigan students did about the sources of water, light, and heat in modern living quarters. Many of them had boiler/steam rather than furnace/forced air heating systems, but they were no more likely to understand that fire is used to heat water in a boiler than the Michigan students were to understand that fire is used to heat the air in a furnace. The students’ ideas about their ideal future homes reflected both their

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geographic and their socioeconomic circumstances. Most of the Michigan students depicted single-family homes located in suburban or semi-rural areas, near relatives and friends and removed from urban density and crime. New York students were more likely to assume that they would live in the city; but the subset from Harlem tended to depict relatively modest apartments, whereas the more privileged subset from the Upper West Side tended to depict either sumptuous urban apartments or country estates (or in a few cases, both). The students identified many of the same home features and location considerations that their parents might have mentioned, except that only a few of them talked about locating near the children’s schools or the parents’ workplaces. Clothing Our next study focused on clothing.3 Most students understood that clothing is a basic need; they identified at least one of its functions (e.g., protection, modesty, decoration), and described business, work, and play clothes. Only 25 percent, however, understood that cloth is woven. Many thought that cloth is a solid (like plastic or leather) or is made by taking raw material (like fluffy cotton) and pressing it flat. Furthermore, only 13 percent understood that the thread used in weaving cloth is spun from raw material. Most could not explain how thread is obtained or manufactured; they spoke of obtaining thread for new clothes by unraveling existing cloth, or guessed that thread is a natural material such as hair or animal fur that is somehow gathered and used as is (without being spun). The students typically understood that modern clothing is improved over clothing in earlier times, but most of their explanations focused on aesthetics (e.g., today’s clothes are more colorful, decorated with designs). Few students talked about today’s clothes as being more comfortable, better at keeping us warm, lighter or softer, less likely to fall apart, or available in better variety and quantity. When asked where their shirt or dress was made, more students said near the place where it was purchased than near where the raw materials are plentiful. Levels of understanding increased across the K-3 range, but even among the third graders, fewer than half understood the fundamental nature of cloth and thread. Food Our next study focused on food.4 The students understood that we need food to maintain our health and vitality and that certain foods are better for us than others, but they had difficulty defining food because they lacked knowledge of how our bodies process food and the functions that it fulfills in providing us with nutrients and energy. Attempts to distinguish food from nonfood often were based on nonessential characteristics (e.g., food has taste, contains juice or seeds) or involved circular reasoning (we eat things because they are food, and

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food is food because we eat it) or reversed logic (foods are things that we eat with a fork or spoon). Comparisons between foods from the past and the present showed that students had little awareness of the relatively recent vintage of modern food processing and packaging methods that have created frozen foods and other convenience foods. Some students displayed reversed logic by stating that in the past, certain foods were unavailable because there were no supermarkets, or people didn’t eat hamburgers because they didn’t have grills. The students also had difficulty comparing foods eaten commonly in the United States versus elsewhere in the world. Interestingly, along with traditional “meat and potatoes” meals, students often identified spaghetti and meatballs, macaroni and cheese, pizza, or tacos as typical American fare. The students struggled with questions about why Americans eat more beef and bread while Chinese people eat more chicken and rice. Only a few showed awareness of geography’s influence on decisions about what crops or animals to raise. The others attributed the contrasts between American and Chinese diets to taste preferences or unexplained differences in access to the foods involved. The students typically depicted cooking as a method of making foods taste better or improving their sensory qualities (e.g., soften them for easier chewing) and depicted refrigeration as a method of keeping foods fresh and tasting good. Few of them identified cooking as a way to kill bacteria, and even fewer depicted refrigeration or preservation as methods of retarding decomposition. Most showed good practical knowledge (understanding that foods spoil and that steps such as refrigeration or careful wrapping and sealing can preserve freshness), based on observable features and events (foods gradually become stale, hard, or “yucky”), but few understood much about the causal mechanisms underlying these transformations. Those with some understandings spoke of protecting foods from insects, and those who were starting to develop more scientific understandings spoke of protecting foods from germs, bacteria, or things in the air. The students were generally knowledgeable about healthful versus less healthful foods, although less knowledgeable about the reasons for these differences and less aware of fat than of sugar as a potentially problematic component of one’s diet. Responses to questions about the land-to-hand progressions in bringing common foods (applesauce, cheese, bread, hamburger meat) to our tables indicated that the children were better informed when these progressions involved minimal physical transformation of the original foods, fewer combinations with other ingredients, and less processing. For example, most knew that applesauce is basically crushed/mushed apples, but only 20 percent knew that cooking is involved and only 20 percent mentioned ingredients other than apples (e.g., sugar, cinnamon). Only about half of the students knew that cheese is made from milk, and only 10 percent

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were able to say anything else about the process (often articulating misconceptions such as that cheese is made by freezing the milk). Only 20 percent were able to provide a basic explanation for the manufacture of bread that included both making dough from its ingredients and baking the dough into bread. Many thought that bread is made simply by grinding up grain and then cooking it. Only a few understood that flour is finely ground grain and that it is mixed with other ingredients to form bread dough. Finally, fewer than half of the students understood that hamburger meat comes from cattle; and students’ descriptions of what is involved in creating hamburger meat usually omitted the process of grinding. The suburban students had little direct experience with farming and little awareness of food production and manufacturing as an industry. When asked about food production, they described small family farms on which people raise food in part (or even mostly) for their own consumption and sell the rest to nearby food stores. These children had little or no awareness of massive, corporately owned farms and ranches or of networks of food manufacturing companies, food transportation systems, storage facilities, and supermarket chains involved in bringing food to nearby stores. When asked why farmers raise chickens, cows, pigs, and sheep, most were able to say that we get meat and eggs from chickens, milk and meat from cows, meat from pigs, and wool from sheep. Only about a fourth noted that we also get meat from sheep; and there was little or no mention of tanning the hides of cattle or pigs to create leather products or of raising animals as a profit-making business. The students also showed limited awareness that production and labor costs add to the prices of food items. Most had difficulty explaining why a pound of cereal costs more than a pound of apples, and many had difficulty explaining why the same meal costs more to eat in a restaurant than it would to eat at home. Finally, a majority could not adequately respond to a question about why there are many farmers in Michigan but few in Alaska. Once again, the students displayed limited awareness of how geography and climate affect human activities. We later administered the same interview to students from farm families.5 They provided much more detail when asked about steps in growing corn and about inventions that have helped farmers. Their direct experiences with farming, however, did not enable them to respond any more successfully than the suburban students to questions about land-to-hand relationships involved in bringing common foods to our table, about why there are fewer farms in Alaska, or about why fewer farmers per capita are needed today than in the past. Implications for Curriculum and Instruction Our subsequent research involved interviewing K-3 students about communication, transportation, families, and government.6 All of our studies document growth in knowledge across the K-3 range, but they also indicate that the

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knowledge of even the third graders is limited. We typically find that the children’s knowledge is spotty, tacit rather than well articulated, composed of sporadic observations rather than well-integrated knowledge networks, and often distorted by inaccurate assumptions or outright misconceptions. Thinking about the past is tinged with presentism (viewing the people of the past more with hindsight than empathy, and thus pitying or disparaging them because their ideas or technologies compare poorly to those available today), and thinking about other cultures is tinged with chauvinism (the tendency to value what is familiar and disparage what is unfamiliar). Our findings suggest many potential implications for instruction, both in terms of identifying valid understandings to build on and identifying naïve conceptions or misconceptions to address in the process of educating students. For example, teaching about tipis would emphasize that the plains tribes were nomadic societies that followed the buffalo and therefore needed portable housing; and teaching about stilt houses would emphasize that the houses are built by people who live in flood plains because they are rice farmers. Teaching about the economics of shelter would address the motivations of the parties involved in home mortgages (banks make money from loan operations by requiring people to pay interest; home buyers are willing to do this because it allows them to move into a house now, without having to wait until they accumulate the full price). These basic social understandings can be conveyed without extending the curriculum beyond social studies goals or the students’ readiness (e.g., there is no need to try to teach about loan structures, payment schedules, interest rates, and their interactions). We have developed instructional units designed to build systematic knowledge about cultural universals by structuring understandings around major ideas developed in depth and with emphasis on their connections and their applications to life outside of school.7 Each unit begins with a summary of children’s knowledge and thinking about the topic, and the unit’s lessons and activities reflect our ideas about building on valid prior knowledge and addressing misconceptions. Given the ubiquity of material on cultural universals in the primary-grades curriculum, elementary social studies supervisors, curriculum directors, and teachers may find our research findings useful as they develop their own curriculum guidelines and instructional plans. These findings represent a beginning knowledge base about developments in students’ thinking on topics addressed in the social studies curriculum, which we hope will grow to comparability with parallel knowledge bases already developed for learning mathematics and science. Notes 1. Jere Brophy and Janet Alleman, “Primary-grade Students’ Knowledge and Thinking about Shelter as a Cultural Universal” (ERIC Document No. 031 188, 1999);

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• Jere Brophy and Janet Alleman Jere Brophy and Janet Alleman, “Primary-grade Students’ Knowledge and Thinking about Native American and Pioneer Homes,” Theory and Research in Social Education 28 (2000): 96–120; Jere Brophy and Janet Alleman, “What Primarygrade Students Say about Their Ideal Future Homes,” Journal of Social Studies Research 25, no. 2 (2001): 23–35; Jere Brophy and Janet Alleman, “Primary-grade Students’ Knowledge and Thinking about the Economics of Meeting Families’ Shelter Needs,” American Educational Research Journal (2002): 423–468; and Jere Brophy and Janet Alleman, “Primary-grade Students’ Knowledge and Thinking about the Supply of Utilities (Water, Heat, and Light) to Modern Homes,” Cognition and Instruction, in press. Jere Brophy, Carolyn O’Mahony, and Janet Alleman, “Ideas about Shelter Expressed by Third Graders from Vertical/Urban Versus Horizontal/Suburban Communities in the United States” (submitted for distribution through the ERIC system, 2002). Jere Brophy and Janet Alleman, “Primary-grade Students’ Knowledge and Thinking about Clothing as a Cultural Universal” (ERIC Document No. ED 439 072, 1999). Jere Brophy, Janet Alleman, and Carolyn O’Mahony, “Primary-grade Students’ Knowledge and Thinking about Food as a Cultural Universal” (ERIC Document No. ED 451 124, 2001). Jere Brophy, Carolyn O’Mahony, and Janet Alleman, “Ideas about Food Production, Distribution, and Consumption Expressed by Third Graders from New Zealand and from Urban and Rural Communities in the United States” (submitted for distribution through the ERIC system, 2002). Jere Brophy and Janet Alleman, “Primary-grade Students’ Knowledge and Thinking about Communication as a Cultural Universal” (ERIC Document No. ED 451 129, 2001); Jere Brophy and Janet Alleman, “Primary-grade Students’ Knowledge and Thinking about Transportation as a Cultural Universal” (ERIC Document No. ED 454 151, 2001); Jere Brophy and Janet Alleman, “Primary-grade Students’ Knowledge and Thinking about Family Living as a Cultural Universal” (ERIC Document No. ED 454 150, 2001); and Jere Brophy and Janet Alleman, “Primarygrade Students’ Knowledge and Thinking about Government as a Cultural Universal” (submitted for distribution through the ERIC system, 2002). Janet Alleman and Jere Brophy, Social Studies Excursions, K-3: Book One: Powerful Units on Food, Clothing, and Shelter (Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 2001); Janet Alleman and Jere Brophy, Social Studies Excursions, K-3: Book Two: Powerful Units on Communication, Transportation, and Family Living (Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 2002); and Janet Alleman and Jere Brophy, Social Studies Excursions, K-3, Book Three: Powerful Units on Childhood, Money and Government (Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, in press).

15

High Quality Civic Education

What Is It and Who Gets It? JOSEPH KAHNE AND ELLEN MIDDAUGH*

Interviewer: Boy’s Voice: Interviewer: Boy’s Voice: Girl’s Voice: Boy’s Voice:

What are your feelings about government and politics? It’s boring. When you say it’s boring, what’s boring about it? The subject matter. Yes, very true. It’s not just the work. It’s what the work is about. We don’t care about it. Focus group of high school seniors in a traditional government classroom

It is commonly understood that democratic self-governance requires an informed and educated citizenry and that access to education is an important support for the development of such citizens. Civic education, however, which explicitly teaches the knowledge, skills and values believed necessary for democratic citizenship, currently holds a tenuous position in American public schools. It was common in the 1960s for students to take multiple courses in civics covering not only the structure of American government but also the role of citizens and the issues they and the government face. Students today, however, typically take only one semester-long course on American government.1 These courses tend to focus on factual knowledge of American government (e.g. contents of the Constitution and branches of government) and give considerably less attention to the role of common citizen.2 What brought about this retreat from civic curricula? Any change in educational practice is likely the result of a number of influences. However, two important challenges to civic education seem particularly relevant for

* Joseph Kahne is Abbie Valley Professor of Education and Dean, School of Education, at Mills College, Oakland, California. Ellen Middaugh is Senior Research Associate at the Civic Engagement Research Group, Mills College, Oakland, California.

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understanding why it is such a small part of public schooling today and whether greater attention to the subject is warranted. One challenge is the belief by some that civics instruction is relatively less important than, and takes time away from, subjects such as math, science and reading. Indeed, the now famous 1983 report A Nation at Risk identified increasing pressures on schools to “provide solutions to personal, social, and political problems” as a core threat to providing quality education.3 The authors acknowledge the importance of an educated citizenry for democracy, but focus on the need to develop general skills such as literacy, critical thinking, and labor market skills rather than skills, knowledge, and thinking specific to civic participation and deliberation. This position has been increasingly evident in educational policy. Most notably, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 requires schools to conduct assessments in math, reading/language arts, and science only. The accountability measures tied to these assessments suggest that little importance is placed on civic outcomes. It is not surprising, then, that civics courses have fallen by the wayside. Indeed, a 2006 study by the Center on Education policy found that 71 percent of districts reported cutting back time on other subjects to make more space for reading and math instruction.4 Social studies was the part of the curriculum that was most frequently cited as the place where these reductions occurred. While recent analyses of national tests of academic achievement suggest that some important gains have been made since 1990, these gains appear primarily in the area of math and only for younger students.5 In spite of pressures to focus on curricular areas of math and reading, we see “little or no progress in reading achievement since 1990” and little to no improvement for reading or math among high school students.6 Meanwhile, numerous studies have found that levels of informed civic engagement are lower than desirable, and in many cases, are declining.7 As a panel of experts convened by the American Political Science Association recently found, “Citizens participate in public affairs less frequently, with less knowledge, and enthusiasm, in fewer venues, and less equitably than is healthy for a vibrant democratic polity.”8 For example, voting rates of those under age 25 in U.S. presidential elections have declined steadily from 52 percent to 37 percent between 1972 (the first election when 18 year-olds were given the right to vote in a presidential election) and 2000.9 Similarly, youth interest in discussing political issues declined to their lowest levels since historic highs in the 1960s.10 Roughly 25 percent of young people from 1960–1976 reported that they followed public affairs most of the time, but by 2000, that number had declined to 5 percent.11 Although young people’s voting rates increased somewhat in the November 2004 elections in the United States, youth voters remained roughly the same proportion of the total electorate.12 Furthermore, it is unclear whether this up-tick in turnout will be sustained, and more importantly, whether it will be accompanied by increases in students’ knowledge and interest in following politics.

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As important as voting may be, informed and educated voting is more important. Given the overall low levels of youth commitment to and capacity for political participation, it is clear that many young people are not having experiences in or out of school that support their development into informed and effective citizens. With this in mind, we address the second challenge to civic education—the question of whether civics classes can be effective for encouraging the development of youth civic commitments and capacities. Early evaluations of the impact of high school government courses found little relationship between exposure to such curriculum and youth political orientations, casting considerable doubt on their effectiveness.13 These studies, however, focused on U.S. government courses and civics courses in general, with little attention to differences in quality. Indeed, Langton and Jennings note that in spite of their findings about the general effects of government courses, “there is reason to believe that under special conditions, exposure to government and politics courses does have an impact at the secondary level.”14 Uncovering what these “special conditions” might be and figuring out how to make them more typical has become the focus of some recent research and related educational practice and policy work. The purpose of this article is to share a model of high quality civic education and the research base that supports it. Using this model, we then examine the extent to which high quality civic education is available to students across a diverse set of schools in the state of California. A Model of High Quality Civic Education In response to doubts about whether civic education can have a substantial impact on youth civic and political engagement, some scholars have focused their attention on understanding how youth who are active and engaged became that way and, in turn, how schools might incorporate that knowledge to provide better quality civic education.15 Perhaps the most thorough treatment of this issue is undertaken by James Youniss and Miranda Yates, whose work provides a conceptualization of the factors that promote the development of a civic identity.16 Drawing on Erik Erikson’s Identity: Youth, and Crisis, Youniss and Yates argue that a prime task of late adolescence is the development of a social identity that embraces an orientation towards civic and political participation.17 As they state, “Gaining a sense of agency and feeling responsible for addressing society’s problems are distinguishing elements that mark mature social identity.”18 They also identify three kinds of opportunities can spur such development: opportunities for agency and industry, for social relatedness, and for the development of political-moral understandings. Their model was designed to help explain how various kinds of service-learning experiences can promote a sense of social responsibility in youth. In an earlier study with Joel Westheimer, we adapted this framework from

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service learning specifically to civic education generally.19 Our reasoning was that a “mature social identity” that supports civic engagement can be fostered by opportunities that develop students’ sense of their civic and political capacities, connections, and commitments. While the terminology is more specific to civic education, the framework is the same. Our model assumes that students’ broad commitment to civic participation will be enhanced when they develop the sense that they have the capacity to be effective as civic actors, when they feel connected to groups and other individuals who share their commitments and/or can facilitate their involvement and effectiveness as civic actors, and when they have formed particular and strong commitments with respect to specific social issues. The model also provides a way to understand how curricular experiences can foster broad civic commitments by developing students’ sense of their civic capacities, connections, and commitments to particular issues. For example, opportunities to learn about ways to improve the community might reasonably be expected to foster a sense of civic capacity. Meeting civically active role models and participating in service projects might be expected to foster a sense of civic connection. And learning about social problems or discussing current events might be expected to foster commitments to particular societal issues. Moreover, some opportunities, depending on how they are structured, might be expected to foster more than one of these intermediary outcomes. Experiences that Foster Civic and Political Commitments and Capacities Prior studies have found that the quantity of civic education bears little relationship to young people’s later civic and political activity. Yet, when studies focus on practices that align with the model of high quality civic education just described, the results are more promising. Indeed, recent research has found a fairly broad variety of school-based opportunities (the “curricular supports” in our model) that are related to increased levels of civic and political commitments, capacities, and activities amongst youth. A consensus statement from leaders in the field identified six promising practices research has found to be related to higher levels of students’ civic or political commitment, knowledge, skills and activities. These include information about the local, state, and national government; opportunities to debate and discuss current events and other issues that matter to students; service-learning opportunities; experiences with extracurricular activities; opportunities for youth decisionmaking; and engaging in simulations of civic processes.20 Other researchers have identified additional practices such as open classroom environments and controversial issue discussions.21 Currently, much of the research is correlational, leaving open the question of whether these experiences lead to greater civic commitments and capacities or are sought out by students who are already interested in civic and political engagement. However, some recent studies that used pre/post designs

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and control groups have begun to address this concern. These studies have focused on particular curricular initiatives such as service learning, examining upcoming elections, and experience-based curriculum for high school government courses.22 In addition, we recently completed a large-scale longitudinal study that, unlike prior largescale studies, examined multiple civic learning opportunities associated with best practice and controlled for students’ prior civic commitments. We found that meeting civic role models, learning about problems in society, learning about ways to improve one’s community, having service-learning experiences, being required to keep up with politics and government, being engaged in open classroom discussions, and studying topics about which the student cares, all promoted commitments to civic participation among high school students. And the magnitude of this impact was substantial. We found that if schools could increase their provision of these opportunities, then they could more than offset differences in civic engagement caused by differences in opportunities in students’ home environments.23 What Kinds of Experiences with Civic Opportunities do High School Students Typically Have? Given the evidence that some school-based opportunities foster adolescents’ civic commitments and capacities at a time in their lives when they are forming their own civic and political identity, it makes sense to examine the extent to which high school students typically have access to these kinds of opportunities. To address this question, we worked with the Constitutional Rights Foundation and the Educating for Democracy Initiative to survey a sample of 2,366 California high school students to find out how frequently they experienced the kinds of opportunities that supported the development of committed, informed, and effective citizens. The findings suggest that students’ access to these opportunities is uneven. Some opportunities are more common than others, and some students are more likely than others to be afforded them. When we asked students how often they had each of the civic opportunities detailed in our model, the most common answer was, “a little.”24 And sometimes, for some students, these desired opportunities don’t occur at all. For example, when asked how much of a chance students had to say how they think the school should be run, 36 percent said “not at all.” Thirty-six percent also reported never having the opportunity to participate in simulations or role-plays during high school. And 34 percent report never being part of a service-learning project while in high school. Clearly, one need not have these experiences as part of every class, but sizable numbers of students are not getting these opportunities at all. While the overall portrait suggests that many students have little experience with a number of the opportunities, there were some bright spots. In particular, students were more likely to report frequent experiences with learning about how government works (68 percent), discussing current events

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(58 percent) and being in classrooms where a wide range of student views were discussed (68 percent). Unequal Access to Opportunities It is inevitable that students will have different opportunities with respect to promoting civic development depending on the teachers they happen to have for particular subjects. It should not be the case, however, that these opportunities are distributed on the basis of characteristics such as race or class, or academic standing. Unfortunately, there is evidence that these kinds of systemic inequalities exist. Our study of high school seniors in California revealed differences in access to opportunities related to race and ethnicity— even when we controlled for students’ different academic performance and future educational goals.25 Specifically, even with other controls in place, students who identified as African Americans were less likely than others to report having civically oriented government courses, less likely to report having discussions of current events that were personally relevant, less likely to report having voice in the school or classroom, and were less likely to report opportunities for role-plays or simulations.26 Students who identified as Asian reported more participation in after-school activities and more voice in the school than others, but less open discussion in the classroom. Students who identified themselves as Latino reported fewer opportunities for service than others and fewer experiences with role-plays and simulations. Students identifying as White were more likely than others to report having civically oriented government courses and were more likely to report having voice in the classroom. We also found that high school seniors who did not expect to take part in any form of post-secondary education reported significantly fewer opportunities to develop civic and political capacities and commitments than those with post-secondary plans. Indeed, the quantity of opportunities provided for students was strongly related to the amount of post-secondary education a student expected to receive.27 A large body of evidence demonstrates that significant differences exist between various groups of adults with respect to their engagement and influence in the political system. When explaining these differences, most researchers emphasize factors such as an individual’s income, level of education, and race; they do not consider the role that schools may play in exacerbating that inequality by providing fewer civic learning opportunities to that same group of students.28 Though the magnitude of such school effects in relation to other factors is not yet clear, it does appear that schools may well increase rather than decrease inequalities related to civic and political participation. Conclusion: Moving towards High Quality Civic Education for All Students There are many indications that the level of student civic and political commitments and capacities is less than desirable for a democratic society and that,

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in many cases, it is declining. There is also considerable evidence that educators can help by providing a particular set of civic learning opportunities. When schools provide the kinds of opportunities that allow students to learn and practice a variety of civic skills, learn about how government works, see how others engage civically and politically, and grapple with their own roles as future citizens, then we see increases in both students’ commitment to and capacity for future participation. Indeed, the promise of these civic learning opportunities makes clear the significant cost of policies that crowd out attention to the preparation of citizens and therefore diminish attention to these practices. We believe these civic learning opportunities may be important later in life, but are particularly important at the high school level. Not only is high school the last period when young people in America are guaranteed access to free education, and to civic education (when it is included), but it is a time when many are making important decisions about their future and their relationship to the world. Unfortunately, many students, particularly those who are not planning to seek further education and those who are members of politically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, report few experiences with the kinds of opportunities that have been found to be most effective. At the same time, however, we are also aware that there is much more that we still must learn. Not all findings regarding the impact of civic learning opportunities have been positive, and there is reason to believe that the varied quality of these opportunities can alter their impact. For example, some studies that control for prior commitments find significant positive effects only for “high quality” service learning.29 In addition, recent studies indicate that varied civic learning opportunities may impact young people of different races and social classes in differing ways. For example, our recent qualitative study of high school students in different social contexts in California suggests that, while the majority of students in our sample had little interest in politics, youth from high income, majority white communities were more likely to view political engagement as effective, but less likely to view these activities as necessary or important compared to their counterparts from a primarily working-class, Latino community.30 These differences in perception are likely to influence how students perceive and make use of opportunities for civic education provided by the schools. Indeed, Rubin found that middle and high school students from privileged, homogeneous environments were more likely to experience the ideals expressed in civic texts as congruous with their daily experiences than were urban youth of color.31 Further studies are needed to better understand how prior experiences with and assumptions about the functioning of U.S. democracy influence students’ perceptions of and outcomes related to civic education. Moreover, not all who rally behind the banner of democratic citizenship value the same outcomes. Some emphasize knowledge, while others place a

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premium on participation, on critical analysis, on personal responsibility, on tolerance, or other priorities. And, not surprisingly, studies have found that different practices, and the ways that different practices are used, may promote different capacities and commitments related to democratic citizenship.32 Therefore, even though it is increasingly clear that a range of “best practices” can promote desired civic outcomes, we still have much to learn about how the quality of these practices along with the social contexts in which they are implemented influence their impact. If our democracy is to better fulfill its promise of enabling all citizens to participate fully and as equals, it is also clear that we must do more to understand why schools often fail to provide equal access to civic learning opportunities and how educators can address this shortcoming. Notes 1. R. Niemi and J. Smith, “Enrollments in High School Government Classes: Are We Short-Changing Both Citizenship and Political Science Training?” Political Science and Politics 34, no. 2 (June 2001): 281–287. 2. P. Levine and M. Lopez, Themes Emphasized in Social Studies and Civics Classes: New Evidence (Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, CIRCLE, 2004). 3. National Commission on Excellence in Education, A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1983), 1. 4. Center on Education Policy, From the Capital to the Classroom: Year Four of the No Child Left Behind Act (Washington, D.C.: Center on Education Policy, 2006). 5. T. Loveless, The 2006 Brown Center Report on American Education: How Well Are American Students Learning? Vol. 2, no. 1 (Washington D.C.: The Brookings Institution, October 2006). 6. Ibid., 9. 7. National Conference on Citizenship, America’s Civic Health Index: Broken Engagement (A Report by the National Conference on Citizenship in Association with CIRCLE and Saguaro Seminar, 2006): R. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000). 8. S. Macedo et al., Democracy at Risk: How Political Choices Undermine Citizen Participation, and What We Can Do About It (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 2005). 9. P. Levine and M.H. Lopez, Youth Voter Turnout Has Declined, By Any Measure (Washington. D.C.: Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, 2002). 10. L. J. Sax, “Citizenship Development and the American College Student,” in Civic Responsibility and Higher Education ed. T. Ehrlich (Phoenix, Ariz.: Oryx Press, 2000), 3–18. 11. C. Gibson and P. Levine, The Civic Mission of Schools (New York and Washington, D.C.: The Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, 2003). 12. See P. Levine and M. Lopez, Themes Emphasized in Social Studies and Civics Classes: New Evidence (Washington, D.C.: Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, 2004). In response to these signs of declining

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14. 15.

16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21.

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interest, some observers (and, in particular, youth from this generation) have argued that young people are participating in new “non-traditional” ways (S. Long, The New Student Politics: The Wingspread Statement on Student Civic Engagement, Providence, R.I.: The Campus Compact, 2002). In addition to citing increasing rates of volunteerism, proponents of this view argue that youth participation is often informal and grass-roots, and that youth acquire information through alternative means such as the Internet. While forms of civic and political engagement will vary by generation, a systematic qualitative study of young people that investigated this contention did not find evidence to support it (M.W. Andolina, K. Jenkins, S. Keeter, and C. Zukin, “Searching for the Meaning of Youth Civic Engagement: Notes From The Field,” Applied Development Science 6, no. 4 (2002): 189–195). Clearly, more work in the area of new forms of civic participation is needed. K. Langton and M.K. Jennings, “Political Socialization and the High School Civic Curriculum in the United States,” American Political Science Review 62 (1968): 862–867. Ibid., 866. The terms “civic” and “political” have been differentiated in varied ways. Sherrod, Flanagan, and Youniss, in “Editors’ Note,” Applied Developmental Science 6, no. 4 (2002), 173–174, describe “political” as referring to “affairs of the state or the business of government” and “civic” as referring to membership in a polity or community. J. Youniss and M. Yates, Community Service and Social Responsibility in Youth (Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 1997). Erik H. Erikson, Identity: Youth and Crisis (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1968). Youniss and Yates, 36. J. Kahne and J. Westheimer, “Teaching Democracy: What Schools Need To Do,” Phi Delta Kappan 85, no. 1 (2003), 34–40, 557–566. See Gibson and Levine, 2003. J. Torney-Purta, “The School’s Role in Developing Civic Engagement: A Study of Adolescents in Twenty-Eight Countries,” Applied Developmental Science 6 (2002): 203–212; D. Hess, “Discussing Controversial Public Issues in Secondary Social Studies Classrooms: Learning from Skilled Teachers” (University of Washington Ph.D. Dissertation, 1998); Hess, “How Students Experience and Learn from the Discussion of Controversial Public Issues in Secondary Social Studies,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 17, no. 4 (2002): 283–314. E.C. Metz and J. Youniss, “Longitudinal Gains in Civic Development through School-Based Required Service,” Political Psychology 26, no. 3 (2005): 413–438; M. McDevitt and S. Kiousis, “Education for Deliberative Democracy: The LongTerm Influence of Kids Voting” (Working Paper #22, Center for Information and Research on Civic Engagement: University of Maryland, 2004); J. Kahne, B. Chi, and E. Middaugh, “Building Social Capital for Civic and Political Engagement: The Potential of High School Civics Courses,” Canadian Journal of Education 29, no. 2 (2006) 387–409. J. Kahne and S. Sporte (2008), “Developing Citizens: The Impact of Civic Learning Opportunities on Students’ Commitment to Civic Participation,” American Educational Research Journal, 45 (3), 738–766. This finding is consistent with the recent multi-nation study by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievements (IEA) which found that 90 percent of U.S. students said that they most commonly spent time reading

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• Joseph Kahne and Ellen Middaugh textbooks and doing worksheets (S. Baldi, M. Perie, D. Skidmore, E. Greenberg, and C. Hahn, What Democracy Means to Ninth Graders: U.S. Results from the International IEA Civic Education Study [Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2001]). J. Kahne and E. Middaugh (2008). “Democracy for Some: The Civic Opportunity Gap in High School,” CIRCLE Working Paper 59. Available at www.civicyouth.org. For example, government courses where teachers emphasize the importance of individual citizens staying informed and acting on issues that are relevant to them. Kahne and Middaugh, 2005. See N.H. Nie, J. Junn, and K. Stehlik-Barry, Education and Democratic Citizenship in America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996); S. Verba, K.L. Schlozman, and H.E. Brady, Voice and Equality: Civic Volunteerism in American Politics (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995); S.K. Ramakrishnan and M. Baldassare, Ties that Bind: Changing Demographics and Civic Engagement in California (San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California, 2004). See S. Billig, S. Root, and D. Jesse, The Impact of Participation in Service Learning on High School Students’ Civic Engagement, CIRCLE Working Paper 33 (Washington, D.C.: Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, 2005); A. Melchior, Final Report: National Evaluation of Learn and Serve America and Community-based Programs (Center for Human Resources, Branders University, 1998). E. Middaugh and J. Kahne, “Civic Development in Context: The Influence of Local Contexts on High School Students’ Beliefs about Civic Engagement,” in Educating Citizens for Troubled Times: Qualitative Studies of Current Efforts, eds. J. Bixby and J. Pace (In Press, Albany: SUNY Press). B. Rubin, “ ‘There’s Still Not Justice’: Youth Civic Identity Development Amid Distinct School and Community Contexts,” Teacher’s College Record 109, no. 7 (2007), www.tcrecord.org ID # 127771, accessed on 10/16/2006. J. Westheimer and J. Kahne, “What Kind of Citizen? The Politics of Educating for Democracy,” American Educational Research Journal, 41, no. 2 (Summer 2004): 237–269; J. Torney-Purta and W.K. Richardson, “Trust in Government and Civic Engagement among Adolescents in Australia, England. Greece, Norway and the United States” (Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston, Mass., 2002).

16

Holocaust Fatigue in Teaching Today SIMONE SCHWEBER*

In the 15 years that I have been teaching about the Holocaust, I have seen dramatic shifts in my students’ attitudes and orientations towards learning about it. I recall that, years ago, my students approached the subject with a kind of inbred reverence, a seriousness and cautiousness that bordered on nervousness. They handled the topic gingerly, as if it could shatter. As evidence of that impression, I remember that I once planned to write an article railing against Holocaust sacralization—the idea that the Holocaust had become so sacred that it could only be talked about in hushed tones or with prayerful appropriateness. While I believed (and still do) that human atrocities deserve reverential responses, I feared then that the perceived sanctity of the Holocaust would stand in the way of its history being learned, really investigated, questioned, challenged and understood. Reverence, after all, is the enemy of inquiry. As further evidence of what might be called Holocaust-awe, I used to take Holocaust survivors to high schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. After the survivors would speak, I generally had to prod the students in the audience to ask questions. “You don’t need to be shy,” I used to say. “These survivors have lived through more than answering your questions.” Usually that was all that was needed to open the floodgate of queries. At the time, I was struck by the kinds of questions the students asked and by the sheer volume of questions; in hindsight, I am struck by the pause that preceded my prompts. I find that my students now tend to approach the Holocaust without that pause, without a default position of veneration. The Holocaust is, for them, interesting but not awesome. I teach a college-level course on the Holocaust, wherein I have students in small groups lead a part of each class session. This past semester, one group of students led a Jeopardy game show to review information. The student leaders tossed out mini-Snickers bars to reward their peers for right answers. Thus, in response to the 100-point answer, “The name * Simone Schweber is Goodman Professor of Education and Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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of the gas used to asphyxiate victims at Auschwitz,” the two teams vied to be the first to ask, “What is Zyklon B?” The juxtapositions were excruciating to me—the game show, the candy, and Auschwitz; worse than a bad joke, the combination seemed to me an obvious example of Holocaust trivialization, and I felt embarrassed to have it occurring in my classroom. And yet I also take responsibility for the activity. I had full knowledge of the students’ plan, having ok’d it before allowing them to take the classroom stage. Moreover, I “played along,” consciously hiding my reactions as the activity unfolded so as not to quell my students’ enthusiasm. I had decided that having students participate in such an activity and then fully debriefing their reactions would be more educative than quashing the plan outright; it was a classic ends-vs.-means trade-off calculation. Whether or not that was the right decision for my college-level students, and, more importantly, whether that would be the right decision in a high school classroom is not my point here: that the students would choose such a format is. I can’t remember students making similar choices in the past. In the lengthy debriefing discussion, one of the students in the class mentioned that she was concurrently enrolled in a course on slavery and that she couldn’t imagine the same activity occurring there. Where I once worried that the sanctification of the Holocaust stifled learning, I now worry that trivialization of the Holocaust impedes its understanding. Needless to say perhaps, my impressions and anecdotes don’t constitute research. There is substantial evidence to suggest that trivializing formats have been around for a long time and that students have always responded to Holocaust representations with indecorous reactions. Furthermore, I haven’t been teaching in the same locale, at the same grade ranges or in the same type of schools in the last years, so it’s quite possible that the changes I’ve registered are simply the consequences of my own movements and not reflections of larger sociological trends. That said, no one would argue with the claim that the Holocaust’s role in American life has undergone radical transformations in the last few decades and that shifts in attitudes among the general populace would likely occur as a result.1 Thus, it seems worthwhile to consider why students’ attitudes towards the Holocaust might have shifted, what challenges such shifts present to educators, and importantly, what empirical research has been done that might help guide what we do in the classroom to address those challenges. Attitudes and Challenges A powerful explanation for a shift in attitudes towards the Holocaust is rooted in its exposure. Since the latter part of the 1980s, there has been a nearexplosion of Holocaust representations and invocations, media forms devoted solely to representing the Holocaust and ones that invoke the Holocaust without focusing on it exclusively. Indicative of the range, the Holocaust appears as a bit player in the X-men movie, as a central feature of three memorable Seinfeld episodes, and as the organizing principle of the slide-show, The

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Holocaust on Your Plate, posted on the website of the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The multitude of documentary films produced in the year 2003 alone prompted The New York Times to run an article under the headline, “Holocaust Documentaries: Too Much of a Bad Thing?” (June 15, 2003). While this cursory list suggests the far-flung influences of the Holocaust, it is not the number of popular representations alone that has worn down the patina of seriousness encasing the event. The content of the representations themselves has contributed to the trend. The genre-bending, now-classic comix-books, Maus I + II, by Art Spiegelman, can be imagined as the parents of Roberto Begnini’s Academy-Awardwinning movie, Life is Beautiful, which in turn produced numerous progeny within the family line of Holocaust humor, sometimes referred to as Holocaustkitsch. In the fourth season of Larry David’s cable show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, for example, a “survivor” of the CBS reality-TV show, Survivor, squared off with a Holocaust survivor, the two jousting for singular status in an unsettling exchange that typifies Holocaust irreverence. The two compared, for example, who had fewer “snacks.” As Stephen Vider explains, “Holocaust humor is hardly new to American culture or Curb Your Enthusiasm: the first episode found Larry calling his wife Cheryl ‘Hitler’ to the outrage of his manager’s parents. The entire fourth season is built around Mel Brooks hiring Larry to play Max Bialystock in The Producers—a hit musical based on the movie about an intentionally awful musical about Hitler. As the real Producers continues to play to sold-out audiences, Holocaust humor hardly seems taboo . . . . ”2 Given that numerous studies have shown that popular culture can frame students’ perceptions of historical subject matter, it’s not surprising that my students would choose to play Holocaust-Jeopardy.3 As Imré Kertesz put it, “For the Holocaust to become with time a real part of European (or at least Western European) public consciousness, the price inevitably extracted in exchange for public notoriety had to be paid.”4 The acceptability of Holocaust humor in the larger culture has permeated students’ notions of the subject matter, posing the challenge of orienting students in the classroom to take it seriously. Amidst what is often discussed as students’ desensitization towards violence more generally, this challenge becomes especially important to overcome. How, after all, can students understand genocidal violence without taking the subject seriously? Or vice versa, how can students take the subject seriously without understanding genocidal violence? In some sense, though, it is the antecedent to this trend that poses the greater challenge to teachers. What allowed for the Holocaust to become popularized in the first place also encouraged its teaching in a broad range of classrooms, grades, and contexts. Whether Holocaust education has spread in the last few decades as the result of Jewish elites pushing that agenda, popular cultural representations percolating into societal consciousness, a grassroots

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campaign among mostly non-Jewish American educators to teach the subject, or some constellation thereof, the results are unequivocal.5 Having been widely accepted as morally crucial and educative in and of itself, the Holocaust has seeped downward into lower and lower grades, a trend I call “curricular creep.” Whereas once the Holocaust was only taught about in high schools, it is now frequently taught in middle schools and in upper elementary grades, even occasionally appearing as a topic in the very early elementary years. In a study I am just now completing, for example, a third grade teacher taught about the Holocaust in great detail. The third graders in that class may encounter the Holocaust again in their 5th, 8th, 9th and 10th grades. Such unsystematic coverage leads to “Holocaust fatigue,” the sense that “this particular event is being taught to death.”6 As a friend of mine who teaches 9th grade history remarked recently, “My kids are sick of it, sick of the Holocaust.” The challenges this situation poses are clear: not whether, but how to make the material new, interesting, intellectually engaging, and emotionally affecting, how to build on what students have previously learned rather than reiterating that which they already know. In sum, by the time students are taught about the Holocaust in high school, many have already been surrounded by invocations that encourage its trivialization in the world outside of school, and many have learned about the topic repeatedly over the years, posing for teachers the double-barreled challenge of encouraging serious study of a well-worn subject. Though a host of other frequently discussed challenges pertain to Holocaust education, I’ll mention only one that seems especially charged of late: the vexed role of Israel in public opinion. In the last few decades, not only since the Al-Aqsa intifada, Israel has borne harsh criticism.7 By this statement, I do not wish to suggest that much of this criticism is not justified nor that much of it isn’t. I am only making the point that Israel’s roles in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Middle East generally matter in terms of Holocaust education, both globally and nationally. In some of the suburbs of Paris with large populations of North African Muslim students, for example, the Holocaust has already been excised from the school curriculum, partly out of administrators’ fears of seeming to support Israel through teaching about the Holocaust, but also largely out of teachers’ resistance to facing hostile learners. As Georges Bensoussan, the author of a 2004 report on anti-Semitism in French schools, declared, “I know of cases in which the teacher mentioned Auschwitz and Treblinka, and students clapped.”8 For the most part, happily, such blatantly anti-Semitic reactions remain almost unimaginable in U.S. public schools. A 2003 University of Cincinnati survey of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky teachers, for example, found that more than 90 percent of the respondents claimed their students reacted to learning about the Holocaust with: “sadness, disgust, disbelief and anger”—reactions diametrically opposed to celebration.9 Nonetheless, it’s easy to envision teachers here

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who, out of criticism of one Israeli government or another, choose not to cover the Holocaust in their classrooms, not out of anti-Semitic impulses on their part, but because of the authentic linkages between the devastation of European Jewry during the Holocaust and the establishment of the state of Israel thereafter. In light of the overexposure I described above, this deletion might not be such a bad choice, but the situation illustrates a profound issue at the core of all history teaching: that to teach about the past always and unavoidably implicates the present. Teaching about the Holocaust as history, for better or worse, raises questions about the Holocaust’s uses and meanings in the present, posing a set of real dilemmas for teachers. In order to teach about the Holocaust, must we teach about the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East? And, if so, whose politics might that choice seem to support? Conversely, if we choose not to include the Holocaust in the curriculum, whose politics does that choice seem to support? Is it fair or right to equate Holocaust coverage with support of Israel’s existence or with support of its current policies? What do such linkages imply? All three of the contexts I have described in relation to the Holocaust—cultural/commercial trivialization, curricular overexposure, and political contentiousness—influence teaching and learning about the Holocaust. While no research that I know of confronts these specific challenges directly, there are recent studies of Holocaust education that can be brought to bear regardless. Empirical Research To begin, it’s worth mentioning one of my biases. While hundreds of articles and an increasingly large number of books advocate Holocaust education, only very few of these base recommendations for practice on empirical research. Impassioned writers implore teachers to adopt particular rationales (e.g., Totten and Feinberg, 2001), to avoid particular pedagogies (like simulations, e.g., Totten, 2000), and to use particular materials; and yet it’s important to recall that, though well intentioned, the exhortations may not be researchbased.10 In my experience, effective educational practice is sometimes counterintuitive. My bias is to let empirical studies guide practice, the small number of which underscores the newness of the field. In one of the few surveys done to date to broadly assess Holocaust education, Jeffrey Ellison established that, in Illinois high schools, teachers spent eight days of instruction on the Holocaust on average, usually within the “context of a required course . . . during students’ junior year,” lending credence to the claim that the Holocaust is being widely taught and not likely to disappear from the U.S. curriculum any time soon.11 Most respondents also reported that “rather than relying on [what Ellison describes as] questionable and possibly detrimental simulations and role playing,” they preferred “traditional” methods of teaching, like “discussions, lectures and films.” Specifically, most of

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the teachers showed Spielberg’s 1993 film, Schindler’s List, and didn’t seek out additional materials, a troubling, if understandable, strategy.12 Of note is one other feature of Ellison’s results, that “there was a tendency in Illinois high schools to subsume the topic of the Holocaust within the topic of tolerance and stereotyping” rather than to consider the topic within the specific history of anti-Semitism.13 This last point is a typical pitfall in the teaching of the Holocaust, a kind of overgeneralizing that strips the Holocaust of its historical particularities in order to emphasize its commonalities with other events in history. My own research confirms this tendency.14 The teachers I studied glossed over the reasons Jews were historically persecuted and ignored the history of church-based anti-Semitism, leading many of the students I interviewed to grope for answers they didn’t have when asked directly why Jews were persecuted. As an outspoken young woman who had spent an entire semester studying the Holocaust in a Facing History and Ourselves classroom remarked during an interview, “I still don’t know why y’all let yourselves be gassed like that.”15 In addition to not understanding the larger processes of victimization and not being familiar with examples of resistance, this student hadn’t understood why victimization occurred in the first place. While the students I studied, for the most part, had learned what had happened to Jews and other victimized groups, they had not learned why Jews as a group were specifically targeted nor why other groups were voraciously pursued. The histories of Sinti and Roma peoples (formerly known as “Gypsies”), the history of gays and lesbians, of Jehovah’s Witnesses, of the disabled, and other persecuted groups was often bypassed. With only a few hours available to teach this content, it’s not surprising that these complex histories would be left out. The omissions, however, bear consequences. Omitting the history of anti-Semitism in teaching about the Holocaust permits mostly Christian students to avoid unpleasant encounters with their religion’s history, and as a recent groundbreaking dissertation by Karen Spector points out, the omission also allows teachers to avoid possibly unpleasant encounters with Christian parents.16 Spector’s exchange with a Christian teacher in her Ohio-based study amplifies why: Karen:

Um, I noticed you didn’t talk about the history of Christian anti-Semitism in class, and it seemed to come up, like, um, with people saying, “Jews killed Christ.” Ms. France: I, um, this year particularly, um, I kind of tread lightly with the religious things because while most of my students are Baptist in upbringing, I have had like a lot of weird stuff going on, and talking about Christian anti-Semitism would get people on all sides riled up.17 As this case highlights, the omission also allows preconceived notions about

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Jews, sometimes even anti-Semitic ones, to flourish. One Catholic student attending a public high school explained the cause of the Holocaust to me this way: “It was our fault for killing the Jews, but it was their fault for killing Jesus.”18 When this student later tempered her answer, she explained that the divine role of Jews to “kill Christ” mitigated their culpability for the act. Had this student learned about the history of anti-Semitism and the specious nature of the deicide charge, she stood to gain in a variety of arenas, not only by grounding her understanding of the Holocaust and early Christian history, but by scaffolding her religious beliefs “intelligently.”19 Had the teacher in Spector’s study been willing to challenge anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred expressed in her own class, her entire school community would have benefited. It’s dismaying indeed for a teacher to abandon the charge of serving as a moral role model in order to avoid getting people “riled up”; it’s especially painful in the context of teaching about atrocity. A real benefit (rather than a self-serving one) accrues from omitting the history of anti-Semitism, too, though, which I believe helps provide explanation; when their “difference” as a people is minimized, Jews are more likely to be “normalized” in the classroom. Sometimes, in other words, Jewish difference is downplayed to further the goal of empathizing with victims in history, as though such empathy will translate into an aversion to perpetration. Put differently, empathic bridges are more easily built on the basis of sameness, even if it’s more important to build them to span difference. Teaching about Jewish difference—Jewish rituals and traditions, beliefs and history, including the history of anti-Semitism—is a necessary prerequisite for fully understanding the Holocaust as history; and yet, simultaneously, teaching these elements delineates difference, which in turn can be seen as an impediment to empathy. The teacher in my study who orchestrated an elaborate Holocaust simulation, for example, did an amazing job of grafting the personal experiences of students onto a historically-based fiction of history, one of the upshots of which was that her diverse students ended up identifying closely with Jewish victims of the Holocaust.20 Though this teacher neglected to teach the history of antiSemitism, her omission served a larger purpose of fostering empathy, a feat I think of as a tremendous accomplishment, especially given the complexities of teaching about victims. The opposite of overgeneralization presents another pitfall in Holocaust teaching. Overspecification refers to particularizing the Holocaust, making its focus so narrow that the historical reality is distorted, minimizing its usefulness in combating racism specifically and “idiocy” more generally.21 In a 2003 study of fundamentalist schools, for example, Rebekah Irwin and I found that “others” were weeded out of Holocaust representations; in the fundamentalist Christian school, a fundamentalist Christian’s story loomed large, superseding Jews, whereas at the ultra-orthodox Jewish yeshiva, the story of a Jewish victim crystallized Holocaust history. In the latter school, the students were taught

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that the perpetrators “weren’t human” and that, “you can’t understand them.”22 Spector’s study shows that her mostly Christian participants viewed Holocaust suffering, in some cases, as imposed by Satan, funneled through Hitler, deserved by Jews, and redeemed by God.23 The participants’ “narratives of redemption” subsumed the misery embedded in the texts read in class and eviscerated the tragic dimensions of the atrocity studied. For some students, Anne Frank had likely “frolicked in the concentration camps,” and Elie Wiesel had found God in the text of his memoir, Night. In a sense, then, Spector’s study finds overspecification, where instead of the range of historical actors being narrowed for particularistic religious ends, the entire Holocaust narrative was narrowed to support a singular reading, a solely Christian interpretation of events. Up to this point, I have been suggesting that good teaching about the Holocaust involves striking a balance between overgeneralization and overspecification, and that where one draws the line between these two is deeply personal. What constitutes a healthy generalizing of this history and an appropriate specification are matters of conscience. I am reminded of Peter Novick’s dispiriting argument that how you make sense of which analogies to draw from the Holocaust or what lessons you believe the Holocaust bears, are purely reflections of personal choice, a matter of what “clicks or doesn’t” rather than what supports a rational argument or not.24 It’s clear even from this limited research base that the lessons we draw from the Holocaust have everything to do with what we know about it, what we want from it, and what we’re willing to do with it—whether, for example, we know the history of antiSemitism, whether we want to teach it and, especially, whether we’re willing to “rile people up” in so doing. To close this section, I want to return to the contexts I identified in the first part of this essay, asking: What does this research have to do with cultural trivialization, curricular overexposure, and Israeli political contentiousness? And, what ought we do to teach about the Holocaust in their midst? Knitting Together Current Challenges and Empirical Research Above, I proposed that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as well as Israel’s vexed position in world public opinion may influence teachers’ decisions to teach about the Holocaust. Interestingly, the very contexts described above shed light on the empirical research, specifically on the import of teaching the history of anti-Semitism. Israel today is militarily dominant, a regional superpower with a global superpower as an ally. Moreover, American Jews, as a mostly white ethnic group, have been tremendously successful socio-economically in the last few decades. As a side note, this seems to me a reasonable explanation for why farcical representations of The Middle Passage and slavery don’t exist as popular culture forms. These events can’t be rendered as funny given their real, continued and blatantly oppressive legacies in the present. By contrast, the

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prominence today of Jews in American society and Israel’s military might make the notion of an imperiled Jewish population during the Holocaust a contradiction to some of our students’ lived knowledge. Simply put, because American and Israeli Jews are now an empowered and powerful force, it’s important for kids to learn that Jews have not always been so, are not so in all parts of the world now, and certainly don’t typically perceive themselves as such. American-Israeli peace-activist Emily Hauser wrote, “We [Israelis] have raised a generation who’ve never been anything but conquerors . . . and taught them they’ve never been anything but victims”—an orientation spawned by the long history of anti-Semitism.25 Or, as Limor Livnat, the Israeli education minister has explained, “For Israelis, the lessons of our tragic past are never permitted to be anachronisms; they are always relevant and reflective of our current reality . . . As such, in our worldview, it’s a clear line that unifies the ancient Persian tyrants who sought our destruction to the murderous Nazis who practiced genocide against us, to the current Islamic suicide bombers who have devastated our Israeli cities . . .”26 Whether you consider Livnat’s position to be an exemplar of overgeneralizing (using anti-Semitism as the principle to unify Israel’s past and present) or of overspecifying (focusing only on an Israeli worldview to the exclusion of all others) is, again, a matter of personal politics. Either way, the rhetoric of her remarks underscores my point. Just as the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust can only make sense to students if the history of anti-Semitism paves its way, so current uses of the Holocaust throughout the world can only be navigated with deep understandings of the Holocaust in place. It seems to me as much of a mistake not to teach about the Holocaust because of current politics as not to teach about the current politics of the Holocaust. Curricular overexposure, as I see it, has exacerbated the problems of superficial coverage. If we teach about the Holocaust without generating deep understandings of the subject matter—without teaching students why different groups were persecuted, how perpetrators were enticed into violence, how this atrocity is similar and dissimilar to other genocides—repeating that kind of coverage is the surest way to get students not to take it seriously, not to care about it, and to become “sick of the Holocaust” before graduating from high school. I’m not sure that the “what’s” of the Holocaust (what happened to whom, in gross detail) bear repeating ad nauseam. In fact, it may be the case that students’ senses of knowing a lot about the Holocaust and being “sick of it” are reflections of their having been overexposed rather than actually knowing much about the event—overexposed to its horrors but not overexposed to its explanations. Much more crucial to my sense of its import in the world is both why it happened in the first place and how it is important in the present. In light of the multiple media forms, my position is in some sense simple: that our job as teachers is to help students navigate them. Especially given

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Holocaust video games and Seinfeld and Simpsons’ episodes, the many trivializations and commodifications, the many true and legitimate controversies swirling around this topic, our job as teachers is to help our students become wise consumers in an ever-expanding marketplace of narratives. Which so-called uses of the Holocaust make sense? Which don’t? Why does Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad call the Holocaust “the myth of the Jews’ massacre” and why is that especially offensive? Why do both pro-abortion and anti-abortion advocates invoke the Holocaust? (Why do Pro-Life groups refer to an “abortion Holocaust” rather than an abortion genocide or abortion crusade, for example?) Is the PETA website kosher, so to speak? Should redemptive narratives trump authentic tragedy? What do redemptive narratives afford and limit? Is it the case that the multiplicity of media formats allows people to make the easiest choice, the choice of narratives that doesn’t challenge their beliefs or confront their racism? Is there anything wrong with playing Jeopardy to review Holocaust information? Should there be? Should we approach atrocity with a pause of reverence? Should we even spend curricular time learning about the Holocaust in this day and age, when genocide is ongoing? What I am suggesting we do as teachers, in other words, is deepen our discussions about the Holocaust’s uses—in everyday life, in politics, and in our classrooms. Because such conversations happen relatively rarely, the benefits may be great— providing we’re willing to take the risks involved. In sum, what I am suggesting we do is as follows. First, teach about the history of anti-Semitism in covering the Holocaust. The Holocaust can’t make sense without it; moreover, present-day anti-Semitic materials and incidents only make sense in light of it. Second, provide students with a range of explanations for perpetrators’ behaviors. Harder than teaching about the experience of victimization, it may also be much more important to explain the agents of atrocity, for this marks a local step in the global direction of eradicating violence. Third, use popularizations and current uses of the Holocaust as teachable texts. Show the PETA slide show or a Holocaust Seinfeld episode and, most importantly, use those texts to delve deeply into the lessons of the Holocaust. Ask students, what are the lessons they draw from this study and which of those did they come into the classroom already believing? Finally, know where you, as a teacher, stand; what your lessons are; and where you draw the boundaries between overgeneralizing and overspecifying. My hope is that in teaching about the Holocaust as well as the Holocaust’s multiple legacies, uses, and invocations, we will all grapple with the much harder questions it raises about what it means to be human. Notes 1. Peter Novick, The Holocaust in American Life (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999). 2. Stephen Vider, “Survivor Challenge,” Nextbook, org/ Keren Keshet—The Rainbow Foundation (2003). www.nextbook.org/features/feature_david_print.html.

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3. Alan Marcus, Celluloid Blackboard: Teacher Practices with Film and Students Historical Understanding (Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Stanford University, Calif., 2003); Peter Seixas, “Confronting the Moral Frames of Popular Film: Young People Respond to Historical Revisionism,” American Journal of Education 102, no. 3 (1994); Sam Wineburg, Susan Mosborg, and Dan Porat, “What Can Forrest Gump Tell Us about Students’ Historical Understanding?” Social Education 65, no. 1 (2001): 55. 4. Imré Kertesz, “Who Owns Auschwitz?” The Yale Journal of Criticism 14, no. 1 (2001): 267–272. 5. Novick, The Holocaust in American Life; Rona Sheramy, Defining Lessons: The Holocaust in American Jewish Education (Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass., 2000); Alan Mintz, Popular Culture and the Shaping of Holocaust Memory in America (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001); Thomas D. Fallace, The Emergence of Holocaust Education in American Schools, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. 6. Geoffrey Short and Carole Ann Reed, Issues in Holocaust Education (Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate Publishing 2004), 67. 7. Intifada is the Arabic word for “uprising”. The Al-Aqsa Intifada broke out in September of 2000 following Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount, one of the most sacred Jewish sites. Palestinians viewed Sharon’s visit accompanied as he was by more than 1,000 bodyguards, as an act of aggression. The uprising is named for the Al Aqsa Mosque, which is located at the Temple Mount and is one of Islam’s holiest sites. 8. Georges Bensoussan made the remark during an interview, as reported in, “It Began with Students Denying the Holocaust,” The Jerusalem Report (Dec. 13, 2004). 9. “An Assessment of Holocaust Education in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky” (Survey, University of Cincinnati Evaluation Services Center, Ohio, 2003): 10. 10. Samuel Totten and Stephen Feinberg, Teaching and Studying the Holocaust (Boston: Allyn and Bacon Publishing, 2001); Totten, “Diminishing the Complexity and Horror of the Holocaust: Using Simulations in an Attempt to Convey Historical Experiences,” Social Education 64, no. 3 (2000): 170. 11. Jeffrey Ellison, From One Generation to the Next: A Case Study of Holocaust Education in Illinois (Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, 2002), 145. 12. Ibid., 146. 13. Ibid., 147. 14. Simone A. Schweber, Making Sense of the Holocaust: Lessons from Classroom Practice (New York: Teachers College Press, 2004). 15. Margot Stern Strom, Facing History and Ourselves: The Holocaust and Human Behavior (Watertown, Mass.: International Education, 1982). 16. Karen Spector, Framing the Holocaust in English Class: Secondary Teachers and Students Reading Holocaust Literature (Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Cincinnati, Ohio, 2005). 17. Ibid., 152. 18. Schweber, Making Sense of the Holocaust, 16. 19. Nel Noddings, Educating for Intelligent Belief or Unbelief (New York: Teachers College Press, 1993). 20. Schweber, Making Sense of the Holocaust. 21. Walter C. Parker, Teaching Democracy: Unity and Diversity in Public Life (New York: Teachers College Press, 2003).

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22. Schweber and Rebekah Irwin, “ ‘Especially Special’: Learning about Jews in a Fundamentalist Christian School,” Teachers College Record 105, no. 9 (2003): 1693–1719. 23. Spector, Framing the Holocaust in English Class. 24. Novick, 243. 25. Emily Hauser, “A Conqueror with the Mindset of the Conquered,” The Chicago Tribune, online edition (May 22, 2005). 26. Limor Livnat, Israeli Education Minister, 2005.

References Bar-On, D., and O. Selah, “The ‘Vicious Cycle’ between Current Social and Political Attitudes and Attitudes towards the Holocaust among Israeli Youngsters.” Psychologia 2, no. 2 (1991): 126–138. Bensoussan, Georges, Antisemitism in French Schools: Turmoil of a Republic (Analysis of Current Trends in Anusemitism. Report #24) Jerusalem: SICSA, 2004. Chaitin, Julia, “Facing the Holocaust in Generations of Families of Survivors—The Case of Partial Relevance and Interpersonal Values.” Contemporary Family Therapy 22, no. 3 (2000): 289–313. Davies, Ian, Teaching the Holocaust: Educational Dimensions. Principles and Practice. London: Continuum, 2000. Fine, Melinda, Habits of Mind. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass, 1995. Gregory, I., “The Holocaust: Some Reflections and Issues.” In Teaching the Holocaust: Educational Dimensions. Principles and Practice, edited by Ian Davies, 37–47. London: Continuum, 2000. Hernandez, Alexander Anthony, Voices of Witness. Messages of Hope: Moral Development Theory and Transactional Response in a Literature-Based Holocaust Studies Curriculum. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Ohio State University, 2004. Ivanova, Elena, “Ukrainian High School Students’ Understanding of the Holocaust.” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 18, no. 3 (2004): 402–420. Juzwik, Mary M., Towards a Rhetoric of Teaching: An Investigation into Teaching as Performance in a Middle-Level Holocaust Unit. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of WisconsinMadison, 2003. Lazar, Alon, Julia Chaitin, Tamar Gross, and Dan Bar-On, “Jewish Israeli Teenagers, National Identity, and the Lessons of the Holocaust.” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 18, no. 2 (2004): 188–204. Schweber, Simone A., “ ‘What Happened to Their Pets?’: Third Graders Encounter the Holocaust.”Teachers College Record, vol. 110, no. 10 (2008): 2073–3115. Schweber, Simone A., and Debbie Findling, Teaching the Holocaust: A Curriculum for Religious Schools. Los Angeles: Torah Aura Productions (2007). Short, Geoffrey, Carrie Supple, and K. Klinger, The Holocaust in the School Curriculum: A European Perspective. Strasbourg, France: Council of Europe Publications, 1998. Spiegelman, Art, Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began. New York: Pantheon Books, 1991. Spielberg, Steven (Director), Schindler’s List [Motion picture]. US: Universal Studios, 1993. ten Boom, Corrie, The Hiding Place, New York: Bantam Books, 1984. U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Teaching about the Holocaust: A Resource Book for Educators. Washington, D.C.: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2001. Wegner, Gregory, “What Lessons Are There from the Holocaust?” Journal of Curriculum and Instruction 13 (1996): 167–184. Wineburg, Sam, Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching the Past. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001.

IV Global Matters

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How Are Teachers Responding to Globalization?

MERRY M. MERRYFIELD AND MASATAKA KASAI*

Globalization is changing our lives. Global economic systems shape our job opportunities, consumer goods, investments, and quality of life. Global media and communication systems allow us to observe events as they happen around the world and discuss them across national boundaries. Americans are working with people around the world to address global issues of biodiversity, acid rain, and disposal of toxic wastes. Immigrants, refugees and guest workers have created an intermingling of diverse languages, religions, and cultures within our nation’s communities and schools. As youth culture absorbs fashions, ideas, and material culture from the global milieu, Korean pop stars borrow from American rap, and American children watch Japanese cartoons. Global interconnectedness is even evident within the backlash against globalization by people across the planet who fear it is usurping national sovereignty, endangering the environment, or corrupting cultural norms.1 How are educators responding to globalization, its effects on American communities, and its controversies? The primary goal of global education is to prepare students to be effective and responsible citizens in a global society. Toward this end, students need to practice real-life skills, gain knowledge of the world, and develop expertise in viewing events and issues from diverse global perspectives. How are social studies teachers preparing young people to understand their globally interconnected world, its issues, histories, and conflicts? Research points to four main strategies: multiple perspectives, global interconnectedness, global issues, and cross-cultural experiences.

* Merry M. Merryfield is Professor of Social Studies and Global Education at Ohio State University. Masataka Kasai is Associate Professor of English and American Studies at Kansai Gaidai College, Japan.

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Multiple Perspectives: Seeing the World through the Eyes of “The Other” Many social studies teachers infuse global perspectives into the social studies through the teaching of multiple, often conflicting, perspectives. Teachers select an important event or issue and have students examine it from different peoples’ points of view. A classic example is teaching multiple perspectives on early encounters between Europeans and native peoples in Asia, the Americas, or Africa. This is often done by having students examine materials that capture the variety of perspectives and experiences of explorers, settlers, and indigenous people. Analyzing information from conflicting points of view enables students to develop skills in perspective consciousness and critical thinking as they come to appreciate how people’s cultural, economic, and political lenses shape their actions and worldviews. Teachers use multiple perspectives to teach important historical events (such as the Crusades, the spread of Islam, the Treaty of Versailles), contemporary events (South Koreans protesting against U.S. bases, suicide bombers in Israel), and concepts, such as democracy.2 The pedagogy of multiple perspectives often involves comparing primary source documents such as letters (to teach about different experiences and points of view during the Vietnam War), literature (stories written by immigrants from different countries across different time periods), oral histories (comparing narratives of former slaves, free blacks, slave owners, and abolitionists), or media (the film “South Africa Belongs to Us,” available in video from California Newsreel, takes students into the lives of five South African women from diverse backgrounds during apartheid). In some school districts teachers invite people from the community to share their knowledge and experiences. The reflections of refugees from Bosnia, a feminist from Turkey, a Japanese American whose family was interred during World War II, or a former Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia can open students’ eyes to knowledge and ways of thinking that may not be found in the pages of textbooks. Websites, especially online newspapers, are increasingly used to find information on how people in other countries think about historical events, American foreign policy, or global issues.3 Teachers also use role-plays, simulations, or work in the local community to help students experience diverse points of view and events that are historically, politically, or culturally significant within the social studies curriculum. The Model United Nations is perhaps the best-known simulation of a global organization. Students take on roles of various nations’ representatives to the UN and participate as, for example, Nigerians, Russians, or Mexicans in debate on issues facing the planet. Teachers also use published simulations such as BAFA BAFA (published by Simile II) and Barnga (available through Intercultural Press), or create their own simulations to help their students understand cultural differences and the decisions average people face during extraordinary times.4

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Interconnectedness over Time and Space: Thinking Globally Teaching interconnectedness helps students understand how people, ideas, and events are related across different eras and world regions. Teachers who employ this strategy use global resources to teach students how humans in one place and time influence others in another place and time. Global interconnectedness may include cultural, economic, political, military, technological, or environmental content. For example, students study the ecumene to understand the roots of globalization and centuries-long development of economic interdependence. First described by the historian William H. McNeill, ecumene refers to the interconnectedness of cultures across vast world regions and bodies of water.5 Through multi-regional timelines and histories, students learn how the global economic system evolved from more than 2000 years of imperialism, colonialism, changing technologies, and transnational agreements. They identify connections between ancient traders and contemporary multinational corporations.6 The pedagogy of interconnectedness includes student inquiry into local/ global relationships and the global ramifications of events and issues over time. For example, a teacher encouraged his students to explore how American tax dollars affect people in other parts of the world. After polling students on the question, “Should the U.S. approve $5 billion in financial aid to the newly formed Russian government?” the teacher had his students practice “dynamics webbing” to illustrate causes and effects of decisions or actions. One group of students noted “the U.S. votes down $5 billion in financial aid to newly formed Russian government” in the left-hand side of the chalkboard, while other students wrote the effect: “Russian economic reforms move slowly or less successfully.” Students continued their discussion until the web was well developed, and then the teacher asked, “Would this web cause you to reconsider your earlier vote? Why or why not?”7 Worldmindedness rests upon the recognition of commonalities and connections across time and space. Students inquire into how the forced conversions and expulsions of Jews in Spain in the late fifteenth century are connected to the lives of Indians in Peru and Mexico today. Or examine what Zulus in twentieth century South Africa had in common with Cherokees in nineteenth century Oklahoma. Why did SARS spread so quickly from Hong Kong to Toronto? How are the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and the 1991 Gulf War related to the attacks on the World Trade Center and U.S. relations with Pakistan? Teachers may focus on global influences in the local community. For example, when learning about global migrations, elementary students research why people move by comparing their own families’ history with those of new immigrants from Bosnia and Russia. They may also examine how local industries and religious organizations affect people in other countries.8

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Global Issues: Understanding the Complexity and Conflicts of a Dynamic World Global educators often integrate global issues within mandated content, organize instruction through global themes, or ask issues-centered questions to encourage student inquiry. Global issues, such as control of the seas or the right of self-determination, can serve to synthesize important lessons of history over hundreds of years and link them to contemporary events. Characterized by conflicting points of view, global issues (1) challenge and concern citizens today and tomorrow, (2) affect the lives of persons in many parts of the world and (3) cannot be adequately understood or addressed solely in a local or national context. Many of these issues have no immediate solutions, and the questions they raise may not have one “correct” answer. Issues that are significant to the world and of concern to students are often controversial and value-laden. Researchers have found that teachers choose issues that they believe are significant and related to the interests and needs of their students.9 Teachers often find that several issues overlap and need to be examined together. For example, in studying an issue such as population growth, teachers bring in content related to environmental impact, implications for human services such as health and education, political agendas of minorities or those who wield power, economic issues such as generation of jobs or housing, and cultural issues such as family planning and religious values. When the study of slavery in the Americas is taught in the context of human rights, students no longer see the treatment of Africans in America as isolated events unrelated to the experiences of other American minorities or human trafficking today. Taught as a global issue, religious conflict—from the Crusades to the Reformation to Northern Ireland and Israeli/Arab conflicts today—can be compared, contrasted, and viewed in economic and political contexts.10 As historical events are linked to contemporary global issues or the news, students are more likely to see them as relevant to their world today. A high school social studies teacher was teaching about Philip II of Spain when the Gulf War broke out in 1991. She asked her students to compare Philip’s actions on the world stage with those of Saddam Hussein’s. How were their worlds, their goals, and their political and military decisions similar and different? Suddenly an historical event helped students view their country at war in the larger context of imperialism.11 If we are to prepare young people for decision making as active citizens in a multicultural democracy with economic, political, and military interests that reach across the world, we must teach complex global issues and problemsolving. Instruction benefits from interdisciplinary approaches since global issues are complex and cross many fields of study. For example, when teachers provide instruction on deforestation, students need to examine this issue through not only economic and cultural concepts but also by using scientific

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concepts such as carrying capacity, genetic extinction, and biodiversity. Their learning can be enhanced by infusions of pedagogy from the humanities as well, such as developing creative expressions on the biodiversity of the rainforest by drawing, writing poetry, and making films.12 Simulations and role-plays are powerful approaches to teaching about global issues. When teaching about North-South issues, students in economics classes may play a trading game to experience the inequities of the global system. In the trading game, students form groups that represent real countries and each group is given a paper bag with a different amount of resources and tools (paper, pencil, ruler, scissors) in proportion to their national resources. The goal of the game is to make as much money as possible within a limited time by “manufacturing” a desired shape of paper (product) and marketing it. Students experience some of the inequities of free trade, and the debriefing can lead to increased understanding of economic globalization.13 The pedagogy of global issues often involves participation and action. Since the primary goal of global education is to prepare students to be effective and responsible citizens in a global society, students need to practice real-life skill as they gain new knowledge. When teaching about North-South issues, an economics teacher asked students to read an article “Whose Global Village?” from the Ghanaian Times (May 16, 1997). This article critiques the Western concept of global village and maintains that we are not living in a global village but in different worlds, the North and the South. Students tackle questions such as “What would have to change for there to be a truly global village?” “What is fair?” “What responsibility do Americans have?”14 Cross-Cultural Experiences: Interacting with The Other Global education is more than a world history timeline or the geography of the Pacific Rim. In today’s world students need to be able to work effectively with people from different cultures and linguistic backgrounds. Many social studies teachers in the U.S. gain knowledge of, and first-hand experience in, different cultures through summer institutes, study tours, personal travel, exchanges, and living in other countries. Cross-cultural experiences overseas can help teachers learn about the world and return to recognize pejorative language, ethnocentrism, stereotypes, and other misinformation in their texts and other curriculum materials. Research demonstrates that extensive experience in other cultures often has considerable impact not only on the ways in which teachers perceive those countries but also in how they come to see their own country and their previously unexamined cultural assumptions and biases.15 Living overseas often provides white educators their first experiences with outsider status and linguistic marginalization, and those lessons can powerfully affect their teaching when they return home. For example, their empathy increases for refugees and immigrants in their classrooms. But Americans do not have to go overseas to experience cultural differences and marginalization.16

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There is considerable literature on intercultural learning and equity issues in American schools written by or about African American teachers and immigrants.17 Educators eager to teach insider knowledge of other cultures, to reduce prejudice and ethnocentrism, and to develop skills in cross-cultural communication and interaction find many ways to provide their students with face-to-face, cross-cultural experiential learning. Online and video technologies connect students and teachers to knowledge bases in other world regions and create formats for discussion and shared work. However, results are mixed. These interactions do not always reduce prejudice and chauvinism or dissolve stereotypes and misinformation.18 New frameworks that foster authentic culture learning are becoming popular because they prepare young people for the realities of life in a multicultural democracy. Richard Brislin’s Culture-General Framework is used by teachers to improve communication skills and interaction across cultures. The framework addresses three dimensions—emotions, knowledge and cultural differences—and helps teachers deal with a number of challenges of intercultural learning, such as students’ anxiety over unfamiliar demands, the need to belong but being unable to do so as an outsider, and the ambiguity of not understanding messages being sent in the new culture, yet having to respond. As most educators these days find themselves (and their students) coming into contact with people from cultures that they may know little about, the framework attends to cross-cultural differences related to a number of key concepts: work, time and space, language, roles (based on gender, age, religious beliefs, inherited position, etc), the importance of the group versus importance of the individual, rituals versus superstition, social hierarchies/class/status, and values. The framework provides teachers with strategies to move beyond the superficiality of dress, holidays and food or a focus on the exotic and bizarre.19 The framework can best be appreciated through an example of how a middle school social studies teacher applied the Culture-General Framework to her teaching of India. Previously, the students had read a section in their cultural geography book, watched a video on Hinduism, mapped different ethnic groups and religions and visited a local Indian grocery store and restaurant. In applying the Framework, the teacher involved her students in researching patterns of belief and behavior. Groups of two or three students selected a concept (such as those listed above) and collected data from the library, the internet, and Indians living in the community to learn how beliefs affect behavior. By the end of the project the students not only understood the diversity of contemporary Indian cultures better than ever before, they also recognized how cultural patterns are transmitted and changed over generations, yet rarely examined. Interest and motivation were sparked by the focus on beliefs and Indians became more than “school work.” They were real people, keypals, friends they wanted to visit someday. When fighting broke out

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in Kashmir later in the school year, the students were eager to find out what was happening because one of their key pals in New Delhi had grown up in Kashmir and had shared with them some photos of his village when explaining his family’s place in the social hierarchy. Using the events as a teachable moment, the teacher invited five Indian students from a local university to work with her students and prepare some instructional materials for some other middle school students to learn about cultural conflicts in India. But first she had her students develop cross-cultural handouts on “making our Indian visitors comfortable” based upon their research on beliefs and behaviors.20 Global Education and Its Critics Global education is not without its critics. Some people see it as another fad; others worry about adding more content to an already crowded social studies curriculum. Many teachers feel unprepared to teach global issues or make global connections, as they did not study such topics in college or in their teacher-education programs. Terms, such as global history and global connections have been attacked as promoting a one-world government. In our own state, Ohio, “global connections” was developed as a K-12 strand in the social studies standards in the mid-1990s. However, in order to get the standards accepted by the state school board, “global” was replaced with “world.” Elsewhere, “international” is sometimes used in place of “global.”21 Teaching the ideas and perspectives of people in other cultures is controversial in many American communities. The values of open-mindedness, anticipation of complexity, and resistance to stereotyping that characterize global education are not appreciated by some parents and some teachers. Those who believe young people should learn a single, mainstream American point of view often perceive the teaching of other perspectives, even other American perspectives, as anti-American. They believe that global education teaches children disrespect for American ideals, heroes, and institutions.22 Research shows that local contexts and the backgrounds of individual teachers are extremely important in teaching about diverse points of view and the complexity of cultures.23 In some communities teaching multiple perspectives is seen as subverting unity and nationalism while in others this pedagogy is taken for granted as part of students’ development of critical inquiry skills. Teachers are influenced by their own experiences, knowledge and their comfort level, cultural diversity, ambiguity and critical thought. And these contexts often change when the United States goes to war.23 Notes 1. Benjamin R. Barber, Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism Are Reshaping the World (New York: Random House, 1995); G. Chen and W. J. Starosta, Communication and Global Society (New York: Peter Lang, 2000); A. Cvetkovich

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10. 11. 12.

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• Merry M. Merryfield and Masataka Kasai and D. Kellner, Articulating the Global and the Local (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1997). Dario J. Almarza, “The Conquest of Mexico: A Case Study of Multiple Historical Perspectives for Understanding a Single Event,” International Social Studies Forum 1, no. 1 (2001): 1–16; Helen Benitez, “Does It Really Matter How We Teach? The Socializing Effects of a Globalized U.S. History Curriculum,” Theory and Research in Social Education 29, no. 2 (2001): 290–307; Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson (Eds.), Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years (Milwaukee, Wis.: Rethinking Schools, Ltd., 1998); Merry M. Merryfield, “Shaping the Curriculum in Global Education,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 9, no. 3 (1994): 233–249; Toni Fuss Kirkwood-Tucker and R. Bleicher, “A Self-Study of Two Professors Team Teaching a Unifying Global Issues Theme Unit as Part of Their Separate Elementary Social Studies and Science Methods Courses,” International Social Studies Forum 3 no. 1 (2003): 203–217. Bigelow and Petersen, op. cit., Merry M. Merryfield, “Pedagogy for Global Perspectives in Education: Studies of Teachers Thinking and Practice,” Theory and Research in Social Education 26, no. 3 (1998): 342–379; “Iraq after the War: The Challenge of Securing the Peace,” Choices for the 21st Century of the Watson Institute for International Studies (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 476 347). Carlos Diaz, Byron G. Massialas and John A. Xanthopoulos, Global Perspectives for Educators (Needham Heights, Mass: Allyn & Bacon, 1999). William H. McNeil, A World History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 4th edition, 1998). See other interpretations of the ecumene and timelines at www.bartleby.com/67/74.html and campus.northpark.edu/history/WebChron/ World/EurasianChron.html. S. Kang, History in the Global Age (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 395 862); Patrick Manning, Navigating World History (New York: Palgrave, 2003); William McNeil, The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963). Graham Pike and David Selby, Global Teacher, Global Learner (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1988); Steve Shapiro and Merry M. Merryfield, “A Case Study of Unit Planning in the Context of School Reform,” in Teaching about International Conflict and Peace, eds. Merry M. Merryfield and Richard C. Remy (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1995). Massialas, Diaz and Xanthopoulos, op. cit; Toni Fuss Kirkwood, “Teaching about Japan: Global Perspectives in Teacher Decision-Making, Context and Practice,” Theory and Research in Social Education 30, no. 1 (2002), 88–115; Merryfield, 1998, op. cit. Merry M. Merryfield, “Responding to the Gulf War: A Case Study of Instructional Decision Making,” Social Education 57, no. 1 (1993): 33–41; Merryfield, 1994, op. cit. William Gaudelh, World Class Teaching and Learning in Global Times (Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003). Merry M. Merryfield, 1993, op. cit. William Gaudelli, “Global Studies in an Issues Centered Curriculum” (Paper presented at the annual conference of National Council for the Social Studies, Washington, D.C., November 1996). K. Otsu, “Kaihatsukyouiku Jyugyoukousei no Riron to Tenkai: Atarasii Kokusairikaikyouiku wo mezasite”/“Theory and Development of Development Education: for New Education for International Understanding,” Kokusairikai/International

How Are Teachers Responding to Globalization?

14. 15.

16.

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Understanding 23 (1991), 15–41. Otsu modified the original trading game for Japanese junior high and high schools. The original trading game is introduced in A. Wilkinson, It’s Not Fair (London: Christian Aid, 1985). Angene H. Wilson, “Enlarging Our Global Perspective: Lessons from Ghana,” Social Studies 91, no. 5 (2000): 197–201. Kenneth Cushner, Averil McClelland, and Philip Safford, Human Diversity in Education (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000); Martha H. Germaine, Worldly Teachers: Cultural Leaming and Pedagogy (Westport, Conn.: Bergin & Garvey, 1998): Angene H. Wilson, “Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Who Teach Social Studies,” The Social Studies 77, no. 3 (1986): 100–107; Angene H. Wilson, “Conversation Partners: Helping Students Gain a Global Perspective through Cross-cultural Experiences,” Theory into Practice 32 (1993): 21–26; Angene H. Wilson, The Meaning of International Experience for Schools (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1993). Germaine, ibid; Merry M. Merryfield, “Why Aren’t American Teachers Being Prepared to Teach for Diversity. Equity, and Interconnectedness? A Study of Lived Experiences in the Making of Multicultural and Global Educators,” Teaching and Teacher Education 16, no. 4 (2000): 429–443. Michelle Fine, Framing Dropouts: Notes on the Politics of an Urban Public High School (Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1991); Michelle Foster, Black Teachers on Teaching (New York: The New Press, 1997); Annette Henry, Taking Back Control: African Canadian Women Teachers Lives and Practice (Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press, 1998); Jonathan Kozol, Savage Inequalities (New York: Crown, 1991); Deborah Meier, The Power of Their Ideas: Lessons for America from a Small School in Harlem (Boston: Beacon Press, 1995); Laurie Olsen, Made in America: Immigrant Students in Our Public Schools (New York: New Press, 1997). Bettina Fabos and Michelle D. Young, “Telecommunication in the Classroom: Rhetoric versus Reality,” Review of Educational Research 69, no. 3 (1999): 217–259; Cynthia S. Sunal and Lois M. Christensen, “Culture and Citizenship: Teachers from Two Continents Share Perspectives via a Website,” The International Social Studies Forum 2, no. 2 (2002): 121–140; Guichun Zong, “Can Computer Mediated Communication Help to Prepare Global Teachers?” Theory and Research in Social Education 30, no. 4 (2002): 589–616. Richard R. Brislin (Ed.), Applied Cross-cultural Psychology (Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1986); Richard R. Brislin, Understanding Culture’s Influence on Behavior (Fort Worth, Tex.: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993); Richard Brislin and T. Yoshida, Improving Intercultural Interactions (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1994). Merry M. Merryfield, “Moving the Center of Global Education,” in Critical Issues in Social Studies Research, ed. William S. Stanley (Greenwich, Conn.: 2001), 179–208. Jonathan Burack, “The Student, the World, and the Global Education Ideology,” in Where Did Social Studies Go Wrong?, eds. James Leming, Lucien Ellington and Kathleen Porter (Washington, D.C.: Fordham Foundation, 2003). As found in www.edexcellence.net/foundation/publication/publication.cfm?id=317#907 February 1, 2004. William Gaudelli, World Class: Teaching and Learning in Global Times (Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates 2002); Merryfield, 1998, op. cit.; Wilson, op. cit., 1993. Merry M. Merryfield, 1993. op. cit.

Note: See www.teachglobaled.net for more than 5000 resources for teaching world cultures, global issues, and world history.

18

Using Literature to Teach about Others The Case of Shabanu MARGARET SMITH CROCCO*

The contemporary social studies curriculum remains surprisingly far from gender balanced. In bestselling world history textbooks of the 1990s, only eight women can be found in the indexes for every 100 men. In American history textbooks, the situation is somewhat better, with around 16 women for every 100 men. In teacher education, the most popular social studies methods textbooks spend only 2.5 percent of their pages addressing gender.1 Overall, the place of women in the social studies seems marginal—except for the large number of teachers and teacher educators today who happen to be women. Teachers motivated to include women in global education or world history courses confront numerous problems, including lack of appropriate materials and shallow knowledge of women’s lives around the world.2 One way they address this problem is through fiction—a popular pedagogical strategy aimed at bridging cultural differences through imagination and empathy. But even this approach carries loads of problems, as we shall see. In bringing the world into the classroom, teachers inevitably confront the problem of students’ ethnocentrism—the view that one’s own cultural ways of doing things are “natural” while other societies’ practices are “strange.” Students also bring stereotypes and misconceptions concerning other cultures into the classroom. Such problems may be particularly pronounced these days, as U.S. media regularly portray women from less developed nations as downtrodden, ignorant, and eager to emulate the lives of Western women. Here I consider Shabanu, a popular novel often found in middle school classrooms, to raise questions about the use of fiction in teaching about women of the world. My point is not to discourage use of fiction generally, or this novel particularly. On the contrary, I hope that by raising questions about Shabanu, * Margaret Smith Crocco is Professor and Program Coordinator of Social Studies Education and Chair of the Department of Arts and Humanities at Teachers College, Columbia University.

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teachers will reflect more deeply on the forms of representation operating within their classrooms, where the lines between fiction and non-fiction may not be as neatly drawn as they think, and where students’ preconceptions may be more powerful than the lessons they are trying to teach. Teaching Shabanu Since its publication in 1989, Suzanne Fisher Staples’s novel Shabanu has been honored with a host of prestigious awards.3 In 1999, on the advice of a children’s literature expert, I introduced the book into “Women of the World: Issues in Teaching,” my master’s level course at Teachers College, Columbia University. I was looking for a way to engage students in understanding women’s lives that are very different from those of middle-class Americans, especially through materials the students might find useful in their own classrooms. The publisher’s description of the book reads as follows: Life is both sweet and cruel to strong-willed young Shabanu, whose home is the wind-swept Cholistan Desert of Pakistan. The second daughter in a family with no sons, she’s been allowed freedom forbidden to most Muslim girls. Yet her parents soon grow justifiably concerned that her independence and disinterest in “women’s work” will lead to trouble. As tradition dictates, Shabanu’s father has arranged for her to be married in the coming year. Though this will mean an end to her liberty, Shabanu accepts it as her duty to her family. Then a tragic encounter with a wealthy and powerful landowner ruins the marriage plans for her older sister, and it is Shabanu who is called upon to sacrifice everything she’s dreamed of. Should she do what is necessary to uphold her family’s honor or should she listen to stirrings of her own heart?4 To confirm the recommendation of the children’s literature expert, I spoke with English teachers and teacher educators. I also consulted the internet, where there was an abundance of teacher testimonials to the book’s power. Encouraged by these endorsements, I introduced the novel into my course. Coincidentally, two Pakistani American students enrolled in our program at Teachers College. Thus began my own “experiential education” in crosscultural understanding. At semester’s end, both Pakistani American students came to my office to inform me that they found the novel offensive. They referred me to the websites of several Muslim and South Asian writers’ organizations, which, I discovered, railed against the novel in the strongest possible terms.5 I then began a research project to systematically assess teacher educators’, teachers’, and student teachers’ reactions to the book. I conducted formal interviews with our two Pakistani American student teachers, and then asked their permission

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to use the transcripts of these interviews as the basis for questioning other educators, including two other Muslim student teachers, the children’s literature expert, several teacher educators and teachers of English, and an author of non-fiction books for young adults. Although it was not possible to put all these individuals into one room at the same time, by using the transcripts as the basis for later interviews, I developed a limited but useful “virtual conversation” among my research subjects. The children’s literature expert, the English teachers, and the teacher educators all felt the novel to be a work of art, which should be judged only on artistic grounds. To proscribe its use, they argued, amounted to censorship. The author of young adult non-fiction disagreed with this viewpoint, citing her own sense of social responsibility as a writer. Three of the four Muslim students, supported by the websites of several U.S. Islamic organizations, voiced strenuous objections to the novel. Their comments crystallized around three themes: 1. The problem of insider/outsider status in writing a book about Muslim women; 2. The effects of literature on students in a classroom; 3. Shabanu as a piece of biased and colonial literature. Insider/Outsider Status Interestingly, all four Muslim students—even the one who believed the novel should be taught in U.S. classrooms—were troubled by Staples’s outsider status. Even though she worked as a journalist in Pakistan for three years, Staples is neither Muslim nor Pakistani. The Knopf marketing brochure issued at the time of the book’s publication states that Staples wrote the book to show “we all share the sameness of the human condition.”6 As a romantic tale, the book is replete with assumptions about young girls. Most of the insiders I spoke with believe Staples gets Muslim girlhood wrong, and, in the process, misrepresents Islam in damaging ways. On its website, the Islamic Networks Group presents an exhaustive list of Staples’s errors in the use of language, description of cultural practices, and understanding of rural Pakistani society. They summarize their lengthy critique in these terms: The book is filled with passages that indicate behavior and beliefs that are not Islamic at all, and which confuse the reader into thinking that they represent Islam. Even if one was to look at this book for cultural accuracy, it is not in any way reflective of the life style of most Pakistani girls, who today are educated, enjoy many freedoms, and choose their own spouse. For the seventh grader reading the book as a complement to their study of Islam and Islamic history, instead of being educated, they are being filled with stereotypical representations that they assume to be facts. This is a disservice both to Islam and Muslims, and the students reading it.7

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Another writer, Fatima Husain, voices her objections on the South Asian Writers Network website: A search on the web brings a number of references to Shabanu. It seems to be a popular book assigned to preteens and teenagers. One shudders to think of impressionable minds reading this as their only introduction to the nomads, Pakistan or Muslims. One also hopes the children reading this don’t all grow up to be 60 Minutes or 20/20 correspondents who dramatically produce yet-another-installment in the saga of Women from the Heart of Islam, battling Cultural Forces to Follow their own Hearts.8 Insiders reading this story see it as ethnocentric in its depiction of a “feisty female” protagonist written to appeal to young American girls. Insiders also believe the story promotes oversimplified conceptions of Muslim societies, by portraying an arranged marriage of a young Muslim girl to an old man. Shabbir Mansouri, speaking on behalf of the Council on Islamic Education, argues that “the main focus of the book is the worn-out ‘who will I marry’ story line, which authors use to rope in every adolescent female reader. This continues the stereotype that the only thing on the mind of a young Muslim female is marriage.”9 Effects of Literature What are the consequences of such representations for American students? In a nutshell, my informants believed the book to be “dangerous.” Its “microscopic” view of Pakistani society would promote the misconception that all Muslims are backward and oppressive to women. They thought most female characters in the book were weak; they complained that the writing has a “travelogue quality,” which exoticizes a remote and atypical region of the country. In the end, they felt the story would also have damaging consequences for Muslim students in American schools: What you see in the media is . . . this is what a Muslim looks like, and this is what they do, and this is what they do to their women, so they do that in Pakistan, too. It just adds up to a lot of negative publicity.10 This speaker went on to link media images of Muslims to terrorism. (Bear in mind that this interview occurred in July of 2000, more than a year before the tragedy of September 11, 2001.) She shared numerous instances from her school years—elementary through college—where individuals made comments such as “Oh, you’re the people who go around blowing up stuff.” Another young woman shared a similar story: “Whenever they asked me in college about my culture, they always asked me about arranged marriages.” As a third individual put it, “If I’m a Pakistani and the person sitting next to me is reading this book, I’m going to feel pretty bad about myself and my culture.”11

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Though these Pakistani American students felt most readers would take away a negative perception of Pakistan and Islam from reading this book, they did not maintain that the book was entirely implausible. They did not deny the possibility of an arranged marriage between a young girl and an old man in modern Pakistan, for instance, but said such an event would be rare. Their point was that when read within the context of most Americans’ lack of information about Pakistan and Islam, and the stereotypical views circulated by the American news media, the novel would do more harm than good in a social studies classroom.12 Biased Colonial Literature Audrey Shabbas, speaking for the Arab World and Islamic Resources and School Services group, echoes the sentiments of my informants who found the book perpetuating a colonialist portrait of Muslims worldwide: Please, please, please, throw out your copies of Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind—it is “colonialist literature”—and don’t even consider its sequel! It is a humiliation to every Muslim child in your classroom—and this alone ought to be [a] cue to you to abandon it.13 From the interviews I conducted, and the websites of Islamic organizations in the United States I reviewed, the view emerged that this novel reinforces prevailing Western attitudes about what is sometimes called the third world. Such literature must be read against the backdrop of colonialism and “Orientalism,” a phenomenon made famous by the late literary critic Edward Said.14 Said argued that Western authors, artists, scholars, and educators have consistently offered their readers highly simplistic representations of the societies they have colonized. From the perspective of many Islamic organizations, such depictions serve as justification for keeping non-Western nations in subordinate relation to the West. In this age of globalization, decolonization of the mind and the curriculum demands exposing and challenging the biases of Orientalist literature. Conclusion I have tried to raise a variety of issues concerned with teaching fictionalized accounts of women of the world generally, and the novel Shabanu especially. In conclusion, I pose several related questions: How do we assess the claims made by Muslim organizations about the book? Should social studies teachers use the novel? What problems arise from introducing any work of fiction into social studies classrooms? How should we address this problem in light of the absence of women’s history in the social studies curriculum? First, how to assess such claims? One highly regarded textbook on children’s literature suggests applying the following criteria to selecting any work of

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fiction for the classroom: Does it tell a good story? Is the story accurate and authentic? Does it avoid distortion? Are dialogue, character, and setting believable?15 These are all legitimate questions, but not easy ones to answer in the case of a book like Shabanu. Who is in the best position to answer these questions when the subject is a young Muslim girl of the Cholistan Desert of Pakistan? Is it an insider or an outsider? A number of issues come into play here, including knowledge, social location, and the biases inherent in any social location, whether insider or outsider. In the end, it would seem that the insider’s status—even though it, too, may be limited in certain ways—must prevail. Second, to teach or not to teach Shabanu? I leave this matter up to individual teachers. My goal in this essay is to raise a set of concerns about the novel’s proper place in social studies classrooms. Not many works about young Muslim women, comparable to Shabanu, are available to teachers, although the Islamic websites do offer alternatives, as do I in another publication.16 It was this dearth of fictional representation that led one of the Pakistani American students I spoke with to conclude that this book—however flawed—is better than nothing. Third, what problems arise from using fiction in a social studies classroom? It is important to remember that social studies classrooms are places where subject matter is supposed to be “true.” Textbook accounts, while they may strive for accuracy and authenticity, of necessity leave out a great deal, including much about women’s lives. In that regard, textbooks contribute to distorting and falsifying the past, by substituting the lives of men for the lives of women. Works of imagination, such as novels, plays, and films focused on women’s lives, can help social studies teachers correct some of this distortion. However, as this examination of Shabanu demonstrates, the use of fiction can extend the distortion rather than counter it.17 Especially now, and in interdisciplinary settings in which teachers merge nonfiction with fiction. I question the degree to which students fully comprehend the differences in genres. Does the student who reads Shabanu recognize it to be a work of fiction rather than non-fiction? Given the degree to which even older students confuse the history in their texts with the history they see at the movies, this seems a justifiable concern.18 Perhaps one way to blunt the effects of Shabanu as “standing in” for the much larger, complicated picture of contemporary Muslim women worldwide would be to use a wide variety of resources that offer multiple and conflicting perspectives on this topic. Finally, in laying out a teaching dilemma centered on the novel Shabanu, I wish to stress the fundamental importance of including women’s stories and women’s realities in social studies classrooms. I share the view of the Pakistani American student who argued that invisibility may be a bigger problem than stereotyping. Leaving women out of the social studies curricu-

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lum signals to students that women do not count in the history of the world, that their stories are of little worth, their lives unimportant, their contributions few. I encourage teachers to take up the challenges of teaching about women of the world, bearing in mind that women’s lives—past and present, near and far—have been and remain highly diverse. We must recognize, in other words, that there is no such thing as “womanhood,” in the sense of a universal experience of a life lived as female, as if, stripped of their veils, customs, and other cultural practices, “under their skin” all women are the same. Rather, by accurately representing the multiple dimensions and multiple realities of women’s lives, we can and should provide all students with a rigorous world-class education of lasting value. Notes 1. Roger Clark, Keiran Ayton, Nicole Frechette, and Pamela J. Keller, “Women of the World, Re-write! Women in American World History High School Textbooks from the 1960s, 1980s, and 1990s,” Social Education 69, no. 1 (2005): 41–47; Roger Clark, Jeffrey Allard, and Timothy Mahoney, “How Much of the Sky? Women in American High School History Textbooks from the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s,” Social Education 68, no. 1 (2004): 57–61; Karen Zittleman and David Sadker, “Teacher Education Textbooks: The Unfinished Revolution,” Educational Leadership 60, no. 4 (December 2002/January 2003): 59–63. 2. Such issues, as well as others, conspire to create resistance on the part of some teachers in tackling global education at all. See Kenneth A. Tye and Barbara Benham, “The Realities of Schooling: Overcoming Teacher Resistance to Global Education,” Theory into Practice 32, no. 1 (Winter 1993): 58–63. Still, the literature on world history and global gender issues is growing. See, for example, Patrick Manning, Navigating World History: Historians Create a Global Past (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003); K. Anne Pyburn, ed., Ungendering Civilization (New York: Routledge, 2004); Joni Seager, The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World (New York: Penguin, 2003); and Peter Stearns, Gender in World History (New York: Routledge, 2000). 3. Suzanne Fisher Staples, Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind (New York: Knopf, 1989). Honors include: 1990 Newbery Honor Book, American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults, American Library Association Notable Children’s Book, New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Horn Book Fanfare Honor Book, International Reading Association Young Adults Choice, and International Reading Association Teachers’ Choice (Staples, 1989, back cover). 4. Staples, back cover. 5. See, for example, the Council on Islamic Education 1995; Arab World and Islamic Resources 2004; Husain 2004; Islamic Networks Group 2004. 6. Knopf Marketing n.d.: 2. 7. Youssef Ismail, “Shabanu, Daughter Of The Wind: Book Review as it Relates to the Book’s Use in Humanities for Complementing Studies about Islam and the Muslim World in the Context of World History and Social Studies” (Islamic Networks Group, 2005) [Accessed on December 10, 2005, at www.ing.org/ speakers/finalsubpage.asp?num=41&pagenum=3] 8. Fatima Husain, “Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind Review” (South Asian Writers

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• Margaret Smith Crocco Network) [Accessed on December 10, 2005, at www.sawnet.org/kidsbooks/ reviews.php?Shabanu percent2C+Daughter+of+the+Wind] Shabbir Mansouri, Council on Islamic Education, as quoted on the Islamic Networks Group. [Accessed on December 10, 2005, at www.ing.org/speakers/ finalsubpage.asp?num=41&pagenum=3] Interview with Pakistani American student, July 11, 2000, Teachers College, Columbia University. Interview with Pakistani American student, January 8, 2001, Teachers College, Columbia University. In reacting this way to the novel, these Pakistani Americans continue a long line of commentary by other ethnic and religious groups about the manner in which their cultures are depicted in literature. For example, the Council on Interracial Books for Children offers guidelines for selecting books in order to avoid sexism and racism. See its “10 quick ways to analyze children’s books for racism and sexism.” Available online at www.birchlane.davis.ca.us/library/10quick.htm. [Accessed on December 5, 2005] Also, the Oyate organization of Native Americans publishes lists of “Books to Avoid” on their website (see www.oyate.org/books-to-avoid/index.html). [Accessed on March 16, 2004] As many teachers surely know, even a classic work such as Huckleberry Finn has been the subject of repeated efforts at censorship. See Jonathan Arac, Huckleberry Finn as Idol and Target (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1997). Audrey Shabbas, Arab World and Islamic Resources and School Services, as quoted on the Islamic Networks Group. [Accessed on December 10, 2005, at www.ing.org/speakers/finalsubpage.asp?num=41&pagenum=3] Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage, 1978). Charlotte S. Huck, Susan Hepler, Janet Hickman, and Barbara Z. Kiefer, Children’s Literature in the Elementary School, 7th ed. (New York: McGraw Hill, 2001). Margaret Smith Crocco, “Teaching Shabanu: The Challenges of Using World Literature in the U.S. Social Studies Classroom,” Journal of Curriculum Studies 37, no. 5 (2005): 561–582. William D. Edgington, “The Use of Children’s Literature in Middle School Social Studies: What Research Does and Does Not Show,” The Clearing House 72, no. 2 (Nov/Dec 1998): 121–125. Alan S. Marcus, “ ‘It Is as It Was:’ Feature Film in the History Classroom,” The Social Studies 96, no. 2 (2005): 61–67.

19

The Two World Histories

ROSS E. DUNN*

Playing off the title of C.P. Snow’s famous essay “The Two Cultures,” I would like to argue that public discourse over world history as a school subject has largely taken place in two separate arenas, neither of which has fully understood or engaged with the other. In consequence, world history as a developing and intellectually lively academic discipline has not had as much impact on school curriculum as it should have. Conversely, state education agencies and school districts have in recent years written scholastic standards that embody outdated and inadequate conceptions of world history. On the whole, world history curriculum in public schools lags well behind the research curve, and it fails to pose enough of the key questions that might help young Americans better understand how the fluid, transnational, economically integrated world in which we live got to be the way it is. This state of affairs needs to change. In the arenas where the two world histories have taken shape, educators vigorously debate among themselves intellectual, pedagogical, and policy issues surrounding world history as a school subject. The people in each arena tend to share, despite internal disagreements, a common set of premises and assumptions for ordering the discussion of world history as a research and teaching endeavor. But in the two arenas the premises are quite different. Individual educators sometimes leave their own arena to visit the other one, but the two groups rarely hold joint meetings. World History in Arena A Gathered in what we will call Arena A are scholars and teachers who subscribe to the premise that the primary field of world historical investigation must be the planet as a whole, that is, the human species in its changing physical and natural environment. This group holds contentious debates over evidence, * Ross E. Dunn is Professor Emeritus of History at San Diego State University and Director of World History Projects, National Center for History in the Schools, University of California at Los Angeles.

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interpretation, and teaching strategies, but its conversations tend to be protean, multi-sided, and, for the most part, affable. The leading organizations in this arena are the World History Association (WHA) and its several regional affiliates. The key media are the Journal of World History, the World History Bulletin, the new Journal of Global History, the online journal World History Connected, and the H-World email discussion group. The majority of educators in Arena A are academic historians, but WHA meetings, summer institutes, workshops, and various collaborative projects bring them together with K-12 teachers, publishers, and a few scholars from university education departments. For high school teachers, the main stage in Arena A has in the past few years been the Advanced Placement World History program, which sponsors its own institutes, website, print resources, and email list. Discussions in Arena A center on the history of connections and interactions among human societies, patterns of change that cut across and transcend particular countries or civilizations, studies of societies in world-scale contexts, and comparisons of historical phenomena in different parts of the world. The denizens of Arena A are also inclined to investigate globalization, that is, the making of connections among peoples and societies, as a long-term historical process, not just a phenomenon of the past century. Most Arena A dwellers are interested in exploring patterns, connections, and comparisons within limited frames of time and space rather than in constructing holistic histories of humankind. On the other hand, they work from the premise that the grand sweep of the past, not just the histories of particular aggregate like nation-states or civilizations, can, indeed must be, made intelligible. Moreover a subgroup in Arena A has formed around the new discipline known informally as “big history.” This emerging field draws upon both scientific and humanistic disciplines to locate the history of our species within large scales of change up to the scale of the entire universe and to pose large questions about human evolution and cultural development.1 However, all researchers who frequent Arena A, whether big or not-so-big historians, aim to obey the rules of evidence that the modern discipline honors. As the world historian Patrick Manning has written, World history . . . is an array of approaches to the past rather than a single formula for explaining our history. It is an umbrella of historical themes and methods, unified by the focus on connections across boundaries but allowing for diverse and even conflicting approaches and interpretations.2 Between about 1960 and 1985, the pioneers of world history as it has been formulated and practiced in Arena A published the seminal works that have inspired and guided the field ever since. These founders include William H. McNeill, Marshal G.S. Hodgson, Leften Stavrianos, Philip Curtin, Alfred Crosby, and Immanuel Wallerstein.3 Since 1985, by which time the WHA was

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well established, the corpus of writings in world history has grown exuberantly. Among numerous books and essays, four works are especially useful for getting a sense of the history, scope, and aims of the field. One is Bentley’s booklet Shapes of World History in Twentieth-Century Scholarship. A second is Manning’s Navigating World History. A third is Hughes-Warrington’s edited collection of essays titled Palgrave Advances in World Histories. A fourth is Dunn’s The New World History: A Teacher’s Companion, also an edited collection, which includes 56 essays on the problems of conceptualizing and teaching the field.4 World History in Arena B As writing, teaching, and debate proceed in Arena A, educators and policymakers in Arena B on the other side of town have been engaging in a largely separate discourse. Their focus of debate is the social studies curriculum in American schools, including subject matter in non-American history, geography, culture, and current affairs. In most states, social studies include one or more courses in world history (sometimes called “world civilizations” or “world cultures”). The curriculum framework for California, for example, includes three full years of world history, in grades six, seven, and ten. In some other states, by contrast, courses in world history or other international studies are offered only as electives. In the great majority of states, changes have taken place in middle and high school world history curriculum in the past decade in connection with the development and implementation of new content and skill standards. People in Arena B have been particularly concerned about history and social science standards as expressions of national values and purpose. Therefore, the discussions have been emphatically political. What knowledge and understandings of the world will form the best citizens? Which version of world history should students learn, and who should create it? The federal government? The states? The teacher behind the closed classroom door? Should history education strive primarily to achieve national consensus about the human past, or should it equip students with tools of critical thinking with which to challenge “official” narratives, interrogate political authority, and propose solutions to contemporary problems in the light of history? The debates in Arena B have been harder-edged and more impassioned than in Arena A because control of committees, agencies, endowments, legislative processes, and textbook sales are at stake. Moreover, two generally opposing advocacy groups have formed in the arena, producing a chronically confrontational atmosphere. One of these two groups argues from the premise that history in schools should aim principally to transfer Western political, intellectual, and cultural ideals to the rising generation in order to strengthen their loyalty to the United States as an ongoing experiment in democracy and capitalist enterprise. Public school curriculum centered on American and European

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history and on a consensual narrative of achievement is commendable, the argument runs, because it serves national unity, inspires civic participation, and combats social forces that might fragment America into mutually antagonistic classes and ethno-racial groups. According to William Bennett, former secretary of education and an exponent of this viewpoint, America’s European political, philosophical, literary, and aesthetic legacy is “the glue that binds together our pluralistic nation.” Other expositors of the idea that education should provide in-depth study of the Western civilizational heritage have included Paul Gagnon, Diane Ravitch, Gilbert Sewall, and Jonathan Burack.5 Ideologically conservative governors, legislators, and agency heads usually urge public education that instills patriotism and “Western values” and that emphasizes differences between “cultures” that are democratic and those that are not. Even the most liberal politicians, however, subscribe to the fundamentals of nationalist ideology, shunning education proposals that might appear to advocate “dropping the West” or merging the study of American history into world history. The educators, media commentators, politicians, and think tank fellows who assemble on the Western heritage side of Arena B do not usually argue that world history curriculum should be limited exclusively to Europe and its ancient Mediterranean antecedents. They contend, rather, that study of “other cultures” should not take up too much school time and perhaps should focus on two or three “non-Western cultures.” Most in the Western heritage caucus scorn what Jonathan Burack calls “the drive to cover all cultures equally” and would agree with him that European political and cultural history makes a persuasive and convenient motif for organizing the history of all of humankind, at least in the past 500 years.6 Clustered down at the other end of Arena B are the multiculturalist educators. Prominent here are professors in schools of education, leaders of the National Council for the Social Studies, collegiate historians, and affiliates of a variety of public interest organizations that speak for cultural diversity, social justice, and international-mindedness and that tend to distrust appeals to fervent, exclusivist nationalism. This group advocates social studies education dedicated to multicultural tolerance, empathy as opposed to rigid moral judgment, critical study of contemporary international issues, and inclusion in the curriculum of a variety of past civilizations. Whereas the Western heritage camp starts with an ideal of contemporary America as a society whose origins run back through time to western Europe, Rome, and Greece, the generally more liberal multiculturalists see an America made up of diverse ethno-racial groups whose cultural antecedents extend back to Latin America, Africa, and Asia, as well as to Europe.

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Light Traffic between the Two Arenas The Western heritage and multiculturalist blocs in Arena B have largely ignored the discussions going on in Arena A, concentrating their energies on disputing each other. The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation’s report titled Terrorists, Despots, and Democracy: What Our Children Need to Know is a recent example of a broadside directed against multiculturalists. In it, William Damon writes that schools “must abandon the well-intentioned but intellectually corrosive species of moral relativism that now infests public school curricula in the name of ‘multiculturalism.’ ”7 Social studies educators have vigorously challenged this opinion: Luis Urrieta, for example, declaring that a 2003 Fordham Foundation report titled Where Did Social Studies Go Wrong? “is an activist project based on irrational and short-sighted, but deeply ingrained, ideologies of cultural domination that attempt to maintain and reinvigorate a system of cultural hegemony, in this case by means of the social studies curriculum.”8 Nevertheless, the two camps have understood each other’s ideological positions quite well and have assumed the same basic terms of debate. Both tend to see world history fundamentally as the study of different “cultures,” these aggregates conceived as homogeneous entities and as the natural units of historical investigation. According to this premise, each culture, usually understood as synonymous with a “civilization,” possesses distinctive, indeed inherent traditions that emerged largely out of the operation of mechanisms internal to the particular unit. The culture becomes anthropomorphized, a kind of being that holds this or that belief or performs this or that action. Samuel Huntington, author of the “clash of civilizations” thesis, neatly expresses the idea of Western civilization as a thing that exists in nature and that possesses historical agency: The West differs from other civilizations not in the way it has developed but in the distinctive character of its values and institutions. These include most notably its Christianity, pluralism, individualism, and rule of law, which made it possible for the West to invent modernity, expand throughout the world, and become the envy of other societies.9 Sometimes, however, proponents of multiculturalism take similarly essentialist positions, even if arguing for broader inclusion of several cultures in the curriculum. For example, one educator has written that “every culture has its own internal coherence, integrity, and logic” and that “no one culture is inherently better or worse than any other.” In fact, most anthropologists have abandoned the notion that cultures are closed systems possessing “coherence, integrity, and logic.” And the question of “better or worse” can legitimately be applied only to particular variables—better or worse leaders, decisions, policies, customs, technological capacities, and so on. The notion of comparing

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cultures as entities is akin to asking whether Buffalo is better than Baltimore or if Denver is worse than Detroit. Comparative questions like these only make sense in relation to particular variables. Neither camp in Arena B seems to have much awareness of world history as the investigation of change, both long-term and short-term, in the world at large, as opposed to the fundamentally ahistorical study of the achievements, attributes, and differences of named cultures. The Western heritage bloc seems to think that world history education starts invariably with the premise that “all cultures are equal,” when in fact no scholars or teachers that I know of who are actually engaged in the field as it has been worked out in Arena A subscribe to such a nonsensical proposition. In reviewing world history standards in all 50 states, the Fordham Foundation report titled The State of State World History Standards 2006 takes a strong stand for curriculum that includes the experience of peoples around the globe and that helps students “navigate confidently through a multinational environment.”10 But the report appears to be oblivious to the world history research and methodological debates of the past few decades. Jerry Bentley has written that political conservatives and right-wing evangelicals who write about world history in schools “blithely ignore a generation of scholarship that has demonstrated the powerful effects of transregional and global historical processes such as large-scale migrations, cross-cultural trade, biological diffusion, technological transfers, and cultural exchanges in world history.”11 He is certainly right, but I would contend that many social studies educators who favor multicultural curriculum also seem poorly connected to world history research. This is not because they oppose study of transregional and global patterns of change. Other factors are at work. Some are so dedicated to culture-specific subject matter that they have not had the time or inclination to think much about larger-scale historical issues. Others believe that history in general should be given less school time than the social science disciplines, especially study of contemporary issues.12 Perhaps most important, most social studies teachers, who are likely to have had thin preservice training in non-American history, perhaps any history, have neither the time nor the resources to educate themselves on world history as a distinct disciplinary approach. Professional development opportunities are available, but they are paltry compared to the $680 million or so of taxpayer money that the Department of Education has paid out over the past six years to advance the professionalization of U.S. history teachers. By contrast, Congress has not voted one thin dime to help world history teachers. Very likely, Congress has an “Arena B” mentality, thinking of world history in schools (if legislators think of it at all) as a device exclusively to advance multiculturalist or internationalist goals that might be read by voters as culturally disunifying or even far left-wing.

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State World History Standards: An Arena B Endeavor In the past three decades or so, most public policy and legislation related to history and social science curriculum have been negotiated and implemented in Arena B. Because of the conservative tilt of many state legislature and governorships, as well as the reluctance of centrist or liberal politicians to appear to support school programs that might be perceived as working to divide rather than bind Americans, the Western heritage camp has had a stronger voice than multiculturalists in education agencies. Multiculturalists, however, have kept up a steady barrage of criticism of politically pious and excessively Eurocentric curriculum, demanding that the ancestral cultures of African-, Hispanic-, Asian-, and Native-Americans be represented in the classroom as well. Consequently, in many states the two sides have reached compromise agreements, though usually tacitly and indirectly, over the premises and organization of world history content standards, notably in states such as California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Virginia where the standards specify significant historical content rather than only nebulous generalities. These compromises vary from state to state, and in some cases academic historians, though not necessarily world historians, have intervened to prevent publication of versions of history standards that were grossly inaccurate, misleading, or shallow. Minnesota is one example. Nevertheless, state standards tend to share a fairly consistent set of characteristics. These elements also appear in standards published by educational interest groups, for example, the National Council for History Education’s booklet Building a World History Curriculum.13 First, all these guidelines include content on Africa, Asia, and Latin America, but they organize world history civilization by civilization (or region by region), each of these units embodying its own historical chronology. Consequently, historical developments that cut across civilizations and conventional regions receive minor attention. The interregional developments that do get listed usually concern ancient or medieval developments such as the Silk Road or the Mongol empire. Second, the standards cover the narratives and cultural achievements of a number of civilizations or regions in premodern times, but once students learn that there were great civilizations in different parts of the world before 1500, the scene shifts to Europe. It then receives in-depth treatment for the period from 1500 to about 1950, when the “rise of new nations” requires modest attention to other corners of the globe once again. Thus, for the 450 years when genuinely global developments had greater and greater impact on human life, Europe and its internal developments and foreign initiatives are largely allowed to stand in for world history. The primary topic headings of the Indiana state standards are typical of this approach:

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7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Beginnings of Human Society. Early Civilizations: 4000 to 1000 B.C.E. Classical Civilizations of Greece and Rome: 2000 B.C.E. to 500 C.E. Major Civilizations, States, and Empires in Asia, Africa, and the Americas: 1000 B.C.E. to 1500 C.E. Medieval Europe and the Rise of Western Civilization: 500 to 1500. The Renaissance and Reformation in Europe and the Development of Western Civilization: 1250 to 1650. Worldwide Exploration, Conquest, and Colonization: 1450 to 1750. Scientific, Political, and Industrial Revolutions: 1500 to 1900. Global Imperialism: 1750 to 1900. An Era of Global Conflicts, Challenges, Controversies, and Changes: 1900 to the Present. Historical Research.14

A third shared element in state standards has to do with the design process. With some partial exceptions, standards writing has not involved much participation from people who have thought seriously about world history as a new research field and as a distinctive way of investigating the past. Rather, state educational authorities have for the most part visited Arena B to put together inhouse committees, independent consultants, selected teachers and curriculum designers, most of whom see world history as the study of “different cultures.” Consequently, these standards have taken little account of the lively and pathbreaking world historical scholarship of the past quarter century. To give just one example of this research, scholars in Arena A know that a world-girdling economy took shape in the sixteenth century and that thereafter this economy became increasingly complex in terms of transport networks, commercial exchange, and commodity production, as well as in its impact on societies everywhere. One important aspect of this development was, in the context of the previous 5,000 years, the astonishingly sudden growth of western Europe as a hub of production, trade, and technical innovation. The intertwinings of the world economy and the successive regional shifts in the balance of global economic and military power from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries is a vital topic for understanding the world in which we live. This topic, broad in space and time, is one that classrooms might examine through any number of intriguing questions:

• • • •

What impact did the exchange of food plants between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres have on the growth of the world economy? Why did West African states find it in their interest to sell people for export to American plantations? Why did world population start to soar in the eighteenth century? Why did steam-powered mechanical industry develop first in England rather than in China or India?

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Numerous world historians have written about the birth and development of the modern world economy, and several have produced scholarly—though reader-friendly—books and essays that could help teachers, textbook publishers, curriculum specialists, and standards writers produce course materials which throw into relief big historical patterns obscured by the one-damncivilization-after-another or the myopically European centered approaches to the past.15 Unfortunately, state standards and most middle and high school textbooks have so far largely overlooked these big questions, because these questions require approaching the whole world, not just partitioned sections of it, as the primary terrain of investigation. It is pedagogically easier, for example, to explain the “rise of the West” to great economic, technical, and military power by studying mainly what happened inside Europe or by dwelling on Western “core values.” However, that approach cannot provide persuasive answers because it ignores too many world-scale factors, variables, and influences. Advancing a World History of Humankind The curricular models that have emerged from the compromises among educators in Arena B are insufficient to equip high school graduates with the understandings they need to make their way in an exceedingly complicated world. School programs, therefore, should start with the world and with human beings as a species, not with Mesopotamia or any other particular “culture.” This does not mean that study of change in particular societies is unimportant, but students should understand that all societies are in a continual state of fluidity and that narratives of particular societies are invariably embedded in contexts of time and space larger than themselves. The people in Arena B are probably not going to do much by themselves to advance world history curriculum suitable for the new century. So the educators in Arena A, ideally led by the WHA, are going to have to elbow more places for themselves at the policymaking tables. Have they already made significant headway in advancing what some call the “new world history?” Indeed, they have. First, the project in the mid-1990s to develop the National Standards for History was a huge collaboration of teachers, scholars, and public interest organizations, and it recruited, unlike most of the state standards projects, a critical mass of forward-thinking world historians. This team produced standards that pointed the way toward a history of change in the world, not serial histories of separate societies. Right-wing operatives, however, made a sustained and fundamentally deceptive assault on the standards for taking an insufficiently triumphalist view of American and Western political heroes, institutions, and founding documents. This campaign was also just one dimension of the Republican “Contract with America” initiative to close the national endowments for the humanities and arts and the Department of Education. Consequently, no state in the union dared to adopt

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these guidelines as templates for its own standards. Nevertheless, the national benchmarks have had significant impact on the organization and content of U.S. and world history standards in some states and on numerous other curriculum-writing projects.16 Second, and a greater success story, has been the phenomenal growth of the Advanced Placement World History program. Its testing population has risen from an impressive 21,000 or so in 2002, the first year of operation, to about 125,000 in 2008. Most of the historians and teachers who have developed AP World History frequent Arena A. Consequently, the course has a unified chronology rather than several civilizational timelines, and it “highlights the nature of changes in global frameworks and their causes and consequences, as well as comparisons among major societies.”17 The AP program has thus introduced to thousands of high schools an ecumenical approach to world history offering an alternative to the culturist models inscribed in most state standards and secondary textbooks. AP presenters usually appear at NCSS meetings, and the program is serving as a meeting point between world historians and educators dedicated to international and multicultural perspectives. Western heritage educators, however, have protested AP World History’s underlying approach. Jonathan Burack, a staunch member of that camp in Arena B, has warned in a Fordham Foundation report that AP World History “could well accelerate harmful trends in the teaching of world history by promoting the global education ideology. . . .”18 Thus, he deploys the common ultranationalist tactic of conflating world history as a scholarly discipline with an imagined radical multiculturalism heedless of curricular coherence or intent on subordinating Western civilization: The drive to cover all cultures equally adds enormously to the coverage problem by imposing an impossibly broad reach to the course. Moreover, by restricting coverage of the West, the course rejects what could provide a unifying principle for world history, at least for the past 500 years— namely, the central role of the West throughout the world.19 In fact, AP World History makes no claim to “cover all cultures equally.” Indeed, it does not aspire to “cover cultures” at all. Moreover, the research of the past quarter century has demolished the conventional myth that Europe has played a “central role” in the world since 1500. Excepting in the Americas, that domination was achieved only in the nineteenth century. And it may be seen as continuing in the past few decades only if one accepts the essentialist notion that any sign of economic growth, social progress, or democratic experimentation anywhere in the world is automatically evidence of the diffusion of “westernization,” as if the “West” were a spreading organism. I should add that The State of State World History Standards, the Fordham Foundation’s 2006 report, judged AP World History an “excellent” program and advised states with weak standards to build their world history requirements around it.

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A third world history project under development is World History for Us All, a web-based model curriculum for world history in middle and high schools. This project, inspired by the National Standards for World History, is a collaboration of San Diego State University and the National Center for History in the Schools at UCLA. It emerged from concerns that states were producing new guidelines that represented world history as the field was understood about 1970, that is, as the story of the West plus subsidiary material on “other cultures.” World History for Us All, which is an entirely free-access site (worldhistoryforusall.sdsu.edu), offers a framework for a more unified history of humankind. It has two major elements. The first is a conceptual framework of guiding ideas, objectives, themes, and historical periods. The second is a rich selection of units, lessons, activities, primary documents, and resources that are linked to this overarching conceptual structure. World History for Us All has a unified chronology organized in nine “big eras” of history, a rationale that encourages educators to think explicitly about world history as a distinct mode of inquiry, an approach to subject matter that permits classrooms to investigate the global past from the Paleolithic era to today without leaving out major periods or regions, and a foundation in cognitive research which shows that students are likely to achieve greater competence in history if they are guided to relate particular subject matter to larger patterns of historical meaning. World History for Us All continues under development, but teachers across the country are mining it. The Way Ahead Emulating most major league football and baseball teams, educators devoted to the historical and international literacy of young Americans should agitate for a new and bigger arena to replace the two old stadiums. In this arena world historians, multiculturalists, global studies advocates, and all conservative educators who simply believe that strong history education is vital in our capitalist world would join together, not to promote global government or undermine the nation-state, but to study the history of humankind writ large, recognizing that the Earth is a “place” whose inhabitants have a shared history. To be sure, important developments have taken place within the confines of continents, regions, societies, and nations, but those ever-changing human aggregates remain parts of the globe in all its roundness. Notes 1. David Christian, Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004); Fred Spier, The Structure of Big History: From the Big Bang Until Today (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1996); Cynthia Stokes Brown, Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present (New York: New Press, 2007). 2. Patrick Manning, Navigating World History: Historians Create a Global Past (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 375.

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3. Alfred W. Crosby, Jr., The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1972); Philip D. Curtin, Cross-Cultural Trade in World History (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1984); Marshall G. S. Hodgson, Rethinking World History: Essays on Europe, Islam, and World History, edited, with an Introduction and Conclusion, by Edmund Burke III (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1993); William H. McNeill, The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community: With a Retrospective Essay (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991); Leften S. Stavrianos, Lifelines from Our Past: A New World History (New York: Pantheon Books, 1989); Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World System, 3 vols (New York: Academic Press, 1974–89). 4. Jerry H. Bentley, Shapes of World History in Twentieth-Century Scholarship (Washington, D.C.: American Historical Association, 1996); Ross E. Dunn, ed., The New World History: A Teacher’s Companion (Boston: Bedford St. Martin’s, 2000); Marnie Hughes-Warrington, ed., Palgrave Advances in World Histories (New York: Palgrave, 2005); Manning Navigating World History. 5. Paul Gagnon, Democracy’s Untold Story: What World History Textbooks Neglect (Washington, D.C.: American Federation of Teachers, 1987); Diane Ravitch, A Consumer’s Guide to High School History Textbooks (Washington, D.C.: Thomas B. Fordham, 2004); Gilbert Sewall, “World History Textbooks: A Review” (New York: American Textbook Council, 2004), www.historytextbooksorg; Jonathan Burack, “The Student, the World, and the Global Education Ideology,” in James Leming, Lucien Ellington, and Kathleen Porter, eds., Where Did Social Studies Go Wrong (Washington, D.C.: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, 2003), 40–69. 6. Burack, “The Student, the World, and the Global Education Ideology,” 43, 65, 66. 7. William Damon, “From the Personal to the Political,” in Terrorists, Despots, and Democracy: What Our Children Need to Know (Washington, D.C.: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, 2003), 34–36. 8. Luis Urrieta, Jr., “The Social Studies of Dominion: Cultural Hegemony and Ignorant Activism,” The Social Studies 96, 5 (2005): 189. 9. Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Touchstone Books, 1998), 311. 10. Walter Russell Mead, Chester E. Finn, Jr., and Martin A. Davis, Jr., The State of State World History Standards 2006 (Washington, D.C.: Thomas B, Fordham Foundation, 2006), 5. 11. Jerry H. Bentley, “Myths, Wagers, and Some Moral Implications of World History,” Journal of World History 16, 1 (2005): 62–63. 12. Ronald W. Evans, The Social Studies Wars: What Should We Teach the Children (New York: Teachers College Press, 2004), 175. Evans argues that history takes too big a bite from the social studies curriculum, though he does not make a clear distinction between the “traditional history” advocated by the political right and the inquiry-based approach advocated by most academic historians. His book includes no explicit discussion of world history. 13. Building a World History Curriculum (Westlake, Ohio: National Council for History Education, 1997). 14. “World History and Civilization,” Indiana’s Academic Standards. Indiana Department of Education. www.doe.state.in.us/standards/HS-SocialStudies. html. 15. Alfred W. Crosby, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900–1900 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1986); Jack A. Goldstone, Why Europe: The Rise of the West in World History, 1500–1800 (Boston:

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17. 18. 19.

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McGraw-Hill, 2009); Robert B. Marks, The Origins of the Modern World: A Global and Ecological Narrative from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-first Century, 2nd ed. (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007); J. R. McNeill and William H. McNeill, The Human Web: A Bird’s-Eye View of World History (New York: Norton, 2003); Christian, Maps of Time. Gary B. Nash, Charlotte Crabtree, and Ross E. Dunn, History on Trial: Culture Wars and the Teaching of the Past (New York: Vintage Books, 1997); Linda Symcox, Whose History? The Struggle for National Standards in American Classrooms (New York: Teachers College Press, 2002). College Board AP World History Course Description, May 2008, May 2009 (New York: The College Board, 2007), 3. Burack, “The Student, the World, and the Global Education Ideology,” 42. Ibid., 43.

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Teaching Civic Engagement in Five Societies CAROLE L. HAHN*

What can be done to encourage civic engagement in youth? The observations here draw on a ten-year study of citizenship education that I conducted in five countries: Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.1 Each country has had universal suffrage and public education since at least early in the 20th century. Their populations, while unique, share many civic beliefs and values, including the importance of citizen participation and respect for individual rights.2 Beginning in 1985, I sampled secondary schools from among the different types of schools prevalent in each country and within its different regions. I collected data in approximately 50 schools across the five nations, administering questionnaires to almost 4000 adolescents ages 14–19. The questionnaires contained scales to measure student political attitudes concerning interest, trust, and efficacy (the belief that citizens can influence decisions); student political behaviors, such as following the news and discussing politics; and student perceptions as to whether the classroom climate encouraged them to express their beliefs about controversial issues. I also made visits to the participating schools to observe their equivalents of American social studies classes. I paid particular attention to the “classroom climate,” that is, the extent to which students discuss public policy issues, especially those that are controversial, and the atmosphere in which such discussions occur. Further, I conducted interviews with teachers and students. I asked about course content, methods, and purposes. I asked for teacher perceptions of student attitudes and the context that might influence them. Additionally, I asked about teacher philosophies with regard to handling controversial issues.

* Carole L. Hahn is Charles Howard Candler Professor of Educational Studies at Emory University.

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Issues-centered Education in Five Democracies This study of citizenship education across five democracies indicates that when students frequently discuss controversial issues in their classes, when they perceive that several sides of issues are presented and discussed, and when they feel comfortable expressing their views, they are more likely to develop attitudes that foster later civic participation than do students without such experiences.3 Here are glimpses into the ways teachers in each nation used elements of issues-centered content and pedagogy and took steps to promote an open classroom climate. Denmark The law governing Danish folkeskoler, which pupils attend through the 9th or 10th grade, requires that the school model democracy.4 In order to prepare citizens for democratic participation, folkeskole students are given numerous opportunities for decision making. In weekly class meetings, students from the first grade on discuss and resolve classroom and school problems, hear from and advise their representative to the student council, and, from eighth grade on, decide on topics to be studied in social studies and other subjects. Student councils have a budget, and two of their members serve along with parent and teacher representatives on the school council. Danish students select the topics they will study in social studies/social science classes within the broad directive that twenty-five percent of their course should be spent on each of four areas: sociology, politics, economics, and international relations. Students in one 9th-grade class chose to study the war in the Balkans, racism in Europe, and the 1996 presidential election in the United States. Older students who attend a gymnasium similarly make choices about their studies; in the classes I visited, students were studying a variety of topics, from Denmark’s welfare system to political parties and elections. Moreover, social science is not the only subject in which students are involved in selecting topics. One class explained to me that they had chosen to study the French Revolution in history, football (soccer) in sports, environmental chemistry in chemistry, and particular novels in English class. Further, national law required Danish gymnasium students to conduct at least one group investigation during each of their three years of secondary school. At one school, students told me that in the first year, they did a group research project in their Danish class, in the second year in history, and in the third year in social science. One class did research on topics related to socialization; another class researched aspects of the then-upcoming referendum on the Maastricht Treaty and Denmark’s participation in the European Union. One teacher, Jonas, told me that in collecting and analyzing data and writing up their findings, students were expected to “give arguments for each of several positions and be able to critique them all.”

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Another gymnasium teacher, Henriette, explained that the gymnasium law required teachers to teach in a “pluralistic way,” presenting many sides to issues. She further explained, We’re supposed to use controversial issues as a point of departure, work from the issue (in the news) to the topic, such as theories of democracy. For example, if there is a controversy in a newspaper article on welfare policies, start with that and then go to the basis of the welfare state. Germany Secondary students in Germany attend a Hauptschule, Realschule, Gymnasium, or Gesamtschule.5 One issues-centered pedagogical strategy that I frequently observed in German social studies/ social science classes was asking students to identify (often on the board at the front of the class) arguments for and against a particular position, and then to explain their reasons for preferring one position or another. Issues that I saw discussed in this manner included proposed changes in Germany’s asylum law, the unification of East and West Germany, prohibition of extremist groups, proposed changes in the abortion law, animal use in medical experiments and cosmetic testing, direct election of mayors, and proposals to lower the ages for voting and for driving (from 18 to 16). During the Pro-Contra (for-against) discussions, students heard several sides of issues and were encouraged to express their views on public policies. These discussions appeared to encourage many students to speak, in contrast to many recitation lessons I observed where only a few students explained points being made in texts. There was also more student-to-student interaction during the pro-contra discussions than during the recitation lessons. The classroom climate in the German classes I visited tended to be serious, yet relaxed. Teachers frequently asked students questions to ensure they had correctly understood ideas in texts they read, and they occasionally asked students to express their views on topics under study. Although Gymnasium teachers felt pressure to cover material that might be on the university entrance exam (the Abitur), the teachers I met also thought it was important for students to develop skills and attitudes needed by citizens of a democracy. I observed Mrs. Meyer lead a discussion of a proposal to change the voting age in Lower Saxony from 18 to 16. Acting as a moderator in the Pro-Contra discussion, she encouraged students to respond to one another with respect, bringing as many students as she could into the conversation and preventing a few from dominating. Mrs. Meyer periodically asked some students to elaborate on a point to explain their reasoning further, to comment on whether they agreed or disagreed with what had previously been said, and to consider points not previously mentioned. While maintaining a supportive atmosphere, Mrs.

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Meyer was careful to press students to ground their views in careful logic, solid evidence, and relevant values. United States Social studies teachers in the United States appeared to use a greater variety of activities than did teachers in the other countries I visited, and to give tests more frequently. I observed simulations, games, videos, small group tasks, and guest speakers. The varied activities did not necessarily deal with issues, but sometimes they did. I observed more frequent discussions of current events and the assignment of research papers in the United States than in the four European countries. Both techniques often stimulated students to inquire into or discuss controversial issues. Topics for research papers in government, economics, and law classes included capital punishment, gay rights, affirmative action, gun control, and immigration policies. Sometimes topics were stated as questions: Should executions be televised? Should there be term limits? Should publicly funded art be censored? In some classes, students did research and wrote reports on propositions and candidates who would be voted upon in an upcoming election. In contrast to the tradition in Denmark of a group of students using the community library and conducting surveys, students in schools I visited in the United States were more likely to work as individuals and conduct their research in the school media center. Mr. Stanton began his United States history classes, which contained many recent immigrants, with a “conversation.” Sitting on a high stool in a relaxed manner at the front of the room, he would pose a question to students to solicit their opinions. After several minutes of listening to various student opinions and justifications, Mr. Stanton would make a transition to the topic of the day in the history course. Each day, he also gave students a brief writing task that typically required them to express their opinion on a historic or contemporary issue—for example, a state proposition to restrict welfare and other social services to legal residents. Many teachers and students in the American social studies classes I visited reported discussing current events. I was particularly struck by the frequency with which students reported that formerly they had not been interested in current events. However, as a consequence of the current events discussions which their teacher led, they told me, “Now I watch the news,” “Now I understand what is happening,” and “Now I am interested.” The Netherlands and England In contrast to the first three countries, England and the Netherlands have historically not emphasized citizenship education.6 Still, I did meet a few teachers who used aspects of issues-centered teaching. Mrs. de Vries, a Dutch maatschappijleer (similar to social studies) teacher, began each new topic by

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asking students to express their views on a related contemporary issue. She also concluded units by encouraging students to take action on issues they cared about. Consequently, after a unit on human rights, some of her students wrote letters to officials in the United States expressing their views on capital punishment and others wrote to leaders in Turkey about treatment of its Kurdish minority. After a unit on the multicultural society, students signed pledges not to be racist. Another Dutch teacher, Mr. de Witt, took his students to visit Parliament. While there, they met with leaders of several political parties and expressed their views on issues that they had studied in maatschappijleer. In England, Mrs. Judd’s Sixth Form (16-to 18-year-olds) General Studies students heard guest speakers on two consecutive weeks present conflicting views on nuclear energy. Students in the religious education classes I visited in England discussed their personal religious beliefs, abortion, animal rights, and racism. Many had studied about various religious groups’ views on social issues. In personal and social education, students discussed health issues and societal prejudice. In geography classes, students studied environmental issues, foreign aid, and third world economic development. Regardless of the subject, most classes on most days concluded with students writing a short essay in their exercise books on the topic of the day. Additionally, in the English schools I visited, student councils often conducted charity drives. Conclusion The schools in this research study were not nationally representative samples, and the findings cannot be generalized to the wider population of students within these countries. My purpose instead was to illuminate the complex process of youth political development in differing contexts and to provide insights to social studies educators hoping to improve their own practice. My research across these five countries generally supports earlier studies.7 My answer to the question with which this brief article began is this: to encourage civic engagement, the school curriculum should give students ample opportunity to discuss controversial issues in the classroom and to consider multiple positions and viewpoints on these issues—and all this within an “open” classroom climate that helps students feel comfortable expressing themselves. Notes 1. Carole L. Hahn, Becoming Political: Comparative Perspectives on Citizenship Education (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1998). 2. Denmark, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands are constitutional monarchies; Germany and the United States are federal systems with the prime responsibility for education being at the state level; the four European countries are parliamentary democracies. Denmark and the Netherlands have more than ten political parties and use proportional representation at all levels of government. The United States and the United Kingdom have “majority take all” systems with

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• Carole L. Hahn two dominant parties. Germany has a mixed system. For other similarities and differences, see Hahn. An open classroom climate alone is not sufficient to develop positive political attitudes. For example, school environment, family orientations, the media, and the wider political culture mediate the effects of classroom climate. Danish students attend a folkeskole from grade 1 through 9 or 10. They begin taking history and geography lessons (separate subjects) in the primary years, and add another social studies subject in the 7th grade. Secondary students may attend a 3-year gymnasium, in which they might take a course in social science in addition to one in history. Hauptschulen, Realschulen, and Gymnasien end with grades 9, 10, and 11, respectively, and are progressively more academic. Gesamtschulen, or comprehensive secondary schools, exist in only a few states. Courses like social studies or social science have varied titles in different states. However, since 2002 in England, schools have been expected to prepare students for citizenship. See the review in my article, “Research on Issues-centered Social Studies,” in R. W. Evans and D. W. Saxe, eds., Handbook on Teaching Social Issues (Washington, DC: NCSS, 1996); for twenty-four national case studies of civic education, see J. Torney-Purta, J. Schwille, and J.A. Amadeo, Civic Education Across Countries: Twenty-four National Case Studies from the IEA Civic Education Project (Amsterdam: International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, 1999).

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Discussion in Social Studies

Is it Worth the Trouble? DIANA E. HESS*

In a famous “Saturday Night Live” sketch, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, playing a high school history teacher, attempts to start a discussion with rote factual questions, such as “Who was Britain fighting in World War II?” The agonizing recitation that follows never evolves into a discussion; it becomes painfully clear that the students know virtually nothing about the topic, and even less about how to participate in a productive discussion. Finally, Seinfeld gives up, swallows a handful of pills to quell his upset stomach, and accedes to a student’s offer to bring in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark to show in class the next day. While simultaneously hilarious and depressing, this skit also illustrates an unfortunate reality: Even though many social studies teachers value classroom discussion, it is rare in most social studies classes. As a case in point, Martin Nystrand and his colleagues observed social studies classes in 106 middle and high schools and found that 90 percent of the instruction involved no discussion whatsoever. When there was discussion, it was short: 42 seconds in length, on average, for eighth grade classes and 31 seconds for ninth grade classes.1 The difficulties teachers encounter when trying to promote high-quality discussion among students undoubtedly contribute to the brevity and rarity of such discussions. Teachers report that discussions fail because only a few students have usually completed the necessary preparatory work for effective participation, because some students persistently monopolize while others are silent, because their own facilitation skills are weak, and, most significantly, because what students say is often of low quality and their remarks are often off topic. Given these problems, it is not surprising that teachers question whether discussion is worth the trouble. Here, I address that question by drawing together research that (a) defines discussion, (b) clarifies the problems of implementing discussion in classrooms, (c) specifies the benefits and characteristics of effective social studies * Diana E. Hess is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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discussions, and (d) suggests what teachers can do to facilitate good discussions. My conclusion is that discussion is particularly important in social studies courses because it is uniquely able to help students learn what social studies courses should be teaching. What is Discussion? Just as there is “a literature” on academic topics such as the causes of civil wars or how children learn to read, there is a literature on classroom discussion. One of its central concerns is how to define discussion. Consider the following definitions developed by scholars with expertise in the theory, research, and practice of discussion. Discussion is: “the free exchange of information among three or more participants (which could include the teacher);2 “an alternately serious and playful effort by a group of two or more to share views and engage in mutual and reciprocal critique”;3 “a particular form of group interaction where members join together in addressing a question of common concern, exchanging and examining different views to form their answer, enhancing their knowledge or understanding, their appreciation or judgment, their decision, resolution or action over the matter at issue”;4 or “a kind of shared inquiry the desired outcomes of which rely on the consideration of diverse views.”5 Notice the differences among these definitions. The first is minimalist— requiring only a small number of participants and the simple exchange of ideas. The next definition describes the ethos of discussion (alternatively serious and playful) and its content (sharing views and critique), but not the goal. The third identifies a precondition for discussion (there must be a question of common concern), the content (exchanging and examining views), and the purpose of the discussion (to form an answer, build knowledge, understanding, appreciation, or judgment). The fourth definition of discussion focuses on its purpose—inquiry, considered as a way to find out something that is not already known. Notwithstanding the differences among these definitions of discussion, there are common features that help distinguish discussion from other forms of classroom talk, such as lecture and recitation. First, discussion is dialogue between or among people. It involves, at a minimum, the exchange of information about a topic (a controversy, a problem, an event, a person, etc.). Second, it is a particular approach to constructing knowledge. The approach is based most fundamentally on the idea that something positive can occur when people are expressing their ideas on a topic and listening to others express

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theirs. Beyond that, the multiple definitions given above illustrate one fundamental area of consensus about discussion: it takes many forms and is used for many purposes. Why Discussions Fail While there are few discussions in most social studies courses, enough teachers do include them that we are able to consider what causes some to go well and others to go poorly.6 Teachers and researchers who specialize in discussion report four central problems: the tendency of teachers to talk too much, to ask inauthentic questions, as well as the lack of focus and depth in students’ contributions, and the unequal participation of students. In an insightful study of discussion in high school classes, Katherine Simon identifies the powerful role that teachers play in creating meaningful discussions.7 Simon reports that discussions often fail when teachers shut them off prematurely, whether because they fear losing control of the discourse, are wary of the controversy that authentic discussion may create, or because they are simply not willing to cede the floor to students. Simon’s findings illustrate a significant barrier to quality discussion: it is impossible to create good discussions if teachers talk too much. Not only does teacher monopolization of talk prevent students from having an opportunity to participate, it also communicates to students that their ideas are not valuable. In another study focusing on how high school students in social studies courses view classroom discussion, 80 percent of the students reported they would speak less in discussion if they felt that their ideas wouldn’t be valued.8 This is not to suggest that teachers should remain silent in discussions. Nystrand and his colleagues reported that the type of questions teachers asked accounted for whether discussions took off in the first place. Teachers who asked “authentic” questions that elicited students’ ideas instead of merely the recitation of information were much more likely to spark discussion and keep it going than the more typical “test-like” question with one correct answer. Because an authentic question is one for which the “asker has not prespecified an answer,” it communicates to students that the teacher values what students think, and not just their ability to recite back what others think.9 Moreover, this research found that a helpful factor in creating discussion was a type of questioning called “uptake,” in which teachers ask students questions about what they and other students said. In addition to the problem of teachers who talk too much, or do not ask the kinds of questions that encourage discussion, students’ contributions often do not add up to a focused or in-depth analysis of important ideas. In weak discussions, it is common for students to skip rapidly from point to point, with few addressing specifically a comment or question previously raised. Because high-quality discussion depends on a thorough analysis of only a few ideas, discussions that meander or move rapidly from idea to idea tend to be

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superficial. And if students are not prepared to participate, such a discussion can become what Thomas Roby calls a bull session: “a rambling, uncoordinated conversation in which the participants vent their opinions with passion but exhibit little purpose and no reflection.”10 A fourth problem commonly associated with classroom discussion concerns not content but participation—not what students say but who does and doesn’t speak. In too many discussions, a few students monopolize while others remain silent. While it is not necessary for all students to participate at the same rates and in the same ways in discussion—imagine how dull that would be—most teachers and students are likely to consider a discussion more successful if many students are participating verbally to some extent.11 Benefits of Discussion Notwithstanding the difficulties of discussion, its absence in a classroom suggests a learning climate where all knowledge worth having is located in the teacher (who may just dole it out in lectures) and where the teacher is not just a central figure in the classroom but the only person who has a meaningful role to play in developing ideas. The benefits that accrue from high-quality discussion not only democratize the classroom but also help students themselves play with ideas and develop the skills of critical thought. Because many of the questions that are most significant in social studies courses have multiple and conflicting answers, a form of classroom discourse is needed that teaches students how to sift through and evaluate competing claims and the evidence on which they are based. Consider some of the standard questions that students are asked in social studies courses: What causes revolutions? What are the origins of today’s Middle East conflict? How should a democracy mediate the tensions between security and liberty? Under what circumstances is war justified? Should my city enact a curfew? To all of these questions we can imagine competing answers. Discussion is particularly appropriate for subject areas such as history, psychology, government, and economics where multiple “right” answers collide. Discussion can teach students how to articulate their understandings of a question, explain their arguments, listen to how others think through the same question, and challenge others’ responses. In short, discussion can help students think through the complicated dimensions of a complicated world. Classroom discussion can also help students to better learn content knowledge. Nystrand and his colleagues measured the relationship between the amount of classroom discussion and student performance on knowledge exams and found a positive correlation. The “bottom line” for learning, they write, is “the extent to which instruction requires students to think, not just report someone else’s thinking.”12 Another benefit of discussion in social studies courses is that it can improve students’ abilities to dialogue across difference. Robert Dahl reminds us in On

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Democracy: “Silent citizens may be perfect subjects for an authoritarian ruler; they would be a disaster for a democracy.”13 Although young people can learn how to engage in public discussion in a number of venues, schools have a special capacity to teach these skills. As Amy Gutmann writes, “Schools have a much greater capacity than most parents and voluntary associations for teaching children to reason out loud about disagreements that arise in democratic politics.” Schools’ greater capacity is embodied in the fact that they contain more diversity than one would expect to find in a family, church, synagogue, mosque or club. This diversity of views (and, by extension, diversity about which issues matter the most) makes classrooms powerful places to promote “rational deliberations of competing conceptions of the good life and the good society.”14 Walter Parker writes in Teaching Democracy that this diversity is no less than “the key” to unlocking the potential of schools to educate democratic citizens, but only if it is cultivated in discussion.15 Evidence supports these claims. For example, research shows a positive relationship between discussion of complex policy issues (especially involving civil liberties controversies) and the development of tolerance as well as an understanding of why tolerance is necessary in democracies.16 Participation in discussions of controversial issues appears to influence other forms of political engagement as well. An International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) study of 90,000 students in 28 countries is the most recent research advancing the importance of controversial issue discussions in an open classroom climate. “Open classroom climate” is a construct that measures the “extent to which students experience their classrooms as places to investigate issues and explore their opinions and those of their peers.”17 The IEA researchers reported that discussion of controversial issues in an open classroom climate is a significant predictor of civic knowledge, support for democratic values, participation in political discussion, and political engagement. Also, there is evidence that suggests participating in discussions in school has a positive influence on students’ civic behavior after they leave high school. Molly Andolina and her colleagues found that 18-to-24-year-olds who reported they had discussed issues in their high school classes were more likely to say they had participated in civic activities such as signing a written petition, participating in a boycott, and following political news most of the time.18 Finally, evidence suggests that young people like courses that emphasize discussion. In particular, Julie Posselt and I found that the majority of high school students studied believed that participation in discussion enhanced what they learned and made learning more engaging and fun.19 At the end of a semester-long course that focused explicitly on improving students’ abilities to discuss challenging policy issues, a student reported that “the class overall made me think. Very few classes actually require you to think. It is a good thing,

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thinking, but it takes practice in order to learn how to think effectively and thoughtfully.”20 Characteristics of Effective Discussions Just as there is not just one definition of discussion, there is no single conception of what a high-quality discussion looks like. It is possible for effective discussions to focus on a variety of goals: deepening students’ understandings of an idea, value, or issue; decision making about a question under deliberation; or analyzing the causes of an important historical event. Good discussions can occur in small or large groups. They focus on a shared text of some sort—primary or secondary sources, a film, the remarks of a guest speaker, a classroom or community problem. Good discussions may or may not be formally evaluated. Students’ verbal participation in discussions can be mandatory or voluntary, and teachers can take on any number of facilitation roles or styles. And yet, there are similarities among especially effective discussions. Research shows that good discussions are more likely to occur when they revolve around interpretable topics or questions, involve careful preparation by students, occur in open classroom climates, and require skillful planning and facilitation by the teacher. One of the hallmarks of discussion is sharing, analyzing, and critiquing multiple perspectives. It stands to reason, then, that an opening question for which there is a single right answer is not discussable. By contrast, questions that elicit and depend upon students’ diverse perspectives are more likely to spark high-quality discussions. Virtually all of the case studies of high-quality discussions in the literature share as their central feature a problem, text, topic, question, or issue that provokes multiple interpretations. For example, Simon describes an effective discussion about whether it was a “war crime” to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.21 I describe middle school students deliberating whether to support a ballot initiative that would ban affirmative action programs in state and local government.22 Each of these discussions focused on a well-defined issue that required students to express and compare different interpretations. Table 21.1 Characteristics of Effective Discussion 1 2 3 4

Focus on an interpretable text, issue, idea, etc. The facilitator and participants have prepared thoroughly. Most of the talk comes from the participants, not the facilitator. There is enough time spent on a particular idea to explore it thoroughly before going to another point. 5 Participants feel comfortable, but there is still meaningful argument. 6 Many people talk. 7 Participants and facilitator ask authentic questions and refer to previous points made in the discussion.

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Researchers find consistently that the quality of a discussion is likely to be higher when students have prepared to participate. Whether preparation is done in class or as homework is immaterial; what matters is that students become acquainted with the discussion topic and engage in enough initial thinking about it to have something to say. When preparing students for discussions on Supreme Court decisions and other controversial public issues, three expert discussion teachers all required students to complete some form of “ticket” (an assignment students do to prepare for a discussion) in order to participate in the discussion. The “ticket” is not designed to show that the students fully understand the decision or issues, but simply to illustrate that they had done sufficient work in advance to contribute to meaningful discourse.23 Evidence from students about what causes them to participate in discussion lends credence to the teachers’ insistence on pre-discussion preparation. More than 90 percent of students indicated that they would be more likely to speak in a discussion if they came into it with knowledge about the topic.24 Even with a highly interpretable question and careful preparation by students, much of the success of discussion depends on a classroom atmosphere that encourages students to participate verbally. When teachers are perceived by students as judgmental, they are much less likely to participate verbally in discussion. Their perceptions of how their peers view their contributions to discussion also affects participation rates; 78 percent of the students surveyed in one study indicated that encouragement from classmates would make them more likely to speak during discussions. If students believe their classmates talk too much, they are more likely to respond with silence. Not surprisingly, direct criticism by their peers was even more likely to cause them to withdraw from discussion.25 These findings suggest that it is especially important to teach students how to critique ideas without engaging in personal attacks, to encourage each other to participate without undue pressure, and to monitor their own participation levels so as not to dominate or remain silent. Finally, two central features in effective discussions are that the teacher has planned them carefully and that he or she facilitates or monitors them skillfully. Just as students need to prepare for discussions, teachers need to prepare themselves and their students for effective participation. When teaching novice teachers about discussions, I am often struck by how odd this seems to them. These new teachers believe that the best discussions are those that evolve spontaneously from the students. To the contrary, research shows that effective discussions are much more likely to occur when they are planned. Teachers who do this well think carefully about what will be discussed, which discussion model is best for the topic and purpose, what students will do to prepare to participate, and which skills students need in order to create quality discussions. Many teachers recognize that in doing this they are teaching both “with and for” discussion.26 That is, they are using discussion as a form of interaction to promote disciplinary learning and democratic competence. They are also

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teaching students how to become better discussants. Table 21.1 summarizes the characteristics of effective discussions. Becoming a More Skillful Discussion Teacher I know of no teachers who believe that discussions in their classes are perfect. Just the opposite, teachers ask what they can do to more effectively teach their students to participate in discussions. My recommendations follow.

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study discussion experiment with discussion in your courses reflect on these experiments solicit feedback from students and colleagues plan your curriculum around discussion

Teachers can study discussion by participating in professional development programs or courses and by reading some of the recent literature that focuses explicitly on teaching with and for discussion (see the references at the end of this article). In the discussion leadership courses that I teach, participants videotape discussions in their classes and analyze them with a teacher partner. Teachers are encouraged to ask their students for feedback as well, and to ask them to reflect upon their discussions and to take responsibility for improving their quality. Teaching students how to participate effectively in discussion is challenging, as is designing a social studies curriculum that provides ample opportunity for discussion. However, the benefits are substantial enough to point clearly to this conclusion: discussion in social studies is well worth the trouble. Notes 1. Martin Nystrand, Adam Gamoran, and William Carbonaro, Towards an Ecology of Learning: The Case of Classroom Discourse and Its Effects on Writing in High School English and Social Studies (Albany, N.Y.: Center on English Learning & Achievement, 1998). 2. Ibid., 3. 3. Stephen Brookfield and Stephen Preskill, Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms (San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1999), 6. 4. J. T. Dillon, Using Discussion in Classrooms (Philadelphia, Pa.: Open University Press, 1994), 8. 5. Walter C. Parker, Teaching Democracy: Unity and Diversity in Public Life (New York: Teacher’s College Press, 2003). 6. See, for example, Terence A. Beck, “ ‘If He Murdered Someone. He Shouldn’t Get a Lawyer’: Engaging Young Children in Civics Deliberation,” Theory and Research in Social Education 31, no. 3 (2003), 326–346; Lynn Brice, “Deliberative Discourse Enacted: Task, Text, and Talk,” Theory and Research in Social Education 30, no. 1 (2002), 66–87; Diana Hess, “Discussing Controversial Public Issues in Secondary Social Studies Classrooms: Learning from Skilled Teachers,” Theory and Research in Social Education 30, no. 1 (2002), 10–41; Katherine G. Simon, Moral Questions

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in the Classroom: How to Get Kids to Think Deeply About Real Life and Their Schoolwork (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2001). Simon, Moral Questions in the Classroom. Diana Hess and Julie Posselt, “How High School Students Experience and Learn from the Discussion of Controversial Public Issues,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 17, no. 4 (2002), 283–314. Martin Nystrand, Lawrence L. Wu, Adam Gamoran, Susie Zeiser, and Daniel A. Long, “Questions in Time: Investigating the Structure and Dynamics of Unfolding Classroom Discourse,” Discourse Processes 35, no. 2 (2003), 145. Thomas W. Roby, “Devil’s Advocacy: The Other Side of the Question in Classroom Discussions,” Teaching Philosophy 21, no. 1 (1998), 65. Diana Hess, “Discussing Controversial Public Issues”; and William W. Wilen, “Encouraging Reticent Students’ Participation in Classroom Discussions,” Social Education 68, no. 1 (2004), 51–56. Martin Nystrand, Lawrence L. Wu, Adam Gamoran, Susie Zeiser, and Daniel A. Long, Opening Dialogue: Understanding the Dynamics of Language and Learning in the English Classroom (New York: Teachers College Press, 1997), 72. Robert Alan Dahl, On Democracy (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2000), 97. Amy Gutmann, Democratic Education, Rev. ed. (Princeton. N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999), 44, 58. Parker, Teaching Democracy, especially chapter 5. Patricia Avery, “Teaching Tolerance: What the Research Tells Us,” Social Education 66, no. 5 (2002), 270–275. Judith Torney-Purta and the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, Citizenship and Education in Twenty-Eight Countries: Civic Knowledge and Engagement at Age Fourteen (Amsterdam: International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, 2001), 137. Molly M. Andolina, Krista Jenkins, Cliff Zukin, and Scott Keeter, “Habits from Home, Lessons from School: Influences on Youth Civic Engagement,” PS: Political Science and Politics 36, no. 2 (2003), 275–280. Hess and Posselt, “How High School Students Experience and Learn from the Discussion of Controversial Public Issues,” 300–301. Diana Hess, “Dilemmas of Democracy Education: The Strengths and Shortfalls of Controversial Public Issues Discussions” (paper presented at the American Education Research Association meeting, New Orleans, La., April 2002). Simon, Moral Questions in the Classroom, 99–143. Hess, “Discussing Controversial Public Issues.” Ibid. Hess and Posselt, “How High School Students Experience and Learn from the Discussion of Controversial Public Issues,” 300–301. Ibid. Walter C. Parker and Diana Hess, “Teaching with and for Discussion,” Teaching and Teacher Education 17 (2001), 273–289.

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What Constrains Meaningful Social Studies Teaching? CATHERINE CORNBLETH*

Very few adults, if any, especially teachers and other school personnel, oppose “good” or “meaningful” teaching. We would probably agree, however, that such teaching is less common than we would like. Why? What gets in the way? And what can we do about it? What follow are some of the conclusions I have reached on the basis of a careful reading, analysis, and interpretation of the relevant research literature.1 Because I narrowed my focus to conditions and circumstances that are outside the control of teachers and classrooms, I do not deal here with what teachers do or do not know, what teachers are or are not able to do, what role demands are made of them, or what the material conditions of teaching are, such as the books that are available and the number of students a teacher is expected to teach. That leaves out a lot that should be considered in particular cases and that might best be addressed locally by the people directly involved. But it also leaves us with many constraints that too often receive much less attention, perhaps because they originate outside of the classroom. Closing the classroom door, however, does not keep them out. Rather than present a rather long list of external constraints, I offer examples of patterns or climates of constraint to meaningful teaching. Borrowing from meteorology, I use the word climate to refer to prevailing conditions that affect the life and activity of a place. Sometimes the prevailing conditions are tangible, whether they are strong winds or the voices of well-organized interest groups. At other times they are less tangible—for example, a “climate of opinion.” Meaningful social studies teaching refers to teaching for learning and critical thinking that incorporates diverse perspectives and students. This means taking students beyond memorization to comprehension and coherence. It means connecting pieces or chunks of information both with each other (e.g., a diagram or web rather than a list) and with what one already knows (i.e., elaborating or extending mental schema). Critical thinking means raising * Catherine Cornbleth is Professor of Education at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

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and pursuing questions about the ideas one encounters.2 Diverse perspectives include different or changing interpretations as well as the voices of various participants in events, movements, and everyday life. This kind of teaching and learning thus enables students to come to understand, for example, how and why male and female (and/or older and younger) workers tend to have different views of equal employment and advancement opportunities, or of a “hostile work environment” and “sexual harassment.” The six climates of constraint that emerged from my review can be grouped into three pairs: stifling, chilling, and drought-stricken (see Table 22.1). After briefly describing each climate and how it limits or undermines teaching for meaningful learning and critical thinking that incorporates diverse perspectives and students, I encourage social studies teachers and others to consider how they can deal with rather than submit to these climates of constraint. Stifling Climates Stifling climates narrow or close off opportunities for meaningful learning and critical thinking. Whether they are the result of bureaucracy or rigid conservatism, they make it difficult to deal with a range of ideas in thoughtful ways. Teachers try to survive by doing as little as possible. Bureaucratic Climate A bureaucratic school climate with an administrative emphasis on law and order is characterized by an emphasis on following the school rules (e.g., attendance, dress, homework, grading) and keeping classrooms, bathrooms, and hallways neat, clean, and quiet (i.e., orderly). There is little or no flexibility in application of the rules or tolerance for either questioning or innovation. The underlying assumption seems to be that centralized order is prerequisite to teaching and learning, that learning will occur if teachers and students are orderly, or that learning to be orderly is sufficient. Table 22.1 Climates of Constraint Stifling Climates • Bureaucratic climate with an administrative emphasis on law and order • Conservative climate intent on maintaining the status quo Chilling Climates Threatening climate of external curriculum challenges and self-censorship Judicial climate in which teachers are followers of others’ decisions

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Drought-Stricken Climates Climate of perceived student pathologies and pedagogical pessimism Competitive climate dominated by student testing and public school ranking

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Because bureaucratic rules are not self-enforcing, and direct personal oversight tends to be relatively weak in large schools, it may be that administratively sanctioned technical forms of control play a substantial role in creating and maintaining law-and-order climates. Zeichner, Tabachnick, and Densmore3 have shown how technical controls, such as scheduling, team teaching, structured instructional materials, and external exams, can shape teachers’ beliefs and practices in ways that inhibit teaching for meaningful learning and critical thinking. When bureaucratic controls supporting law and order are enforced, they can substantially constrain meaningful teaching and learning, as vividly portrayed in Linda McNeil’s ethnographic study of social studies classrooms in four Midwest high schools.4 These seemingly typical schools, all in the same state, were selected to represent a range of relations among administrators, curricula, and teachers. At all four schools that McNeil studied, the social studies teachers saw themselves as professionals and subject matter experts. While required courses (e.g., U.S. history) were specified by the state, their content was not. The schools also had similar student populations and resources, and lacked “new” projects or initiatives. Even so, they differed considerably in administrative priorities and in the support given teachers for meaningful teaching and learning. Only one of the four schools was characterized by a good academic reputation and a collegial relationship among teachers and between faculty and administration. A second school featured strong department chairs who could moderate administrative controls and a social studies chair who played a key role in shaping his department’s positive reputation. The other two schools were marked by distance, if not estrangement, between controlling administrators and faculty who believed that good teaching was neither supported nor rewarded. What McNeil called “defensive teaching” was observed at all four schools. It was more common, however, at the two schools where administrators distanced themselves from curricular concerns and gave priority to controls on students and, less overtly, on teachers as well. According to McNeil, when administrators emphasize law and order, teachers teach defensively. They “choose to simplify content and reduce demands on students in return for classroom order and minimal student compliance on assignments.”5 Defensive teaching controls students by limiting classroom knowledge. It is characterized by (a) fragmentation, or reduction of information, such as New Deal programs, to lists; (b) mystification, or presentation of a complex or controversial topic, such as the Federal Reserve System or racism, as important but unknowable; (c) omission, for example, of contemporary events in U.S. history; and (d) defensive simplification, or the seeking of “students’ compliance on a lesson by promising that it will not be difficult and will not go into any depth,”6 that is, “the ritual of seeming to deal with the topic.”7

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The contradiction that McNeil’s study and analysis highlight is that efforts to improve schooling (or teaching and learning) by means of regulations, accountability measures, or other controls—what I would call a “law and order” climate—have the opposite effect of encouraging defensive teaching and undermining meaningful learning and critical thinking that incorporates diverse perspectives. A Conservative Climate In a conservative climate, the emphasis is less on rules, policies, and procedures and more on community, school, and/or teacher cultures intent on maintaining the status quo by transmitting the prevailing culture to newcomers. New teachers, for example, are socialized into “the way we do things here” and are offered acceptance and support in exchange for not “rocking the boat.”8 The promise of tenure (or the threat of its denial) serves as the carrot and stick that encourages new teachers to go along. It is possible that the norms being conserved support teaching for meaningful learning and critical thinking that incorporates diverse perspectives and students, but it is more likely, as Jules Henry reminds us,9 that the dominant community-school-teacher culture is traditional and oriented toward the acquisition of predetermined information and presumably discrete skills in structured settings that minimize controversy and reward “right answers.” Despite long-standing assumptions of teacher individualism and isolation associated with “closing the classroom door,”10 Zeichner and Gore11 find “little question that the influence of colleagues needs to be taken into account in attempts to understand teacher socialization.” Furthermore, parental pressures also serve to socialize teachers “into the traditions of a school community,”12 either directly or indirectly via the school or district administration or through the children.13 Individual administrators seem to be less influential than are colleagues or parents. Learning how to present oneself as a newcomer to a school, and understanding and accommodating the school culture, does not necessarily encompass learning how to teach. It does mean fitting in, or appearing to fit in, and avoiding the violation of major cultural norms or codes, sometimes simply by remaining silent. Although it is possible that a traditional or conservative climate will not extend to classroom practice, new teachers may assume that it does and then act accordingly. Chilling Climates Chill tends to limit movement and may lead to illness. It keeps some of us inside where it is warmer and more comfortable.14 Curriculum in general— and perhaps social studies more than other school subjects—is an area of continual contest as various groups attempt to promote their interests and preferred values, norms, and beliefs. Inclusion in (or exclusion from) the

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school curriculum gives official sanction and legitimacy to one’s views and position.15 For example, including women’s experience and perspectives in the main story conveyed by history textbooks, rather than in special features or not at all, communicates that women matter and are an integral part of “our” history. Excluding or marginalizing women’s experience and perspectives communicates the opposite message. A Threatening Climate In contrast to mandates that impose the teaching of certain topics and views (e.g., Americanism, national loyalty, the evils of communism, the free enterprise system), censorship aims to limit or prohibit the expression of certain ideas or to control their treatment in schools, often by banning the offensive topic, materials, and activities altogether. Censorship efforts used to involve requests by parents or groups of parents that their children not read a book or participate in a specific activity. More recent censorship efforts have involved requests and demands by individuals and groups that no students be allowed to read the book in question under the school’s auspices.16 A Climate of Judicial Restraint In addition to climates in which there are external curriculum challenges, there is a second kind of chilling climate, a judicial climate, in which teachers are ordered to follow others’ decisions, in the form of federal court decisions against the “freedom to teach and learn” on First Amendment grounds. Courts have ruled that teacher contracts make “freedom to teach” a labormanagement issue in most cases, usually meaning that public school teachers are obliged to follow board policies, as implemented by school and district administrators. Drought-Stricken Climates Drought-stricken climates can be either hot or cold. They are so dry, even parched, that the prospects for meaningful learning and critical thinking are slim under these conditions. Few seeds of knowledge sprout here. A Climate of Pathology and Pessimism A climate of pathology and pessimism is one in which students are perceived to have numerous problems, along with limited abilities, motivation, and/or future prospects. The students who are perceived to have pathologies in this kind of school climate are more often poor, limited-English proficient, and/or of color than they are middle class, native speakers of English, and white. Because of the “problems” that these students are perceived to bring with them to the school, teachers and other school personnel do not expect much of them and do not try to teach them much. Pedagogical pessimism tends to be self-fulfilling. Students are offered “basics” and drill, but they are not

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considered “ready” for more meaningful learning or critical thinking. Ironically, a more inclusive, challenging curriculum might well be more engaging and effective.17 Instead, students’ lack of involvement in and “progress” through dreary, routine activities is taken as evidence of their pathology and grounds for continued pessimism. This climate thus sustains itself.18 The evidence from classroom studies clearly shows that different teachers perceive the same student behavior differently—or perceive the same behavior differently depending on the student who exhibits it. In our study of classroom knowledge-in-use with twenty-two elementary and secondary, urban and suburban teachers,19 we found that some teachers who saw their students as lacking prerequisite knowledge, skill, or motivation tried to encourage and support these students and bring them “up to speed,” while others simplified things so that students could handle them without major difficulty. Although it is a truism in education that taking one’s students’ backgrounds into account is a good thing, it is not at all good to deny students opportunities for meaningful academic learning, and this may be especially true of those students who have fewer such opportunities outside of school.20 While dubbing this a climate of pathology may sound strong, the term emphasizes the danger of seeing student “problems” such as poverty, uncooperativeness, or communication difficulties as individual or in the person, rather than as the result of the structural conditions that students have to face. A Competitive Climate In a competitive climate, the school atmosphere is dominated by student testing and public school ranking based on standardized, usually statewide, test results. Test scores are given priority, and other goals are secondary at best. Such a competitive climate can be seen as parallel to a law and order climate insofar as a single goal—higher test scores—predominates and is imposed by administrators on teachers who, in turn, focus their efforts on gaining students’ acquiescence.21 Students, teachers, administrators, schools, and districts may come to be judged as more or less meritorious or desirable depending on their ranking in local, state, or national comparisons. New York, for example, is among the states making such school and district data publicly available (e.g., at www.nysed.gov). In western New York, a business newspaper publishes its own annual rankings of school districts based in large part on test scores, which are reputed to affect real estate values in the suburbs. The stakes become economic as well as allowing status and bragging rights. The pressure on teachers to raise students’ scores has become intense in some schools and districts as demonstrated by newspaper reports including instances of various forms of teacher cheating.22 The use of tests to shape classroom instruction has a significant history, dating back to at least the 1960s (and to the late nineteenth century in New

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York State) when state boards and legislatures began to mandate exams and link students’ scores to rewards and/or sanctions. For example, about two decades ago, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a highly regarded superintendent and a university faculty member well known in measurement circles worked together toward what they called “assessment-driven instructional improvement.” A “critical thinking” project was launched in social studies with a focus on writing essays according to explicit criteria or standards that were taken as evidence of critical thought. Not surprisingly, classroom observation revealed little discussion or critical thinking in teacher–student interaction. Rather, there was an emphasis on writing “critical thinking essays” similar to those that constituted the tests.23 Overall, this competitive climate of student testing and public school ranking seems to influence what is taught more than how it is taught (although the distinction is not always clear) and to be stronger (a) in secondary than in elementary schools; (b) in high- than in low-stakes arenas; (c) in subject areas and grades directly tested; (d) in higher status or reputation schools and districts (because of the pressure to maintain or increase one’s rank); and (e) among teachers with less established positions in a school.24 Even when faced with exams that purport to assess more than the acquisition of information, traditional instructional approaches, such as textbook-based recitation and “note-giving,” seem to predominate. Coping Strategies and Concluding Comment Once social studies teachers recognize that they are operating in a climate of constraint, what can they do besides just giving in and going along? The following suggestions are intended to prompt readers in a particular situation to consider what is practical in their situation or context. Conservative and pathological climates, because they are less tangible than are the others, lend themselves to informal or casual coping strategies such as “strategic compliance.”25 Strategic compliance refers to giving the appearance of going along with the dominant school culture while not giving in to it. It involves remaining silent publicly, while sharing with allies privately. The existence of more than one teacher culture in a school, or more than one parent culture in a community, can be seen not only as a source of conflict to be negotiated but also as a situation that provides options for the teacher. A progressive social studies teacher can survive in such climates. A strong, committed, politically savvy individual can engage in what Lacey calls “strategic redefinition.” This involves efforts to redefine means to agreedupon educational goals (and sometimes the modification of goal definitions as well). An example might be agreeing that students seem to bring numerous problems to school, making teaching and learning difficult, while arguing (gently and persistently) and demonstrating that what these students need is more rather than less education. Levin calls this enriched approach “accelerated schooling.”26 Another example, in a conservative climate, might involve

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showing how the incorporation of diverse perspectives illustrates and strengthens “western” traditions of open inquiry and the “free marketplace of ideas.” Whereas strategies for dealing with conservative and pathological climates can be pursued by individual teachers, coping individually with law-and-order climates and with chilling and competitive ones is more difficult. In such circumstances, a teacher acting alone could be charged with violating the school district rules or jeopardizing students’ futures. In contrast, a collegial group effort, even if it involves only a handful of teachers, is more likely to be successful. Collective strategic redefinition is possible if it is negotiated diplomatically with administrators, teachers, and relevant others. For example, research about the “contradictions of control” might be shared in a discussion group seeking to improve “our school.” Similarly, research evidence about improving test scores through teaching for meaningful learning might be shared. Perhaps a pilot project could be undertaken in which two or three progressive social studies teachers teach in more meaningful ways and the outcomes, including but not limited to test scores, are documented and evaluated. With respect to chilling climates, districts should have formal policies in place to deal fairly with any parental or outsider objection to what is being taught in social studies classes, how, or with what materials. In that way, teachers and administrators know how to respond to censorship challenges, and the due process rights of all sides can be respected. Teachers should get a copy of school or district policy so they know how to proceed if challenged. If there is no formal policy, preferably one with a written complaint form (to discourage frivolous objections and verbal harangues), teachers could work together with others to draft such documents (based on ones already in use elsewhere) and obtain their adoption, perhaps with the support and assistance of teacher, parent-teacher, or professional associations. NCSS has produced several publications that may be helpful in dissipating the chill. Notes 1. Catherine Cornbleth, “Climates of Constraint/Restraint of Teachers and Teaching,” in Research in Social Education, ed. W.B. Stanley (Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing, 2001), 73–95. 2. Catherine Cornbleth, “Reforming Curriculum Reform,” in Curriculum for Tomorrow’s Schools, ed. L. Weis, Catherine Cornbleth, K.M. Zeichner, and M.W. Apple (Buffalo, NY: University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education Publications, Special Studies in Teaching and Teacher Education, no. 3, 1990), 1–31. 3. K.M. Zeichner, B.R. Tabachnick, and K. Densmore, “Individual, Institutional, and Cultural Influences on the Development of Teachers’ Craft Kowledge,” in Exploring Teachers’ Thinking, ed. J. Calderhead (London, England: Cassell, 1987), 21–59. 4. Linda M. McNeil, Contradictions of Control: School Structure and School Knowledge (New York, and London, England: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986). 5. Ibid., p. 174. 6. Ibid., p. 174. 7. Ibid., p. 175.

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8. For example, C. Lacey, The Socialization of Teachers (London, England: Methuen, 1977); and C. Lacey, “Professional Socialization of Teachers,” in The International Encyclopedia of Education, ed. T. Husen and T.N. Postlethwaite (Oxford, England: Pergamon, 1985), 4073–4084. 9. Jules Henry, Culture Against Man (New York: Random House, 1963). 10. For example, D.C. Lortie, Schoolteacher (Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 1975). 11. K.M. Zeichner and J. M. Gore, “Teacher Socialization,” in Handbook of Research on Teacher Education, ed. W.R. Houston (New York: Macmillan, 1990), 339. 12. Ibid., 340; see also M.H. Metz, “How Social Class Differences Shape Teachers’ Work,” in The Contexts of Teaching in Secondary Schools: Teachers’ Realities, ed. M.W. McLaughlin, J.E. Talbert, and N. Bascia (New York: Teachers College Press, 1990), 40–107. 13. Compare C.E. Bidwell, K.A. Frank, and P.A. Quiroz, “Teacher Types, Workplace Controls, and the Organization of Schools,” Sociology of Education 70, no. 4 (1997): 285–308. 14. On chilling climates, see the October 1987 issue of Social Education and the NCSS policy statements on “Academic Freedom: The Freedom to Teach and the Freedom to Learn”; “Academic Freedom and Social Studies Teachers”; and “Academic Freedom: A Policy Statement.” 15. See Catherine Cornbleth and D. Waugh, The Great Speckled Bird: Multicultural Politics and Education Policymaking (New York: St. Martins, 1995; and Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 1999). 16. A threatening climate of curriculum challenges and self-censorship is elaborated in Cornbleth, “Climates of Constraint/Restraint of Teachers and Teaching.” 17. Robert B. Stevenson, “Engagement and Cognitive Challenge in Thoughtful Social Studies Classes: A Study of Student Perspectives,” Journal of Curriculum Studies 22, no. 4 (1990): 329–341. 18. I use quotation marks to set off “problems,” “basics,” “ready,” and “progress” to encourage questioning of their conventional meanings and usage. 19. Catherine Cornbleth, “Capturing Contexts of Curriculum Knowledge-in-Use,” in Understanding Teacher Knowledge-in-Use, ed. Catherine Cornbleth, J. Ellsworth, R. Forni, S.E. Noffke, and L. Pfalzer (Buffalo, NY: University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education Publications, Special Studies in Teaching and Teacher Education, no. 6, 1991), 1–23. 20. The more extreme case is illustrated, for example, by W. Ryan in Blaming the Victim (NY: Random House, 1976). Jonathan Kozol’s popular books also illustrate this phenomenon, for example, in his Death at an Early Age (NY: New American Library Trade, 1990). 21. L.M. McNeil, Contradictions of School Reform: Educational Costs of Standardized Testing (New York: Routledge, 2000). 22. For example, D. Campagna and C. Vogel, “Teachers under Pressure,” The Buffalo News (August 29, 1999), A1, 10. 23. See, for example, Cornbleth, “Reforming Curriculum Reform.” 24. See, for example, S. Cimbricz, “State-Mandated Testing and Teachers’ Beliefs and Practice: A Review of Research,” Educational Policy Analysis Archives, 10(2). (http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/vlonz.html). 25. Lacey, The Socialization of Teachers; Lacey, “Professional Socialization of Teachers.” 26. H.M. Levin, “Accelerating the Progress of All Students,” Rockefeller Institute Special Report No. 31 (Albany: Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, State University of New York, 1991).

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What is the Connection between Curriculum and Instruction? AVNER SEGALL*

One rarely engages in a conversation about education without the terms “content” and “pedagogy” finding their way into it. Indeed, the two are inherent to almost everything we do in education. While we know what content and pedagogy mean, questions remain regarding their properties as well as the relationship between them: Are content and pedagogy separate and separable entities or are they always already implicated in each other? Where does one begin and the other end? Who is responsible for each? And what might answers to these questions mean for how we think about education and engage students in classrooms? We know that pedagogy is what teachers do to engage students with subject matter. But are classroom teachers the only ones engaged in pedagogy? Consider, for example, the following: Todd and Curti’s The American Nation, a commonly used social studies textbook, provides this boxed-in paragraph titled “Multicultural Perspectives” on the left margin of its chapter, “American Expansionism.” Native American women who worked in the fur trade often married non-Indian fur traders and played important roles in their societies as a result. For example, Huntkah-itawin, a Sioux woman, married trader James Bordeaux. She helped Bordeaux cement his trading ties with the Sioux, and her access to trade goods helped her brother rise to the position of chief.1 Or another box in the same chapter, this time from a section about the California Gold Rush: For African Americans the lure of the gold rush and the opportunity for jobs overshadowed the prejudice against them. One African American * Avner Segall is Associate Professor of Teacher Education at Michigan State University.

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working in the mines in California wrote home to his wife in Missouri: “This is the best place for black folks on the globe. All a man has to do is to work, and he will make money.”2 Both excerpts provide students with information about their particular topics. But is this all they do? Or are there also inherent, in the information provided (and that withheld), in its language, images, format, and location, various pedagogical invitations that require—indeed position—students to know some things and know them in specific ways? As they inform students about a Native American woman or an African American miner, these excerpts also, both explicitly and implicitly, convey knowledge about broader societal issues—e.g., race, gender, and class—as well as prompt students to assume particular cultural, social, economic, and gendered positions with which to engage the information. How, for example, if not through the lens of capitalism is one invited to view the world when it is reported not only that earnings by a member of an oppressed minority are associated with freedom but that enduring manual labor in an economy driven by profit can overcome, if not eradicate, discrimination? And how are students positioned to engage gender when, in the first excerpt, the contributions of Native American women, intended to be celebrated in this excerpt, are not significant in and of themselves but are significant only through marriage, in this case to a white man, and where that “contribution,” as wives and sisters, is only counted when it contributes to the success of men? What these two texts do, then, is provide students with more than subject area content; they teach students not only something but also ways through which to consider that something. In other words, these texts act pedagogically by offering students specific locations from which to know and be in the world as they engage information about it. What might it mean to think about texts as having pedagogical aspects? And how might it trouble existing divisions between content and pedagogy whereby teachers do pedagogy and subject area specialists, like the author of the abovementioned textbook, provide mere content? While this division pervades most current educational thought, I suggest that texts brought into the classroom are not finished works of content by scholars, now awaiting pedagogical transformation by teachers. Rather, such texts are, in and of themselves, pedagogical invitations for learning. Working with or against those invitations, teachers’ pedagogies do not initiate the pedagogical act but add further pedagogical layers to those already present in such texts. Pedagogical Content Knowledge The idea that content and pedagogy must come together for a meaningful education is not new in education. Almost two decades ago, Lee Shulman, while criticizing accreditation and certification procedures for teachers, ones

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that required them to know either content or pedagogy (but not both), called for the integration of content and pedagogy through what he termed “pedagogical content knowledge.” The term, by now ubiquitous in most educational contexts, is the one to which educators refer most often when thinking about how content and pedagogy come together to educate. Pedagogical content knowledge stands at the intersection of content and pedagogy, in the transformation of content into forms that are pedagogically powerful.3 Teachers with good pedagogical content knowledge not only know more about their subject matter and are familiar with effective teaching techniques, they also have a deep understanding of how knowledge in their discipline is constructed and how to present that process to students.4 This allows teachers to select the most useful forms of representation of [the subject area’s] ideas, the most powerful analogies, illustrations, examples, explanations, and demonstrations in a word, the ways of representing and formulating the subject that make it comprehensible to others.5 The concept of pedagogical content knowledge and its engagement in the research literature over the years have, no doubt, contributed significantly to our understanding of the relationship between what teachers know, how they come to know it, and how they go about teaching it. Much of that knowledge was generated by those taking part in the “Knowledge Growth in Teaching Project” at Stanford University in the mid-1980s and thereafter.6 As Barton and Levstik point out, however, the premise that teachers should be exposed to the work of scholars in their discipline and to the best pedagogical approaches to make that knowledge instructional for students—a notion university courses in disciplinary knowledge and education as well as professional development programs have long advocated—does not always result in much of either filtering into classrooms.7 Reasons for this are multifaceted and complex. Some researchers point to issues of teachers’ assumptions, expectations, and purpose; others have noted curricular, structural, and institutional impediments.8 The intent of this article is to highlight another aspect of this failure, one that pertains to existing understandings regarding the relationship between content and pedagogy, much of them exemplified in how the two are made to come together within the prevailing notion of pedagogical content knowledge. For while pedagogical content knowledge has focused on the importance of teachers knowing their subject area and making it instructional (pedagogical), it has not addressed the need for teachers to examine the inherently instructional aspects of content and what that examination might entail for their practice as classroom teachers. In addressing the latter, my intent is not to criticize or dismiss what has thus far been accomplished in the name of pedagogical content knowledge. Rather, it is to open new possibilities regarding how we think about content and pedagogy, ones that better address what actually counts in the educative process.

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Rethinking Pedagogy How pedagogy is defined, how, when, and by whom it is enacted, determines not only how pedagogy itself is to be understood but also how knowledge (content) is understood in relation to it. Underlying the notion of pedagogical content knowledge are several assumptions regarding the substance, place, and role of pedagogy and its relation to content. First, pedagogy is separable from content; content is the domain of scholars, pedagogy the domain of teachers. Second, pedagogy equates with school learning—restricted to the work of classroom teachers. Consequently, it seems that the blending of content and pedagogy that pedagogical content knowledge speaks of is more the carrying out of one on the other, whereby scholars in the discipline provide content while teachers provide pedagogy. Prior to entering the classroom, it is assumed, content floats free of, and pre-exists, any pedagogical dimensions (I will return to this issue in the next section). To be sure, no one can deny that, as teachers, we engage in pedagogy, and that our work is inherently pedagogical. Nor would anyone question that good teachers need to know their disciplines and identify the best examples and explanations that allow students to engage disciplinary content in meaningful ways. This, however, does not preclude the possibility of exploring pedagogy in broader terms, ones that extend the boundaries of teachers’ work in classrooms. Scholars in the area of critical pedagogy and cultural studies have for some time now considered pedagogy along these broader lines. For example, according to Roger Simon, pedagogy entails any process that encourages us to know and order the world as we both give and find meaning in it. Regardless of whether it takes place in or out of schools, the practice of pedagogy, according to Simon, is an attempt to influence experience.9 As Giroux and Simon explain, pedagogy is more than “the integration of curriculum content, classroom strategies and techniques, a time and space for the practice of those strategies and techniques, and evaluation purposes and methods.” Rather, pedagogy— whether that enacted by a teacher, a textbook writer, or a filmmaker—“organizes a view of, and specifies particular versions of what knowledge is of most worth, in what direction we should desire, what it means to know something, and how we might construct representations of ourselves, others, and the world.”10 As a mode of organizing and regulating knowledge and knowing, Simon adds, “pedagogy attempts to influence the way meanings are absorbed, recognized, understood, accepted, confirmed, and connected as well as challenged, distorted, taken further, or dismissed.”11 Broadly conceived, then, pedagogy is inherent in any message, action structure, or text, inside or outside of schools. Pedagogy organizes someone’s experience as well as organizes that someone to experience. As such, pedagogy cannot be considered simply a method, an afterthought

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applied to content. Rather, pedagogy and content become one. Conceiving of them as such opens the possibility for examining not only how people and issues are represented in subject-area texts but also how audiences are constructed as they are invited, pedagogically, to interact with those texts. Rethinking Content According to Grossman, Wilson and Shulman, “some of what teachers need to know about their subjects overlaps with the knowledge of scholars of the discipline.” They add, “teachers also need to understand their subject matter in ways that promote learning. . . . Scholars create new knowledge in the discipline. Teachers help students acquire knowledge within a subject area.”12 McEwan and Bull challenge that separation of content from pedagogy, whereby “teachers need to be concerned about whether their representations of subject matter are teachable to others; scholars, by implication, do not.”13 All subject area content, McEwan and Bull claim, is pedagogical. “[T]here is no such thing as pure scholarship, devoid of pedagogy. The scholar is no scholar who does not engage an audience for the purpose of edifying its members.” Any scholarship, they propose, is inherently pedagogical since “explanations are not only of something; they are also always for someone.”14 As such, scholars need to be concerned with the teachability of their ideas. In other words, “the justification of scholarly knowledge is inherently a pedagogical task.” Scholarship, McEwan and Bull conclude, “is no less pedagogic in its aims than teaching.”15 Indeed, scholars are first and foremost storytellers. They reconstruct, represent, package, and shape the world in ways that tell students, pedagogically, what knowledge is of most worth and, consequently, what and how to inquire. Because an author might be able to hide a text’s underlying ideology and make it appear natural (often neutral), we must explore a text not only for what it says, even for how it says it, but also for what that “saying” does—that is, for how it invites readers to know, think, and imagine. To consider curriculum texts as mere content, devoid of pedagogy, is to view texts as neutral conveyors of meaning. Yet as we have seen from the two examples opening this paper, content area texts encourage students to feel, value, and know in certain ways. Without claiming that texts have one singular authorized meaning or that authors ultimately control meaning-making through their authorial invitations, what a text utters and how it utters, as Hall claims, “limits, and influences the links that can be made between it and its readers.”16 Any authorial decision “to show this rather than that, to show this in relation to that, to say this about that is a choice about representation. And each choice has consequences both for what meanings are produced and for how meaning is produced.”17 Texts provide students with particular spaces—physical and social—with (and from) which to make meaning in and of the world.18 As such, a text seeks to

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engage readers not only in the activity of knowledge construction, but in the construction of knowledge from particular social, political, and cultural locations. Consequently, what a teacher says and does or what or how a text utters are all invitations to, and structures for, inquiry. As pedagogical devices, texts, as do teachers, regulate the relationship between the possible, the potential, and the actual in the educative process. Even though there is a difference of kind and degree between a teacher’s pedagogy and a text’s pedagogy—most obviously, a teacher stands within the classroom, the author of the text does not—both are nonetheless pedagogical. Drawing attention not only to what a text says but to how it is organized to make its particular claims to knowledge and how the latter influences readers’ production of meaning is a significant pedagogical move we, as teachers, need to take. For it shifts the focus of learning from explaining or interpreting texts in order to determine what they really mean, to questioning how texts come to be what they are and do what they do. Implications The process of examining texts requires moving from questions such as “What does a text mean?” or even “How does it come to have a meaning?” to the question “What meanings does a text make possible (and impossible) through the invitations for learning that it offers students?” One place to begin is by examining the introductory chapter of a history textbook and how it invites students to consider what history is and how to learn it. Does it portray history as a coherent, true story depicting the past as it really was, an agreed-upon story students ought to accept, believe, and memorize? Or does it invite students to consider history as an investigation, which uses multiple sources to construct the past and make meaning of it? Does it suggest that the stories appearing in textbooks are not there necessarily because they are the “best” histories but, rather, because they reflect the values of those who have the power to put them there? Each of these approaches, and the degree to which the textbook follows suit with them, prepares students to consider history and make meaning from it in very different ways.19 Understanding how textbooks prepare students helps teachers determine whether and how they should work either with or against what the textbook offers as they plan their own pedagogies in classrooms. As a teacher delves further into history textbooks, other pedagogical issues arise. One of those is the invitation to learning made by chapter titles. While we might not pay much attention to titles, they play an important (often implicit) role in directing students’ engagement with the material to follow. Take, for example, the title of a chapter depicting the encounter between European Americans and Native Americans as the former moved west. How might one commonly used title, “Opening the West,” encourage students to consider that encounter? To what degree does its wording—especially the combination of

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“opening” and an assumed closure (after all, there’s no need to open something that is not closed to you)—presuppose an initial deliberate refusal by Native Americans to accommodate settlement of European Americans in the West? How might it invite students to expect, if not accept, the use of force in the process of that “opening” and of occupying lands once inhabited by others? And how might implying that Native Americans actively closed the West to European Americans, depriving them entry at the outset, then legitimate the closing of Native Americans in reservations as a result of that “opening?” How, on the other hand, might another common title for such a chapter, “Westward Expansion”—with “expansion” implying an infringement on someone else’s space—invite students to consider that encounter differently, as it ascribes different motives and values to the two groups involved? My point here is not to evaluate the correctness of each of these titles, but rather to illustrate that titles matter. They actively position students to engage the content of the chapter in a particular way, even before students have actually started to read it. The same is the case with descriptions of individuals, groups, ideas, and issues. The kind of adjectives attributed to them, the perspective from which they are portrayed, where they are portrayed (following all other perspectives that have been presented?) and how (in neutral, negative, or positive terms?) all send powerful messages that encourage students to explore the world and its people in particular ways. Pedagogical issues in subject area texts, however, go further as they help determine students’ understandings of agency and their own role as citizens in a democracy. Comparing the portrayal of the civil rights movement in the U.S. in two textbooks, Terrie Epstein explains that where a textbook locates the impetus for change as it describes the period determines the sense of empowerment students, as citizens, feel as a result of their learning.20 When students encountered the textbook depicting the movement as the result of the actions of prominent individual leaders, Epstein points out, the students, even African American students, felt disconnected from those events, as if they happened to their community rather than by it. On the other hand, the textbook depicting the topic as the result of individual lay persons acting in communities as part of those communities to effect change had a very different pedagogical impact. Students increasingly saw the potential of their own actions, as citizens, to make a difference. In other words, the textbook positioned students to see themselves as agents in history rather than simply as spectators of it. Similarly, who gets to speak about, for, with, or to whom has important pedagogical implications as to what and how students come to know. Textbooks often tend to speak about those described. This is why teachers often supplement textbooks with literature that allows subjects to speak for themselves, encouraging students to get closer to the beliefs, thoughts, and actions of those being depicted. Considerations, then, ought to be applied when presenting students with, for example, a newspaper article on a labor dispute. From

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which side of the picket line is the reporter doing his or her reporting? (Is the issue portrayed from the perspective of those picketing or from the perspective of those being picketed against?) Teachers ought to examine whether the reporter is speaking about, at, with, or for those being portrayed. Each of these prepositions determines and reflects not only how perspectives are represented but also the degree to which, and how, those will be appropriated by students. While it is important to consider what a text says and how it says it, it is as important to consider what it chooses not to say. This is not only in order to incorporate other texts that do state what a particular text ignores. It is also to examine what such absences and silences imply and how these position students to know (and to not know). This means examining not only whose perspectives are missing but also why they might be missing and how that very fact conditions readers to learn in particular ways. As John Willinsky points out, when a social studies textbook ends its exploration of China in the sixteenth century (to be resumed only in light of Mao’s take-over), it not only ignores several centuries of Chinese history, it discourages students from critically engaging the West’s colonial project in China during that period. More, such an avoidance often presents itself simply as an oversight, merely missing information (after all, we can’t be expected to teach everything about everyone) rather than a feature of how the West went about dividing the world.21 Similar questions should be explored in light of the absence of, for example, a labor curriculum while industry is well represented in the curriculum, or of a peace curriculum when textbooks are filled with detailed accounts of wars. End-of-chapter questions and activities may also condition students to learn in particular ways. What teachers ought to consider is not only what those questions and activities ask but also what such asking does, and what kind of understandings it promotes and discourages. We tend to think of end-ofchapter activities as ones that invite students to review, think, use, and apply knowledge. That, however, is not always the case. In fact, those activities often prevent students from thinking in the guise of having them do so. Take, for example, The American Journey, a popular history textbook.22 Its “skills builder” activity, concluding the World War II chapter section, “War in the Pacific,” engages students with the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While this was an immensely important moment in human history, and while it involved significant ethical and military issues on the part of Harry Truman, this activity, the only one in the review section to address the issue, chooses only to ask students to order six pre-given statements about the event in order to construct a paragraph.23 While organizing a series of statements, even ones that describe the destruction caused by that bombing, into a paragraph may be considered important by some, one ought to question how this particular activity (rather than, say, having students write their own essay) in fact prevents them from dealing with the myriad of issues involved in dropping the world’s first atomic bombs on civilian populations.

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Such an activity, like many others presented in the concluding sections of textbook chapters, invites students to avoid knowing by not asking them to implicate themselves in knowledge. We tend to think of teachers as those initiating the pedagogical act, but what teachers “pedagogize” is already pre-inscribed in the content teachers use, for teachers to tell it in ways that engender some kinds of knowledge and knowing rather than others. Texts brought into the classroom are not finished works of content awaiting pedagogical transformation, they are, in themselves, pedagogical invitations for learning. Working with or against those invitations, teachers’ pedagogies add further layers to those already present in the text. The relationship between content and pedagogy is more complex than is often thought, and knowing this helps open new possibilities for educators. Whether we recognize it or not, the pedagogies we design as teachers are not isolated from the pedagogical invitations for learning embedded in the materials we bring into our classrooms. Notes 1. Paul Boyer, Todd and Curti’s The American Nation (Austin, Tex.: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1995), 318. 2. Ibid., 326. 3. Lee S. Shulman, “Knowledge and Teaching: Foundations of the New Reform,” Harvard Educational Review 57, no. 1 (1987): 15. 4. Keith C. Barton and Linda S. Levstik, “Why Don’t More History Teachers Engage Students in Interpretation?” Social Education 67, no. 6 (2003): 358. 5. Shulman, “Those Who Understand: Knowledge Growth in Teaching,” Educational Researcher 15, no. 2 (1986): 9. 6. In the area of social studies, see, for example: Sigurn Gudmundsdottir and Lee Shulman, “Pedagogical Content Knowledge in Social studies,” Scandinavan Journal of Education 31 (1987): 59–70; Suzanne M. Wilson and Sam S. Wineburg. “Peering at History from Different Lenses: The Role of Disciplinary Perspectives in the Teaching of American History,” Teachers College Record 89, no. 4 (1988): 525–539; Sam S. Wineburg and Suzanne M. Wilson, “Models of Wisdom in the Teaching of History,” Phi Delta Kappan 70, no. 1 (1988): 50–58. 7. Barton and Levstik, “Why Don’t More History Teachers . . .” 8. See, for example: Barton and Levstik, Ibid.; Wilson and Wineburg, “Models of Wisdom”; Bruce VanSledright, “Closing the Gap Between School and Disciplinary History? Historian as High School History Teacher,” in Advances in Research on Teaching 6, Teaching and Learning History, ed. Jere Brophy (Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, 1996), 257–289; Cynthia Hartzler-Miller, “Making Sense of ‘Best Practices’ in Teaching History,” Theory and Research in Social Education 29 (Fall 2001): 672–695; Stephanie D. van Hover and Elizabeth A. Yeager, “Challenges Facing Beginning History Teachers: An Exploratory Study,” International Journal of Social Education 19, no. 1 (2004): 8–26; Avner Segall, Disturbing Practice: Reading Teacher Education as Text (New York: Peter Lang, 2002). 9. Roger I. Simon, Teaching Against the Grain: Texts for a Pedagogy of Possibility (New York: Bergin and Garvey, 1992), 56. 10. Henry A. Giroux and Roger I. Simon, “Schooling. Popular Culture, and a Pedagogy of Possibility,” Journal of Education 170, no. 1 (1988), 12.

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11. Simon, Teaching Against the Grain, 59. 12. Pam I. Grossman, Suzanne M. Wilson and Lee S. Shulman, “Teachers of Substance: Subject Matter Knowledge for Teaching,” in Knowledge Base for the Beginning Teacher, ed. M. C. Reynolds (Oxford. UK: Pergamon Press, 1989), 24. 13. Hunter McEwan and Barry Bull, “The Pedagogic Nature of Subject Matter Knowledge,” American Educational Research Journal 28, no. 2 (1991), 319. 14. Ibid., 331–332. 15. Ibid., 331. 16. Stuart Hall, “On Postmodernism and Articulation: An Interview with Stuart Hall,” ed. L. Grossberg, Journal of Communication Inquiry 10, no. 2 (1986): 45–60. 17. Hall, “Introduction,” in Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, ed. Stuart Hall (London: Sage, 1997), 8; cf. Walter Werner, “Reading Authorship into Texts,” Theory and Research in Social Education 28, no. 2 (2000): 196. 18. Len Masterman, Reading the Media (London: Comedia, 1985); Elizabeth Ellsworth, “Educational Films Against Critical Pedagogy,” in The Ideology of Images in Educational Media: Hidden Curriculums in the Classroom, eds. Elizabeth Ellsworth and Marianne H. Whatley (New York: Teachers College Press, 1990). 19. For an elaboration on these three approaches, see, e.g., Peter Seixas, “Schweigen! Die Kinderl Or, Does Postmodern History Have a Place in the Schools?” in Knowing, Teaching, and Learning History, ed. P.N. Stearns, P. Seixas, and S. Wineburg (New York University Press, 2000). 20. Terrie L. Epstein, “Tales from Two Textbooks—A Comparison of the Civil Rights Movement in Two Secondary History Textbooks,” The Social Studies 85, no 3 (1994). 21. John Willinsky, Learning to Divide the World: Education at Empire’s End (Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press, 1998). 22. Joyce Appleby, Alan Brinkley, and James M. McPherson, The American Journey (New York: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 1998). 23. The six statements are: “1) Three days later an American plane dropped another bomb on Nagasaki; 2) The bomb killed between 70,000 and 100,000 people; 3) This second bomb killed nearly 40,000 people instantly and many more later; 4) On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan; 5) About 100,000 others died later from the effects of radiation; 6) When the bomb exploded, a sheer of flame spread over the city.” The American Journey, (New York: Routledge, 1994), 765.

24

Can Tolerance be Taught?

PATRICIA G. AVERY*

They first came for the Communists and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.1 Attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoeller, a German opponent of Nazism When U.S. citizens are asked what America means to them, they are most likely to talk about freedoms, liberties, and individual rights. In one study, in answer to the question what it means to be American, the typical response was, “Being an American is to be free, to speak up for yourself, to fight for your freedom.”2 Regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity, U.S. citizens tend to associate their country with individual freedoms and rights, particularly freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to assemble, and the right to a trial by a jury of peers. Yet in the aftermath of the tragedy of September 11, 2001, polls indicate that many U.S. citizens are willing to accept restrictions on their freedoms in exchange for greater security. One month after the terrorist attack, 42 percent of those polled did not feel it was “okay” to criticize President George W. Bush on domestic or economic issues.3 Clearly, no rights are absolute. In 1919, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing panic.”4 But the abnegation of civil liberties in a democracy is a very serious proposition and deserves no less than our full attention. The internment of Japanese Americans in the 1940s and the McCarthy hearings in the 1950s are just two of the periods in recent history * Patricia G. Avery is Professor of Education at the University of Minnesota and Editor, Theory and Research in Social Education.

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during which limitations were placed on civil liberties. Today, many U.S. citizens view these events with regret, and believe that the government exceeded its authority. Political tolerance is the willingness to extend civil liberties to those whose views you find objectionable.5 You do not demonstrate “tolerance” toward groups whose ideas you support or about which you don’t care. For example, if you are sympathetic to the views of a pro-life group, or are neutral toward their stance, then you should not describe yourself as “tolerant” toward the group. It is when you find a group’s views quite objectionable that you can truly demonstrate tolerance toward the group. Each of us has groups whose views ignite our passionate opposition: some examples at different ends of the political spectrum are the Aryan Nation, the National Rifle Association (NRA), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Pro-life and prochoice groups are among those that frequently impinge upon core beliefs. It is not easy to grant groups forums for expressing their views when these ideas are in direct opposition to your own. For more than fifty years, political scientists and psychologists have examined levels of political tolerance among adults and adolescents.6 In general, the role of demographic characteristics such as age, gender, and socioeconomic status in predicting levels of tolerance is minimal at best. Psychological characteristics, such as level of dogmatism, authoritarianism, and self-esteem are much better predictors of tolerance. Individuals who demonstrate high levels of dogmatism and authoritarianism and low levels of self-esteem are likely to be more intolerant than are their counterparts. College education is one of the most powerful predictors of tolerance.7 College experiences seem to decrease authoritarianism and dogmatism, and increase self-esteem, thereby increasing levels of tolerance. It is thought that the college environment exposes students to diverse points of view, either through course readings or interaction with people who hold views in opposition to their own. Even in colleges with a relatively homogeneous student population, young adults learn that it is sometimes helpful to consider alternative perspectives (if only to reflect deeper on one’s own position), and that opposing viewpoints need not be threatening. Secondary school experiences are far less likely to have an impact on students’ level of political tolerance than are college experiences. In their interviews with four hundred high school students from four communities throughout the country, Conover and Searing found that fewer than 20 percent of the students viewed tolerance as a citizen’s duty. One-quarter of the students saw no relationship between tolerance and U.S. citizenship.8 What accounts for the positive impact of college experiences on students’ level of tolerance, and the substantially diminished impact of secondary school experiences? Of course, college students are older and generally more mature. Simply by virtue

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of their being in college, they also probably represent a more sophisticated and capable group and are more likely than are their secondary school counterparts to be cognitively capable of understanding complex democratic principles, and of seeing the connection between abstract principles and concrete situations. This accounts for some of the difference in the effects of secondary and college experiences on students’ level of political tolerance. But, as we shall see, there is more to the story. Curriculum and classroom climate at the secondary level also play an important role in shaping students’ level of political tolerance. Researchers note that, in general, secondary and college classrooms are very different environments. While the college classroom is expected to be a forum for diverse viewpoints, the secondary classroom is too vulnerable to public pressure to render a serious examination of the role of dissent and dissenters in a democracy. Political scientist Paul Vogt notes that “[precollegiate] educators are unlikely to enhance their careers by courting controversy and discussing the rights of unpopular minorities, to say nothing of advocating those rights.”9 In addition, the pressure for content coverage, the focus on the “basics,” and the use of standardized tests all mitigate against secondary teachers examining divergent viewpoints and their role in a democracy. Traditional secondary texts and classroom practices are also unlikely to foster tolerance because they tend to avoid controversy, but research suggests that curricula specifically designed to teach young people about the role of tolerance in a democracy can have an impact on levels of tolerance. An early study by Goldenson examined the effects of a three-week civil liberties unit on high school students’ level of tolerance.10 As part of the unit, students conducted in-depth investigations of how the abstract “slogans of democracy” are applied in concrete situations. Students interviewed community members such as police, court officials, and staff at the local American Civil Liberties Union to gain a sense of the complexity of civil liberties issues, as well as the range of perspectives on such issues. Students who took part in the unit demonstrated greater levels of tolerance at the end of the unit, when they were compared to a control group. Goldenson also found that students’ perception of the teacher’s credibility affected the degree to which tolerance scores improved as a result of the unit. Students who saw their teacher as more credible (e.g., fair, knowledgeable) showed greater increases than did those who perceived the teacher as less credible. In 1993, political scientist Richard Brody examined the effects of the high school level We the People program on students’ level of political tolerance. Teachers using the program were randomly selected from across the country, and asked to survey their students upon completion of the program. A comparison group was randomly drawn from a list of National Council for the Social Studies teachers; high school teachers who were teaching classes in American history or government, but not using the We the People materials, were asked to administer the survey to their students. Students were asked to

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respond to items that measured their support for freedom of speech and assembly, due-process laws, and freedom of the press. Students were presented with various scenarios in which they were asked whether they would support civil liberties for a range of traditional “outgroups” (e.g., atheists, gay liberation organizations, American Nazis, advocates of the violent overthrow of the government); items also measured the degree to which students thought criminals should be accorded rights such as the right to a public trial and the right to be treated humanely by law enforcement officials. Brody compared students’ responses with responses collected in a previous study from the general public. Overall, the high school students (both those using and those not using the We the People material) demonstrated higher levels of tolerance than did the mass public. However, two exceptions were evident: (1) students were less likely than was the general public to support the rights of the accused, and (2) students were more willing than was the general public to allow law enforcement officials to “bend” the rules a bit when dealing with suspected or convicted criminals.11 In addition, generally speaking, students who were using the We the People materials demonstrated greater levels of tolerance than did students not using the materials.12 For example, when students were asked whether a community should allow its civic auditorium to be used by atheists who want to preach against God and religion, 40 percent of the We the People students and 30 percent of the comparison group responded affirmatively (only 18 percent of the general public responded affirmatively). When asked the same question about members of the Gay Liberation Movement, 53 percent of the We the People students, 46 percent of their peers, and 26 percent of the general public gave a tolerant response. Why did the We the People program have a more significant impact on students’ level of tolerance than did the traditional American history or government curriculum? Brody suggests that both the content and the process associated with the We the People program act to promote tolerance. The program emphasizes the study of constitutional principles, the norms of democracy, and the contemporary relevance of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The more involved students were in the We the People program through local, state, and national congressional hearing competitions, the more tolerant their responses. The competitions required students to apply historical lessons to contemporary issues. The more active students were in the competitions, the more likely they were to internalize the norms of democracy. In the early 1990s, my colleagues and I conducted two studies of the impact of a four-week curriculum unit, titled Tolerance for Diversity of Beliefs,13 on ninth graders’ level of political tolerance. We designed the unit to reflect the research on political tolerance, pedagogy, and developmental psychology. For example, the research on political tolerance suggests that many people do not

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make the connection between the abstract principles of democracy, such as freedom of expression, and concrete situations of violations of civil liberties. Thus, the curriculum includes many case studies of civil liberties issues. The case studies include historical and contemporary situations at the national and international levels. The primary goal of the curriculum is to help students examine how respect for minority rights is embedded in our Constitutional framework. Using role-plays and simulations, students consider what a society run by the principle of “majority rules” might look like. For example, would it be all right if the majority of citizens decided that a particular religious group, say Baptists, should not be allowed to gather together for worship services? As part of the curriculum, students learn that inherent in the U.S. Constitution is a system of checks and balances designed to prevent the majority from denying the minority certain inalienable rights. So that we could evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum, we had 274 students complete a pretest, the four-week curriculum, and immediately thereafter the posttest.14 The measure of political tolerance required students to identify their least liked social or political group, and then to respond to the following questions on a five-point scale ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.” 1. Members of [the least liked group] should not be able to run for president or other elected offices. 2. Members of [the least liked group] should be allowed to teach in public schools. 3. The [least liked group] should be against the law. 4. Members of [the least liked group] should be allowed to make a public speech. 5. The government should be able to tap the phones of members of [the least liked group]. 6. The [least liked group] should be able to hold public demonstrations or rallies. We gathered information on other factors, most of which had been shown to be related to tolerance in previous studies: support for democratic norms, perceived threat, authoritarianism, self-esteem, knowledge of curriculum content, attitude toward the curriculum, race/ethnicity, gender, and achievement level. Appropriate control groups and a delayed posttest (to see if any effects endured) were part of the research design. Findings indicated that the students who studied the curriculum developed significantly higher levels of tolerance at the conclusion of the unit in comparison to the control groups, and that the effects diminished only slightly after one month. Good predictors of a high level of political tolerance included perceived threat (low), authoritarianism (low), support for democratic norms (high), self-esteem (high), and knowledge of the curriculum (high). Gender,

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previous academic grades, and enjoyment of the curriculum did not predict levels of tolerance. Both tolerant and intolerant individuals felt threatened by their least liked group. Why did these two groups of students choose different responses? When we asked students to explain their choices, tolerant students were likely to make frequent references to the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and values such as “freedom of expression.” Conversely, when intolerant students were asked to explain their views, they were likely to describe expectations of violence, such as, “The [least liked group] would hurt, torture, and kill many people in their demonstration. There would be a lot of deaths or arrests.” Tolerant students were more likely to believe that democratic institutions could withstand the challenges associated with diverse—and sometimes hateful—viewpoints, whereas intolerant students’ concern for violence guided their thinking. The second study, based on the same research design and involving 301 ninth grade students, produced results generally similar to those from the first study.15 We found, however, that tolerant students’ commitment to democratic principles is limited. When asked whether they would take action to support their least liked group if it were denied freedom of expression, most said no. Most intolerant students, however, reported that they would take action if their least liked group were allowed certain civil liberties. Demonstrating tolerance in the face of a disliked group is difficult enough for most people. Taking action to defend the rights of that group against the majority of the public requires a firm commitment to democratic principles. In the second study, we also looked more closely at the individuals whose tolerance score significantly decreased or increased.16 We found that students who demonstrated low levels of self-esteem and high levels of authoritarianism were most likely to react against the goals of the curriculum, and those who had high levels of self-esteem and low levels of authoritarianism were most likely to show significant increases in tolerance. Why would levels of self-esteem and authoritarianism affect political tolerance? We reasoned as follows: Authoritarians with low self-esteem may have interpreted much of what they read as threatening, and they apparently responded by narrowing their focus to the threat perceptions and failing to learn about the important role of democratic norms and values. They were not reassured . . . that the principles of democracy would help bolster society’s strength in the face of challenge.17 Authoritarians also tend to view the world in terms of absolutes—right and wrong, good and bad. The inherent “messiness” of democratic practices may be overwhelming to persons with rigid personality structures. The findings are a reminder that instructional materials and activities are not passively accepted by students, but that the experiences, personalities, and attitudes students bring to the school shape the way in which they interpret the curriculum.

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There is some evidence to suggest that students’ level of political tolerance is related to their perception of the classroom and school environment. First, teachers who actively create an “open classroom climate” demonstrate that they value divergent viewpoints. Second, when students practice listening to different perspectives, they may come to appreciate how such discussions may increase their understanding of an issue. Finally, when students regularly engage in discussions about controversial issues, they are less likely to feel threatened by views that are opposed to their own. Goldenson’s study, previously mentioned, indicated that a curriculum designed to increase students’ level of political tolerance had the greatest impact on students who saw their teacher as credible. In the first IEA study conducted in 1971, researchers found that student perceptions of teacher encouragement to express their own opinions was positively related to their support for democratic values.18 Nielsen’s secondary analysis of the first IEA civic education data for the United States and West Germany indicated that the best predictors for tolerance of dissent were reports by students that their instruction emphasized causes or explanations of events as opposed to memorizing names or dates, and students’ reports that they often talked about current events in class. In the most recent IEA study, the only four countries whose students’ attitudes toward women’s and immigrants’ rights were significantly above the international mean were also among those countries whose students reported a more open classroom climate.19 Hahn’s five-nation study, however, suggested that the relationship between political tolerance and an open classroom climate was insignificant.20 I suspect that the explanation lies in the interaction between an open classroom climate and a curriculum specifically devoted to civil liberties issues. That is, neither an open classroom climate nor a civil liberties curriculum alone increases students’ level of political tolerance, but the combination of the two is likely to promote tolerance. That hypothesis, however, remains to be tested. Some may argue that adolescents are too young and too self-absorbed to engage in a sophisticated discussion of civil liberties issues. To be sure, such discussions require a great deal of skill on the part of teachers. But I suggest that adolescence is an ideal time for grappling with civil liberties issues. Young people are beginning to test their rights and consider their responsibilities, they have the ability to link abstract principles (“freedom of speech”) with concrete situations, and they are concerned with “in-groups” and “outgroups.” In a classroom climate that is supportive of their efforts to make sense of complex public issues, these students can, with practice, come to understand how tolerance is one of the central tenets of a democracy. It is unclear whether the majority of U.S. citizens will support or protest any government curtailment of civil liberties in the wake of September 11, 2001. But it is hoped that the citizenry will understand the import of their sentiments. Unfortunately, the time to teach about tolerance for diversity of belief is

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not when citizens feel their security is threatened; rather, it is in times that afford thoughtful deliberation. Those students who develop an appreciation of tolerance and minority rights in quieter times are more likely to recognize the gravity of limiting civil liberties in times of crisis. Notes 1. The quotation is attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller, one of the earliest German Protestants to criticize the Nazi regime. His wife later said his remark was in response to a question posed by a student: “How could it happen?” (www. us-israel.org/jsource/Holocaust/Niemoller_quote.html). 2. P.J. Conover, I.M. Crewe, and D.D. Searing, “The Nature of Citizenship in the United States and Great Britain: Empirical Comments on Theoretical Themes,” Journal of Politics 53, no. 3 (1991): 800–832. 3. R. Toner and J. Elder, “Public Is Wary but Supportive on Rights Curbs,” The New York Times (December 12, 2001): 1A. 4. Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47. 5. J.L. Sullivan, J.E. Piereson, and G.E. Marcus, Political Tolerance and American Democracy (Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 1982). There is some disagreement among political scientists about the definition of political tolerance and how it should be measured. Sullivan and his colleagues define tolerance as the willingness to extend civil liberties to those whose views you find objectionable, and they measure it by having individuals identify their “least-liked group,” and then asking them whether they would be willing to accord that group specific civil liberties. Prior to Sullivan et al.s’ work, political scientists had asked people whether they would be willing to extend civil liberties to groups that the majority of society would find extremist or objectionable, regardless of a particular individual’s attitudes toward the group (e.g., indifference, support). The definition used by Sullivan et al. requires a very high level of forbearance. 6. The first systematic study of adult political tolerance was conducted by S. Stouffer, Communism, Conformity, and Civil Liberties (New York: Doubleday, 1955). One of the earliest studies of political tolerance among adolescents was conducted by G.L. Zellman and D.O. Sears, “Childhood Origins of Tolerance for Dissent,” Journal of Social Issues 27 (1971): 109–135. 7. Sullivan, Piereson, and Marcus. 8. P.J. Conover and D.D. Searing, “A Political Socialization Perspective,” in L.M. McDonnell, P.M. Timpane, and R. Benjamin, eds., Rediscovering the Democratic Purposes of Education (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000), 91–124. 9. P.W. Vogt, Tolerance and Education: Learning to Live with Diversity and Difference (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1997), 179. 10. D. Goldenson, “An Alternative View about the Role of the Secondary School in Political Socialization: A Field-Experimental Study of the Development of Civil Liberties Attitudes,” Theory and Research in Social Education 6 (1978): 44–72. 11. The higher levels of tolerance among high school students may be attributed to the time period in which the surveys were administered (McCloskey and Brill’s study was completed more than ten years before the Brody research), a genuine generational shift toward greater tolerance, or, as Brody suggests, the recency of students’ exposure to democratic norms and principles. 12. Student achievement and/or ability apparently does not account for the results; the reading ability of the students in the We the People program was judged by teachers to be slightly lower than that of students not using the program.

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13. Patricia Avery, D. Hoffman, J. Sullivan, E. Theiss-Morse, A. Fried, K. Bird, S. Johnstone, and K. Thalhammer, Tolerance for Diversity of Beliefs: A Secondary Curriculum Unit (Boulder, Colo.: Social Science Education Consortium, 1993). 14. Patricia G. Avery, K. Bird, S. Johnstone, J.L. Sullivan, and K. Thalhammer, “Exploring Political Tolerance with Adolescents: Do All of the People Have All of the Rights All of the Time?” Theory and Research in Social Education 20 (1992): 386–420. 15. K. Bird, J.L. Sullivan, Patricia G. Avery, K. Thalhammer, and S. Wood, “Not Just Lip-Synching Anymore: Education and Tolerance Revisited,” Review of Education/ Pedagogy/Cultural Studies 16 (1994): 373–386; J.L. Sullivan, Patricia G. Avery, K. Thalhammer, S. Wood, and K. Bird, “Education and Political Tolerance in the United States: The Mediating Role of Cognitive Sophistication, Personality, and Democratic Norms,” Review of Education/Pedagogy/Cultural Studies 16 (1994): 315–324; K. Thalhammer, S. Wood, K. Bird, Patricia G. Avery, and J.L. Sullivan, “Adolescents and Political Tolerance: Lip-Synching to the Tune of Democracy,” Review of Education/Pedagogy/Cultural Studies 16 (1994): 325– 347; S. Wood, K. Thalhammer, J.L. Sullivan, K. Bird, Patricia G. Avery, and K. Klein, “Tolerance for Diversity of Beliefs: Learning about Tolerance and Liking It Too,” Review of Education/Pedagogy/ Cultural Studies 16 (1994): 349–372. 16. “Significant” was defined as a change of one standard deviation. 17. Bird et al., 382. 18. Tolerance and Support for Civil Liberties was one of four democratic values; the other democratic values were Anti-Authoritarianism, Support for Women’s Rights, and Support for Equality. See J.V. Torney, A.N. Oppenheim, and R.F. Farnen, Civic Education in Ten Countries (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1975), 204, 206. 19. The four countries are Cyprus, Norway, Sweden, and the United States. See J. Torney-Purta, R. Lehmann, H. Oswald, and W. Schulz, Citizenship and Education in Twenty-Eight Countries: Civic Knowledge and Engagement at Age Fourteen (Amsterdam, The Netherlands: International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, 2001), 105, 109, 139. 20. The five nations included Denmark, England, Germany, The Netherlands, and the United States. See C.L. Hahn, Becoming Political (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998), 196.

Epilogue

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Idiocy, Puberty, and Citizenship The Road Ahead WALTER C. PARKER

In Chapter 1, I designated social studies as this book’s “keyword”—an important, dynamic, and contested idea. Its meanings and purposes, like those of “math” and “science,” are subject to argument because curriculum space is limited, stakeholders do not necessarily share the same values or interests, and at the local level schooling is one of the few institutions open to public debate. The social studies curriculum is debated with special vigor because it occupies curricular space where identities are deliberately shaped. Schools, as we saw, make people up, and just about every one who argues over the curriculum knows this. That is why they are arguing. In social studies especially, the curriculum wars zero in on existential questions—questions about our founding myths, our master narratives, who “we the people” are and ought to be. Should students be fashioned into nationalists, globalists, workers, entrepreneurs, enlightened and engaged citizens, or what? In this final chapter, I want to flesh out an idea introduced in Chapter 1, that of aiming the social studies curriculum toward enlightened political engagement.1 We can describe it simply as reflective citizenship as opposed to engagement without knowledge (the uninformed activist) or knowledge without engagement (the alienated expert). Aiming toward democratically enlightened political engagement, schools would fashion citizens who are thoughtfully patriotic as opposed to blindly nationalistic or thoughtlessly compliant with authorities. The working premise here is that the several social science disciplines are indispensably rich resources toward this end but not ends in themselves. They are means; enlightened political engagement is the end. To develop the idea further, it will be useful to revive the ancient meanings of three terms: idiocy, puberty, and citizenship. Idiocy is the bane of our time and place, but it was a problem for the ancient Greeks, too, who coined the term. Idiocy in its origin is not what it means to us today—stupid or mentally deficient. The recent meaning is deservedly and entirely out of usage by educators, but the original meaning needs to be resuscitated as a conceptual tool for clarifying a pivotal social problem and for

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understanding the central goal of social studies education. Idiocy shares with idiom and idiosyncratic the root idios, which means private, separate, selfcentered—selfish. “Idiotic” was in the Greek context a term of reproach. When a person’s behavior became idiotic—concerned myopically with private things and unmindful of common things—then that person was believed to be like a rudderless ship, without consequence except for the danger it posed to others. This meaning achieves its force when contrasted with polite¯s (citizen). Here we have a powerful opposition: the private individual and the public citizen. Schools in societies that are trying in various ways to be democracies, such as Mexico, South Africa, Japan, Singapore, Canada, and the United States, to name only a few, are obliged to develop citizens. Citizens hold the highest office in a democracy; they are both its governors and its laborers. In this chapter I show that schools are well positioned to develop citizens, and I suggest how they can improve their efforts and achieve greater success.2 Dodging Puberty An idiot is one whose self-centeredness undermines his or her citizen identity, causing it to wither or never to take root in the first place. Private gain is the goal, and the community had better not get in the way. An idiot is suicidal in a certain way, certainly self-defeating, for the idiot does not know that privacy and individual autonomy are entirely dependent on the community. As Aristotle wrote, “individuals are so many parts all equally depending on the whole which alone can bring self-sufficiency.”3 Idiots do not take part in public life—they do not have a public life. In this sense, idiots are immature in the most fundamental way. Their lives are out of balance, disoriented, untethered, and unrealized. Tragically, idiots have not met the challenge of puberty, which is the transition to public life and taking one’s place on the public stage. The former mayor of Missoula, Montana wrote of the idiocy/citizenship opposition, though using a different term: People who customarily refer to themselves as taxpayers are not even remotely related to democratic citizens. Yet this is precisely the word that now regularly holds the place which in a true democracy would be occupied by “citizens.” Taxpayers bear a dual relationship to government, neither half of which has anything at all to do with democracy. Taxpayers pay tribute to the government, and they receive services from it. So does every subject of a totalitarian regime. What taxpayers do not do, and what people who call themselves taxpayers have long since stopped even imagining themselves doing, is governing. In a democracy, by the very meaning of the word, the people govern. . . .4 The French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville, writing 150 years earlier on the occasion of his famous visit to the United States, also described idiocy.

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All democratic peoples face a “dangerous passage” in their history, he wrote, when they “are carried away and lose all self-restraint at the sight of the new possessions they are about to obtain.”5 Tocqueville’s principal concern was that getting “carried away” causes citizens to lose the very freedom they want so much to enjoy. “These people think they are following the principle of selfinterest,” he continues, “but the idea they entertain of that principle is a very crude one; and the more they look after what they call their own business, they neglect their chief business, which is to remain their own masters.” Just how do people remain their own masters? By maintaining the kind of community that secures their liberty. Tocqueville’s singular contribution to our understanding of idiocy and citizenship is the notion that idiots are idiotic precisely because they are indifferent to the conditions and contexts of their own freedom. They fail to grasp the interdependence of liberty and community, privacy and puberty. Similarly, Jane Addams argued in 1913 that if a woman was planning to “keep on with her old business of caring for her house and rearing her children,” then it was necessary that she expand her consciousness to include “public affairs lying quite outside her immediate household.” The individualistic consciousness was “no longer effective”: Women who live in the country sweep their own dooryards and may either feed the refuse of the table to a flock of chickens or allow it innocently to decay in the open air and sunshine. In a crowded city quarter, however, if the street is not cleaned by the city authorities, no amount of private sweeping will keep the tenement free from grime; if the garbage is not properly collected and destroyed a tenement house mother may see her children sicken and die of diseases from which she alone is powerless to shield them, although her tenderness and devotion are unbounded.6 Addams concluded that for women to tend only their “own” households was idiotic, for to do only that would prevent women, ironically, from doing that. One cannot maintain the familial nest without maintaining the public, shared space in which the familial nest is itself nested. “(A)s society grows more complicated,” she continued, “it is necessary that woman shall extend her sense of responsibility to many things outside of her own home if she would continue to preserve the home in its entirety.” Leaving aside individuals, families can be idiotic, too. The paradigm case is the mafia—a family that looks inward intensely and solely. A thick moral code glues the insiders together, but in dealings with outsiders who are beyond the galaxy of one’s obligations and duties, anything goes. There is no organized cooperation across families to tackle shared problems (health, education, welfare), no shared games, not even communication save the occasional “treaty.” There are no bridging associations. Edward Banfield called this amoral

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familism and gave its ethos as “maximize the material, short-run advantage of the nuclear family; assume that all others will do likewise.”7 Amoral familism is certainly not restricted to the mafia. Social scientists who examine popular culture find no shortage of amoral familism today. A notorious contemporary example is (was?) the sports utility vehicle (SUV) craze. Here, the family provides for its own safety and self-esteem at others’ expense. Accomplishing mobile tasks such as commuting, ferrying children about, and running household errands, the SUV moms and dads put other drivers and passengers at risk, widen the ozone hole, and waste nonrenewable resources. SUV drivers often justify their behavior by speaking of their “rights” or the pleasure of “sitting up higher than others,” but especially “family safety.”8 It is my right to do what I please, goes the argument, with the added, supposedly selfless rationalization of securing “my” family from dangers real and imagined. To draw the line of obligation so close to the nuclear family is idiotic because it undermines, as Addams and Tocqueville argued, that family’s own safety along with everyone else’s. We could continue this survey of idiocy from its individual and familial forms to its nationalistic variety wherein a nation secures its own needs and wants in such a way that the world environment—the ultimate nest—is fouled. I want instead to conclude this section with a puzzle: How did idiocy grow from an exception in the Greek polis to a commonplace in contemporary, developed societies? Others have asked just this question. Marx saw idiocy (“alienation,” he called it) as the inevitable by-product of capitalism wherein accumulating profit becomes an end in itself and everything else—from labor to love—is commodified toward that end. Robert Bellah and colleagues trace idiocy to the culture of rugged individualism. John Kenneth Galbraith focused on the problems created by the widespread affluence of contemporary North American society where, for example, beef cattle are consumed at such a rate as to flood the environment with their waste while farmland is wasted on their feed.9 Schools and Idiocy Capitalism, individualism, and affluence are a powerful brew. But let’s turn to schooling. Do schools marshal their human and material resources to make up idiots or citizens? Does the school, through its explicit, implicit, and null curricula, cultivate private vices or public virtues? Can schools tame the rugged individualism and amoral familism that undermine puberty and foul the common nest? Actually, schools already educate for citizenship to an extent, and there lies our hope. By identifying how schools accomplish at least some of this work now, educators can direct and fine-tune the effort. The wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented; it is at hand, rolling already, and needs to be rolled more intentionally and explicitly toward citizenship. There are three assumptions that propel this work, three assets, and three keys to its success.

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Assumptions The first assumption is that democracy (rule by the people) is superior to the alternatives (e.g., rule by one person [autocracy], by clerics [theocracy], by the wealthy [plutocracy]) because it aspires to and, to varying degrees, is held accountable for securing civil liberties, equality before the law, limited government, competitive elections, and solidarity around a common project (a civic unum) that exists alongside individual and cultural manyness (pluribus). That democracies fall short of these aspirations is terribly obvious and the chief motive behind social movements that seek to close the gap between the actual and the ideal. The purpose of the Women’s Suffrage Movement and the Civil Rights Movement in the United States was not to alter the American Dream but to realize it. When a democracy excludes its own members for whatever reason (patriarchy, Jim Crow, religious intolerance, homophobia, etc.), it is “actively and purposefully false to its own vaunted principles,” wrote Judith Shklar.10 Here is democracy’s built-in progressive impulse: to live up to itself. The second assumption is that there can be no democracy without democrats. Democratic ways of living together, with the people’s differences intact and recognized, are not given by nature; they are created, and much of the creative work is undertaken by engaged citizens who share some understanding of what it is they are trying to build together. Often, it is the unjustly treated members of a community who are democracy’s vanguard, pushing it toward its principles. The Framers of the U.S. Constitution may have been the birth parents of democracy, American style, but those who were excluded, then and now, became the adoptive, nurturing parents.11 Third, democratic citizens do not materialize out of thin air. They are not given by nature already grasping knotty principles such as toleration, impartial justice, the separation of church and state, the need for limits on majority power, or the difference between liberty and license. They are not born already capable of deliberating public policy issues with other citizens whose beliefs and cultures they may abhor. These things are not, as the historical record makes all too clear, born into our genes. Rather, they are social, moral, and intellectual achievements. On the three assumptions taken together, educators are justified in shaping curriculum and instruction toward the formation of democratic citizens. In poll after poll, the American public makes clear its expectation that schools do precisely this.12 Assets As it turns out, schools are ideal sites for democratic citizenship education. The main reason is that a school is not a private place, like our homes, but a public, civic place with a jumble of diverse students. Some schools are more diverse than others, of course, but all of them are to some meaningful extent. Former

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kindergarten teacher Vivian Paley put it plainly: “The children I teach are just emerging from life’s deep wells of private perspective: babyhood and family. Then, along comes school. It is the first real exposure to the public arena.”13 Boys and girls are both there. Jews, Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists are there together. There are African Americans, European Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans and more. Immigrants from the world over are there. This buzzing variety does not exist at home, or at church, temple, or mosque either, but in public places where diverse people are thrown together, places where people who come from numerous private worlds and social positions congregate on common ground. These are places where multiple social perspectives and personal values are brought into face-to-face contact around matters that “are relevant to the problems of living together,” as Dewey put it.14 These are mutual, collective concerns, not mine or yours but ours. These arise in public places—places such as schools. Compared to home life, schools are like village squares, cities, crossroads, community centers, marketplaces. When aimed at democratic ends and supported by the proper democratic conditions, this interaction in schools can help children enter the social consciousness of puberty and develop the habits of thinking and caring necessary for public life—the tolerance, respect, sense of justice, and the knack for forging public policy with others whether one likes them or not. This, then, is the great democratic potential of the public places called schools. As Dewey observed, “The notion that the essentials of elementary education are the three R’s mechanically treated, is based upon ignorance of the essentials needed for realization of democratic ideals.”15 Mobilized, schools can nurture these “essentials”—the qualities needed for the hard work of living together freely but cooperatively and with justice, equality, and dignity. Schools can do this because of the collective problems and the diversity contained within them. Problems, diversity, and a curriculum that orchestrates these along with learning from the disciplines—these are the essential assets found in schools for cultivating democratic citizens. Keys But how actually to accomplish this? Three actions are key. First, increase the variety and frequency of interaction among students who are culturally, linguistically, and racially different from one another. Classrooms sometimes do this naturally. But if the school itself is homogenous, or if the school is diverse but curriculum tracks are keeping groups of students apart, then this first key is more difficult to turn. It is not helping that resegregation has intensified in recent years despite an increasingly diverse society. White students today are the most segregated from all other races in their schools, and on this criterion, they may be at the greatest risk of idiocy.16 Still, race is certainly not

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the only source of diversity among students. What school leaders must do is capitalize on whatever diversity is present—race, religion, language, gender, social class, ideology, national origin—and increase the variety and frequency of interaction opportunities. Second, orchestrate these contacts so that competent public talk—especially deliberation about common problems—is fostered. In schools, this is talk about two kinds of problems: social and academic. Social problems arise inevitably from the friction of interaction (Dewey’s “problems of living together”), and academic problems are at the core of the social studies curriculum. Third, clarify the attributes of deliberation and the distinction between open/inclusive and closed/exclusive deliberation. In other words, expect, teach, and model competent, inclusive deliberation. Deliberation is discussion aimed at making a decision across these differences about a problem that the participants face in common.17 The main action during a deliberation is weighing— weighing alternatives with others with the goal of deciding on the best course of action. In schools, deliberation is not only an instructional method (teaching with deliberation) but a curriculum goal (teaching for deliberation),18 because it generates and animates a particular kind of social good: a democratic community—a public space. Teachers and administrators can expand deliberative opportunities by increasing student participation in different kinds of mixed student groups. What the participants have in common in these settings is not culture, race, or opinion but the problems they are facing and must work through together in ways that strike everyone as fair.19 The Social Curriculum One of the best-known primary-school examples of children deliberating their shared social problems comes from the kindergarten classroom of Vivian Paley. Paley captured in a number of books the look and feel of actual classroombased deliberation, and she shows how entirely possible it is to do such work in everyday classroom settings, even with the youngest children. In You Can’t Say You Can’t Play, she tells the story of her facilitation of a lengthy deliberation about whether to establish the classroom rule of the book’s title. She engages the kindergartners in an ongoing discussion about the desirability and practicability of having such a rule. She tells them, “I just can’t get the question out of my mind. Is it fair for children in school to keep another child out of play? After all, this classroom belongs to all of us. It is not a private place, like our homes.”20 This is a compelling question to her students, and they have lots to say. She brings them to the circle again and again to weigh the alternatives. “Will the rule work? Is it fair?” she asks. Memories and opinions flow. “If you cry people should let you in,” Ben says. “But then what’s the whole point of playing?” Lisa complains.

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Paley sometimes interviews older children to collect their views and brings them back to her kindergartners. Trading classes with a second-grade teacher, Paley tells those children: “I’ve come to ask your opinions about a new rule we’re considering in the kindergarten. . . . We call it, ‘You can’t say you can’t play.’ ” These older children know full well the issue. Vivid accounts of rejection are shared. Some children believe it is a fair rule, but that it won’t work: “It would be impossible to have any fun,” offers one boy. In a fourth-grade class, students conclude that it is “too late” to give them such a rule. “If you want a rule like that to work, start at a very early age,” declares one nine-year-old.21 Paley takes these views back to the discussion circle in her own classroom. Her children are enthralled as she retells the older children’s views. The deliberation is enlarged, the alternatives more complex. High school deliberative projects exist, too. Perhaps the most widely documented are the Just Community schools.22 In them, democratic governance becomes a way of life at school. These projects aim to transform the school culture—especially its implicit curriculum—and in this way they aim to cultivate democratic citizenship. Students in Just Community schools participate in the basic governance of the school. They deliberate everything from attendance policy, dress codes, and the consequences for stealing and cheating to whether cafeteria seating should be assigned randomly as a move against resegregation. If in the explicit academic curriculum the values of justice, liberty, and equality are taught and vaunted, students are quick to see whether the school itself runs on a different set of values. They will learn which are the actual rules of the game. The Social Studies Curriculum Just as research and practice are interdependent (an argument made in this book’s Preface), citizens need to be both enlightened and engaged. The suggestion to engage students in dialogues on the shared problems of school life is most definitely not an argument against disciplinary learning. The two together is the prize. Action without understanding is no cause for celebration (recall, the Klan acted; Nazis were engaged). Consequently, a rigorous social studies curriculum of powerful ideas, issues, and values is essential alongside deliberations of controversial school-governance questions. Furthermore, if deliberation is left to the school’s social curriculum only, to the non-academic curriculum of student relations and school governance, then students are likely to develop the misconception that the academic disciplines are settled and devoid of controversy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The disciplines are loaded with arguments, and expertise in a discipline is measured by one’s involvement in them. In a good school, social studies teachers are engaging students in the core problems of the disciplines. Argumentation is authentic disciplinary activity. Social scientists argue about everything they study—about why Rome fell, what globalization is

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doing, why slavery lasted longer in the U.S. than in England, why poverty persists, how the nation-state system developed initially, and why it is maintained today. What they do, as we learned earlier in this book, is develop theses or claims (warranted assertions, evidence-based accounts) about such matters. Accordingly, engaging students in deliberations of academic controversies may be the most rigorous approach to disciplinary education available.23 Its advantage over cover-and-control curricula is that it involves students in both the substantive (ideas and issues) and syntactical (methods of inquiry) dimensions of the disciplines.24 At the same time, it prepares them for the argumentation that both democracy and science require. A number of now-popular instructional methods in social studies feature deliberation. The inquiry method has students weigh rival hypotheses, the seminar method has students weigh alternative interpretations of a powerful text, and Structured Academic Controversy is useful to a wide variety of deliberations.25 Moreover, there are some good curriculum materials readily available that help teachers and curriculum leaders lay out several alternatives for students to deliberate. Two of the most widely vetted for the high school social studies classroom, especially history and government courses, are published by the National Issues Forums and Choices for the 21st Century.26 Each produces a series of materials containing background information on a pressing problem (contemporary or historical) and three to four policy alternatives. Both engage students in the kind of deliberation that develops their understanding of one another, the array of alternatives, the problem itself, and its historical context.27 The provision of alternatives by the authors scaffolds the task, modeling for students what an array of alternatives looks like and allowing them to labor at interpreting these and at listening to one another. After this, students are ready to have the scaffold removed and to investigate an issue of their own choosing, creating their own briefing materials.28 Conclusion Social studies educators are in a particularly good place to work against idiocy; well positioned, that is, to cultivate enlightened political engagement. They have at hand in schools three key resources for this work: a) a more-or-less diverse student population assembled in a public place for a public purpose, b) plenty of problems (both social, drawn from school involvement; and academic, drawn from society and the social science disciplines), c) a curriculum that can be mobilized to bring students, problems, and the social science disciplines into a productive relationship for learning and development. Underlying these three assets are two more, each so basic as to be easily overlooked. Both are problems, but they are assets because they focus attention

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where it is needed for educational purposes. One is the content-selection problem. Social studies educators are never allowed to take their eye off it. The currency of educators is curriculum decision making—deciding which (and whose) knowledge most deserves inclusion in the curriculum. Consequently, they are forever forced to weigh one subject matter candidate, whether a topic (life in the Amazon region), a problem (deforestation in the Amazon region), or a whole course of study (South American history and geography), against an ocean of alternatives. The asset I am pointing to here is that curriculum decisions are based, by definition, on a consideration of the educational significance of any proposed addition to or other change in the curriculum. This is always the case given the curricular economy of unlimited content and scarce instructional time and materials. This decision making involves a calculus of disciplinary knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and social knowledge, not to mention a sage’s knack for forecasting.29 Meanwhile, single-subject disciplinary scholars, such as historians, geographers, and political scientists, are not bound by any such problem. Thornton and Barton elaborate: Historians want to study all content—or at least they assume the freedom to study any content that individual members of the profession consider worthwhile. When historians begin to study new questions, they face little opposition from others (apart from curmudgeonly grumbling), for new approaches do not necessarily crowd out old ones. No historian is prevented from doing research on Robert E. Lee just because someone else has chosen to investigate Gypsy Rose Lee. The field is wide enough, and publishing opportunities numerous enough, to accommodate such pluralism, and as a result the output of historical scholarship covers an incredible diversity of topics, time periods, geographic regions, and methodological approaches. But because the time available to teach history in school is finite, the curriculum cannot incorporate all possible content, and so choices must be made about which topics are important enough to include. In schools, unlike in the profession of history, each new topic must crowd out an old one. How, then, do we decide which knowledge is of most worth . . .? The discipline of history is silent on this issue.30 Social studies educators have a second underlying asset in addition to the content-selection problem. Social studies educators are required to pay attention to the transmission-transformation question: Should the curriculum encourage students to thrive in the current social system or to build a new one? To ignore this question would amount to naïvety about the public role of schools. In chapters 1 and 2, three basic responses to the transmissiontransformation question were outlined—from the political left, right, and center. I believe the approach to combating idiocy and cultivating polite¯s detailed

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in the present chapter lands in the center. It features rigorous deliberation of social problems that arise inevitably at school, including school governance issues, along with what Dewey called “intelligent study of historical and existing forces and conditions.”31 Combined, these are a “method of intelligence,” as Stanley called it in Part I (“Purpose Matters”) of this book. This is not a neutral approach because particular values are upheld: both democratic (e.g., cooperative decision making) and scientific (e.g., basing claims on evidence). But this does not mean that it aims to indoctrinate students into a particular vision of social welfare (e.g., capitalism or socialism). Rather, the method is progressive and open-ended. Having been made more intelligent by their education, students will themselves, quoting Dewey, “take part in the great work of construction and organization that will have to be done. . . .”32 It is to be expected that a diverse student body will engage and interpret this work differently. As indicated in Part II of this book, “Perspective Matters,” culture and identity matter strongly in teaching and learning. Educators dare not ignore these resources if they want to manage instruction intelligently and teach all students. But this is not to say that subject matter doesn’t matter. As we saw in the “Subject Matters” section (Part III), it does matter and in wonderfully complicated ways—from the earliest primary grades through the final years of high school, as well as at home, temple, church, and mosque. That fact that a topic such as the Holocaust or the Vietnam War is taught—that it is included in the explicit curriculum in the form of lessons, units of study, and curriculum materials—does not mean that it is taught in the same way from school to school or classroom to classroom, nor that it is learned in the same way, if at all, from student to student. In fact, a topic’s presence in the explicit curriculum, while an important achievement, says nothing about how it is taught or interpreted by students or teachers. Furthermore, the interaction effects of the three curricula—explicit, implicit, and null—can be explosive: the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the explicit curriculum (that is, their banishment to the null curriculum), plus the heteronormativity present in the explicit curriculum, combines dangerously (and too often tragically) with the homophobia found in the school’s implicit curriculum. “Global Matters” (Part IV) are affecting the three curricula today in both old and new ways, and the effect is not necessarily good. There are exceptions, as we saw in Part IV of the book, namely new approaches to teaching world history, civics, and literature alongside innovative programs to put students around the world into contact with one another. But the rule seems to be encouraging education for rather than against idiocy. I am referring to the new flurry of activity in schools today under the banners of “international” and “global” education. Too many of these are motivated not by global purposes but by intensely national ones, chief among which is maintaining (or, if already lost, regaining) the nation’s competitive economic edge in the new so-called “flat” world of the twenty-first century. Economic anxieties are driving the

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United States and other nations to do with their schools what they have generally done with them: deploy them for narrowly nationalistic purposes even when using terms such as “international” and “global.” Those who believe the current surge of activity means that parents, educators, and citizens are genuinely interested in transforming schools to create “global citizens” are in for a sobering awakening. As one legislator stated in 2008, arguing for transmission rather than transformation and voting against funding for a global education initiative, “I would like to have American citizens who know how to function in a global economy, not global citizens.”33 As for “Puzzles,” it remains to be seen whether schools will move forward or backward in the quest to educate an enlightened and engaged public. To a large extent, this depends on whether they are encouraged to do so, for schools are not independent agencies where massive social forces can be stopped with a lesson plan. Schools are thoroughly nested in society; schools are products of their societies, not the reverse. Nevertheless, the school is not an insignificant source of social change. What it does and does not teach, both explicitly and implicitly, matters. At some level, everyone seems to believe this, which is why curriculum debates are among the most impassioned anywhere in the public sphere. My view is that the “three Rs”—mechanically treated and tested with Puritanical fervor—are not the essentials needed for the realization of democratic ideals. A proper curriculum for democracy requires the study and practice of democracy, one approach to which I have outlined here. Notes 1. I am adapting the term “enlightened political engagement” from Norman H. Nie, Jane Junn, and Kenneth Stehlik-Barry in Education and democratic citizenship in America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996). 2. This chapter draws from two sources: my article “Teaching against idiocy,” Phi Delta Kappan, 86, no. 5 (2005): 344–351; and my book Teaching democracy: Unity and diversity in public life (New York: Teachers College Press, 2003). 3. Aristotle, The politics of Aristotle, trans. Ernest Barker (New York: Oxford University Press, 1958): 6. Also, Alasdair MacIntyre, After virtue (Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame Press, 1981): 263. 4. Daniel Kemmis, The good city and the good life (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995): 9. 5. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, ed. J. P. Mayer, trans. George Lawrence (Garden City: Doubleday, 1969): 540. 6. Jane Addams, “Why women should vote,” in Woman suffrage: History, arguments, and results, ed. Frances Maule (New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1913): 1. 7. Edward C. Banfield, The moral basis of a backward society (New York: The Free Press, 1958). Also Robert D. Putnam, Making democracy work: Civic traditions in modern Italy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994). 8. Sarah Jain, “Urban errands: The means of mobility,” Journal of Consumer Culture 2, no. 3 (2002): 419–438. Keith Bradsher, High and mighty: SUVs (New York: Public Affairs, 2002).

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9. Karl Marx, Capital, trans. Ben Fowkes (New York: Penguin Classics, 1867/1990). Robert N. Bellah et al., Habits of the heart: Individualism and commitment in American life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985). John Kenneth Galbraith, The affluent society (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1958). 10. Judith N. Shklar, American citizenship: The quest for inclusion (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991): 12. 11. See Gary Y. Okihiro, Margins and mainstream: Asians in American history and culture (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994). 12. Jennifer L. Hochschild and Nathan Scovronick, “Democratic education and the American Dream: One, some, and all,” in Education for democracy: Contexts, curricula, and assessments, ed. Walter C. Parker (Greenwich, CT: Information Age, 2002): 3–26. 13. Vivian G. Paley, You can’t say you can’t play (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992): 21. 14. John Dewey, Democracy and education, ed. Jo Ann Boydston, vol. 9, The middle works of John Dewey, 1899–1924 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1916/1985): 200. 15. Ibid. 16. Gary Orfield, Schools more separate: Consequences of a decade of resegregation (The Civil Rights Project, 2001, available at www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/research/ deseg/separate_schools01.php). 17. The OED’s definition: The action of deliberating, or weighing a thing in the mind; careful consideration with a view to decision. 18. On the with/for distinction, see Walter C. Parker and Diana Hess, “Teaching with and for discussion,” Teaching and Teacher Education 17, no. 3 (2001): 273–289; and Bruce E. Larson, “Classroom discussion: A method of instruction and a curriculum outcome,” Teaching and Teacher Education 16, no. 5 (2000): 661–677. 19. See Thomas F. Pettigrew, “Intergroup contact: Theory, research, and new perspectives,” in Handbook of research on multicultural education, ed. James A. Banks and Cherry A. McGee Banks (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004): 770–781. 20. Vivian G. Paley, You can’t say you can’t play (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992): 16. 21. Ibid: 63. 22. F. Clark Power, Ann Higgins, and Lawrence Kohlberg, Lawrence Kohlberg’s approach to moral education (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989). Ralph Mosher, Robert A. Kenny, Jr., and Andrew Garrod, Preparing for citizenship: Teaching youth to live democratically (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994). 23. The classics include Donald W. Oliver and James P. Shaver, Teaching public issues in the high school (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1966/1974); Maurice P. Hunt and Lawrence E. Metcalf, Teaching high school social studies: Problems in reflective thinking and social understanding, 2nd ed. (New York: HarperCollins, 1968); and Edwin Fenton, The new social studies (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1967). 24. Joseph J. Schwab, “Structure of the disciplines: Meanings and significances,” in The structure of knowledge and the curriculum, ed. G. W. Ford and Lawrence Pugno (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1964): 6–30. 25. Walter C. Parker, “Public discourses in schools: purposes, problems, possibilities,” Educational Researcher 35, no. 8 (2006): 11–18; and Teaching Democracy, chapter 7. 26. National Issues Forums materials are produced by the Kettering Foundation and available at www.nifi.org. Choices materials are produced by the Watson Institute

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29.

30. 31. 32.

33.

• Walter C. Parker for International Studies at Brown University and are available at www.choices.edu. John Doble, The story of NIF: The effects of deliberation (Dayton: Kettering Foundation, 1996). See penetrating studies of these materials by Diana Hess, Jeremy Stoddard, and Shannon Murto, “Examining the treatment of 9/11 and terrorism in high school textbooks,” in Educating democratic citizens in troubled times: qualitative studies of current efforts, ed. Janet S. Bixby and Judith L. Pace (Albany: State University of New York Press): 192–226; and Steven P. Camicia, “Deliberating immigration policy: Locating instructional materials within global and multicultural perspectives,” Theory and Research in Social Education 31, no. 1 (2007): 96–111. See the classics: Donald W. Oliver, “The selection of content in the social sciences,” Harvard Educational Review 27 (1957): 271–300; Harold Benjamin, The saber tooth curriculum (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1939); and Michael Apple, Ideology and Curriculum, 3rd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2004). Stephen J. Thornton and Keith C. Barton, “Can history stand alone? Drawbacks and blind spots of a ‘disciplinary’ curriculum,” Teachers College Record (in press). John Dewey, “The crucial role of intelligence,” The Social Frontier 1, no. 5 (1935): 9. John Dewey, “Education and Social Change,” The Social Frontier 3, no. 26 (1937): 236. (Both this quote and the one above are from Stanley’s chapter in this volume.) Quoted in Walter C. Parker, “ ‘International Education’—What’s in a name?” Phi Delta Kappan 90, no. 2 (2008): 196–202.

Permissions

The editor gratefully acknowledges the National Council for the Social Studies for allowing him to reprint articles that originally appeared in his column, “Research and Practice,” in Social Education. Chapter 2 Stanley, W. B. (2005). Social studies and the social order: transmission or transformation? Social Education, 69(5), 282–286. Chapter 3 Evans, R. W. (2006). The social studies wars, now and then. Social Education, 70(5), 317–321. Chapter 4 Barton, K. C., and Levstik, L. S. (2003). Why don’t more history teachers engage students in interpretation? Social Education, 67(6), 358–361. Chapter 5 Grant, S. G. (2007). High-stakes testing: How are social studies teachers responding? Social Education, 71(5), 250–254. Chapter 6 King, M. B., Newmann, F. M., and Carmichael, D. L. (2009). Authentic intellectual work: common standards for teaching social studies. Social Education, 73(1), 43–49. Chapter 7 Banks, J. A., Cookson, P., Gay, G., Hawley, W. D., Irvine, J. J., Nieto, S., et al. (2005). Education and diversity. Social Education, 69(1), 36–40. Chapter 8 Au, K. H. (in press). Isn’t culturally responsive instruction just good teaching? Social Education. Chapter 9 Thornton, S. J. (2003). Silence on gays and lesbians in social studies curriculum. Social Education, 67(4), 226–230. Chapter 10 Epstein, T. and Shiller, J. (2005). Perspective matters: social identity and the teaching and learning of national history. Social Education, 69(4), 201–204. Chapter 11 Wineburg, S., Mosborg, S., and Porat, D. (2000). What can Forrest Gump tell us about students’ historical understanding? Social Education, 65(1), 55–58. 261

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Chapter 12 VanSledright, B. A. (2004). What does it mean to think historically . . . and how do you teach it? Social Education, 68(3), 230–233. Chapter 13 Bednarz, S. W., Acheson, G. and Bednarz, R. S. (2006). Maps and map learning in social studies. Social Education, 70(7), 398–404, 432. Chapter 14 Brophy, J. and Alleman, J. (2002). What do children know about cultural universals? Social Education, 66(7), 453–457. Chapter 15 Kahne, J. and Middaugh, E. (2008). High quality civic education: What is it and who gets it? Social Education, 72(1), 34–39. Chapter 16 Schweber, S. (2006). “Holocaust fatigue” in teaching today. Social Education, 70(1), 44–50. Chapter 17 Merryfield, M. M. and Kasai, M. (2004). How are teachers responding to globalization? Social Education, 68(5), 354–359. Chapter 18 Crocco, M. S. (2006). Caught between invisibility and stereotyping: teaching the novel Shabanu. Social Education, 70(4), 178–182. Chapter 19 Dunn, R. E. (2008). The two world histories. Social Education 72(5), 257–263. Chapter 20 Hahn, C. L. (2001). What can be done to encourage civic engagement in youth? Social Education, 65(2), 108–110. Chapter 21 Hess, D. (2004). Discussion in social studies: Is it worth the trouble? Social Education, 68(2), 151–155. Chapter 22 Cornbleth, C. (2002). What constrains meaningful social studies teaching? Social Education, 66(3), 186–190. Chapter 23 Segall, A. (2004). Blurring the lines between content and pedagogy. Social Education, 68(7), 479–482. Chapter 24 Avery, P. G. (2002). Teaching tolerance: what research tells us. Social Education, 66(5), 270–275.

Index

accelerated schooling, 221 Addams, Jane, 249 Advanced Placement World History program, 184, 192 African American students, 83 after-school programs, 70 alienation, 250 ambitious teaching, 49, 50 American Journey, The, 232 American Political Science Association, 142 amoral familism, 249–50 Andolina, Molly, 209 anti-semitism, 156–7, 158, 160 anxiety, reducing, 72 Arab World and Islamic Resources and School Services group, 179 argumentation, 254–5 Aristotle, 248 assessment, culturally sensitive, 74 authentic intellectual work 54, 55(tab.6.1), 57–60, 60(tab.6.2), 61–3 authoritarianism, and tolerance, 240 Baldwin, James, 88 Banfield, Edward, 249 Banks, James, 87 Barton, K.C. and Levstik, L.S., 227 basic needs, 134–8 Bellah, Robert, 250 Bennett, William, 186 Bensoussan, Georges, 154 Bentley, Jerry, 188 Bestor, Arthur, 29 bias detection, 116 big history, 184 Braddock, Jomills, 70 Bradley Commission/Foundation, 31 Brislin, Richard, 170 Brody, Richard, 237 Bruner, Jerome, 30 bull session, 208 Burack, Jonathan, 186, 192

bureaucratic climates, 216–18 capitalism, and education, 185 censorship challenges, 222 change, world history as, 188, 191 chilling climates, 218–19, 222 Choices for the 21st Century, 255 citizenship: and authentic intellectual work, 61–2; democratic, 147–8; education for, 39–40, 197–201, 250, 251, 254; reflective, 247 civic connection, fostering, 144–5 civic education, 141–8 civic engagement 142, 148–9(n.12); teaching, 197–201 civic opportunities, of students, 145–6 civic participation 148–9(n.12), 209 civil liberties, 235–6; education, 237, 241 class, social, 68 classroom structures, for participation, 81–4 climate(s): chilling, 218–19, 222; competitive, 220–1, 222; conservative, 218, 221, 222; of constraints 216–21, 216(tab.22.1); droughtstricken, 219–21; of judicial restraint 219: of pathology/ pessimism, 219–20, 221; threatening, 219 clothing, as basic need, 136 Cold War years, 29 collective memory/occlusion 107–9, 110(n.8) communication, elaborated, 56 communism, and progressive education, 29 competitive climate, 220–1, 222 conflict resolution, 72 Conover, P.J. and Searing, D.D., 236 conservative climate, 218, 221, 222 conservative education, 186 content: evaluating, 232; and pedagogy, 226–7, 229–30; selection, 256

263

264

• Index

Contract with America initiative, 191 control, contradictions of, 222 controls, technical, 217 Cooper, Sara, 49–50 coping strategies, teachers, 221–2 Council on Islamic Education, 178 Counts, George, 18–19, 23 Crocco, Margaret Smith, 88 cross-cultural experiences, 169–71 cultural behaviors, 68 cultural responsiveness, 69 cultural universals, 133–9 culturally responsive instruction, 77–85 culture: cross-cultural experiences, 169–71; and teaching, 257; and world history, 187–8 Culture-General Framework, 170 culture, popular: and the Holocaust, 153 cultures, national: and history, 99 Curb Your Enthusiasm, 153 curricula: around disciplines, 29; civic, 141; contentious, 5–9; cultural, 109–10; and cultural universals, 138–9; decision making, 256; explicit/implicit, 257; hidden, 9, 89–90; and history 185, 189, 194(n.12); and the Holocaust, 159; inclusion in/exclusion from, 218–19; and instruction, 225–33; and map learning, 128–9; null, 8–9, 257; pendulum swings in, 25; and sexual inclusion, 87–92; social, 253–4; social studies, 3, 254–5 curriculum theory, 18 Dahl, Robert, 208–9 Damon, William, 187 decision making, schools, 73 Declining Significance of Race, The, 68 defensive teaching, 48, 49, 217 deliberation 253, 254, 259(n.17) democracy: assumptions of, 251; and education, 17–18, 185, 209; liberal, 21; participatory, 23; and tolerance, 237 Democracy, On, 208–9 democratic citizenship, 147–8 democratic realism, 21–2 democratic societies, 67 democratic theory of education, 9 Dewey, John, 8, 18, 19–21, 23, 252, 257 difference, Jewish, 157

discipline-based approaches, 32 disciplined inquiry, 55 discussion: benefits of, 208–10; definitions, 206–7; effective, characteristics of 210–12, 210(tab.21.1); failure of, 207–8 diverse worldview, 78–9, 83 diversity, and education, 67–75 drought-stricken climates, 219–21 ecumene, 167 education: for citizenship, 39–40, 197–201, 250, 251, 254; civic, 141–8; and diversity, 67–75; global, 11, 165, 171, 257–8; Holocaust, 153–5; issuescentered, 198–201; multicultual, 74, 186, 189; and society, 8 egalitarianism, 71–2 elaborated communication, 56 Ellison, Jeffrey, 155 engagement, civic 142, 148–9(n.12), 197–201 enlightened political engagement, 247 epluribus unum, 74 Epstein, Terrie, 231 essential principles, 67, 68–74 ethnocentrism, 175 extra- and cocurricular activities, 70 Facing History and Ourselves, 156 fear, reducing, 72 Fenton, Edwin, 30 fiction, use of, 175; selection criteria, 179–80 Finn, Chester, 25 Finney, Ross L., 27 five-nation study, 241 food, as basic need, 136–8 Fordham Foundation, 187, 188, 192 freedom, academic, 32 funding, equity of, 73–4 Galbraith, John K., 250 Gay, Geneva, 80 gays, and curriculum, 87–92 gender, and history, 98–9, 175, 180 gender role socialization, 98 geography, and maps, 121 Giroux, H.A. and Simon, R.I., 228 global education, 11, 165, 257–8; critics of, 171

Index global issues, and teaching, 168–9 globalization: and education, 165–71; and history, 184 Goldenson, D., 237, 241 Gollnick, D.M. and Chinn, P.C., 79 governance, school, 73; democratic, 254 government courses, evaluation of, 143 Gradwell, Jill, 49 Gutiérrez, Kris D., 70 Gutmann, Amy, 9, 209 Haggett, Peter, 121 Hahn, C.L., 241 Hall, Stuart, 229 Harley, J.B., 129 Hauser, Emily, 159 Heather Has Two Mommies, 92–3 Henry, Jules, 218 Hertzberg, Hazel, 26 heteronormativity, 87–8, 89, 92, 257 hidden curriculum, 89–90 historians, and content, 256 historical knowledge, process of, 36–9 historical thinking/understanding, 105–110, 113–18 history: American: controversy over, 28–9; as core of socal studies, 25; Europe as, 189; and gender, 98–9, 175, 180; of humankind, 191–3; and national identity, 95–6; and pedagogy, 230–1; purpose of, 185; and racial identity, 96–8; revival of, 31; and sexual orientation, 88–9, 90–1; and social identity, 97, 99–100; world, 183–93 history-social studies, 6 history teaching, reform of, 35 Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 235 Holocaust, 151–60; and anti-semitism, 156–7; attitudes to/challenges, 152–5; research based teaching, 155–8; sacralization/ trivialization, 151–2, 154 Holocaust Documentaries: Too much of a Bad Thing?, 153 Holocaust on Your Plate, 153 homophobia, 89 housing, as basic need, 134–6 humankind, history of, 191–3 human rights, and sexual orientation, 88–9 Huntington, Samuel, 187

• 265

Husain, Fatima, 178 hybridity, 79 identities, social: and history, 97, 99–100 identity: civic, 143; mature social, 144; national, and history, 95–6; racial, and history, 96–8; and teaching, 257 idiocy, 247–9, 250–4, 255–6 idiot, term, 248 implicit/hidden curriculum, 9, 257 in-depth understanding, 56 indoctrination, 20 inquiry teaching movement, 6 insider/outsider status, 177–8 instruction: and cultural universals, 138–9; and curriculum, 225–33 intellectual mission, and professional community, 62–3 intellectual work, defining, 53–4 interaction: effective 72, importance of, 252–3 interconnectedness, teaching, 167 intercultural relations, 72 intergroup relations, 71–2 International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), 209 international education, 11, 257–8 interpretation, and history teaching, 35–40 interracial relationships, fostering, 70 invisibility, of women, 180 Irwin, Rebekah, 157 Islamic Networks Group, 177 Israel, and Holocaust education, 154–5, 158 issues-centered education, 198–201 Jefferson, Thomas, 12 judicial restraint, climate of, 219 Just Community schools, 254 Kertesz, Imré, 153 Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, 5 King, Martin Luther, 12 Kliebard, Herbert, 26 knowledge: construction of, 54–7; of maps 123(figs.13.1;13.2); prior, 4, 55–6; social construction of, 70; social studies, 133

266

• Index

Knowledge Growth in Teaching Project, 227 Lacey, C., 221 Langton, K. and Jennings, M.K., 143 law-and-order climates, 222 learning, student: equity in, 69; engagement in, 62 learning, teacher 68–9 see also professional development; training Leming, James, 22 lesbians, and curriculum, 87–92 lessons: individual/independent work time, 84; student-led small groups, 83; teacher-led small group, 82–3; whole class, 81–2 Levin, H.M., 221 liberal democracy, 21 Life is Beautiful, 153 Lippmann, Walter, 7, 21 literature: colonial, 179; cultures depicted in 182(n.12); effects of, 178–9 Livnat, Limor, 159 Man: A Course of Study (MACOS), 30 Manning, Patrick, 184 Mansouri, Shabbir, 178 map learning, 125–7 maps: digital/images, 128; importance of, 121–2; mental, 125–6, 128; as social constructions, 129; strategies to increase map literacy, 130; teachers attitudes to, 125 Marx, Karl, 250 Matthew Effect, 3–4 mature social identity, 144 Maus I +II, 153 McEwan, H. and Bull, B., 229 McNeil, Linda, 48, 217–18 McNeill, William H., 167 media, and the Holocaust, 153, 159–60 memory, collective, 107–8 mental maps, 125–6, 128 method of intelligence, 20, 257 Model United Nations, 166 multicultural education, 74, 186, 189 multiculturalism, 187 multiethnic settings, culturally responsive instruction, 78 multiple perspectives, teaching, 166 Muslims, images of, 178

narratives, historical, 105, 107 Nation at Risk, A, 142 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) geography exam 123, 124(tab.13.1) National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), 29, 30, 31 National Geography Standards: Geography for Life (1994), 128 National Issues Forums, 255 National Standards for History, 191 nationalism, and history teaching, 185–6 Native American students, 83, 85 Native Hawaiian students, 83–4 Nevins, Allan, 28–9 new/newer social studies, 30 new world history, 191 New York Times : Holocaust Documentaries: Too much of a Bad Thing?, 153 New York Times crusade, 29 Niemoeller, Martin 235, 242(n.1) No Child Left Behind, 43, 142 Noddings, Ned, 89 Novick, Peter, 158 null curriculum, 8–9, 257 Nystrand, Martin, 205, 207, 208 Oliver, Donald W., 32 open classroom climate, 209; and tolerance, 241 organizational influences, on teachers’ practices, 47 organizational strategies, schools, 73 Orientalism, 179 Others, 175–81 outgroup members, 72 Paley, Vivian, 253–4 parental pressures, 218 Parker, Walter, 209 participation, civic 81–4, 118, 148–9(n.12),, 209 pathology/pessimism, climate of, 219–20, 221 patriotism, and education, 186 pedagogical content knowledge, 227 pedagogy: and content, 226–7, 229–30; defining, 228–9 Philips, S.U., 85 pluralism, 78 policies, school, 73

Index

• 267

race, declining significance of, 68 Ravitch, Diane, 31 reconstructionism, social, 18–21 reform, of teaching/assessment, 60 religion, Christian, and anti-semitism, 156–7 Report on Social Studies (1916), 27 research, world history, 188, 190 research based teaching, Holocaust, 155–8 Roby, Thomas, 208 Rothstein, Richard, 8 Rubin, B., 147 Rugg, Harold, 27–8, 32

Simon, Roger, 228 social construction, of knowledge, 70 social education, 6 Social Education, 10 social efficiency educators, 26 social identity, and history, 97, 99–100 social meliorists, 26 social perspectives, education, 10 social reconstructionism, 18–21, 26, 27–8 social studies: constraints to, 215–22; definition, 5, 6; discipline-based approaches, 32; as social science, 26; un-American, 30; wars, 25–32 Social Studies Reform, 26 Social Studies Wars, The, 25 social transformation, 17–18, 21–2, 27 socialization, teacher, 218 source work, 114–15, 116, 117, 118 South Asian Writers Network, 178 spatial thinking, 121–2, 128 Spector, Karen, 158 Spindler, G. and Spindler, L., 79 sports, benefits of, 70 standards movement, 60 Staples, Suzanne Fisher, 176, 177 State of State World History Standards 2006, The, 188, 192 State World History Standards, 189–91 stereotyping, 71, 87, 180 Stewart, Anna, 27 stifling climates, 216–18 strategic compliance, 221 Structured Academic Controversy, 255 Struggle for the American Curriculum, 26 Sullivan, J.L. et al. 242(n.5) superordinate groups, 71 Survivor, 153

Said, Edward, 179 Saturday Night Live, 205 Schindler’s List, 156 Seinfeld, Jerry, 205 self-esteem, and tolerance, 240 sexual diversity, training, 92 sexual orientation, and curriculum, 87–92 Shabanu, 176–8 Shabbas, Audrey, 179 shelter, as basic need, 134–6 Shklar, Judith, 251 Shulman, Lee, 226–7

teacher learning 68–9 see also professional development teachers: attitudes to maps, 125; credibility of, 237, 241; practices of, 37, 47; role in discussions, 207, 211, 212 teaching: constraints to, 215–22; good, 80–1, 85; Holocaust, 153–60 teaching/assessment, reform of, 60 Teaching Democracy, 209 Terrorists, Despots, and Democracy: What Our Children Need to Know, 187 testing, 44–5, 220; high-stakes, 43–4

policy factors influence, on teachers’ practices, 47 political activity, fostering, 144–5 political development, youth 143, 201, 202(n.3) political socialization, 7 Posner, George, 18 Posner, Richard, 21–2 Posselt, Julie, 209 postmodernism, and maps, 129 prejudice, 72 prior knowledge base, 55–6 Problems of Democracy (POD), 27 Producers, The, 153 professional community, and intellectual mission, 62–3 professional development 40, 63, 68, 188, 212 see also learning; training progressive education, and communism, 29 progressive education movement, 19 puberty, and idiocy, 248 public/private places, 252 public talk, competent, 253

268

• Index

tests, state, 50; and assessment practices, 45; and classroom practices, 46–50; and instructional strategies, 45–6 thinking historically, 113–18 Thornton, S.J. and Barton, K.C., 256 threatening climate, 219 Tocqueville, Alexis de, 248–9 Todd and Curti’s The American Nation, 225–6 tolerance: and democracies, 209; political 236–7, 239–40, 242(n.5;n.11) Tolerance for Diversity of Beliefs, 238–40 “tot sociology”, 31 training, sexual diversity 92 see also learning; professional development transmission-transformation question, 17–23, 256–7 Tye, Kenneth, 11 understanding, in-depth, 56 Urrieta, Luis, 187 value beyond school, 56–7 values, mainstream/diverse 79(tab.8.1) values, shared, 71–2 victimization, 156

Vietnam interview, 106–10 violence, desensitization, 153 Vogt, Paul, 237 voting rates, under 25s, 142 We the People program 237–8, 242(n.12) Western heritage: educators, 192; history, 186 Where Did Social Studies Go Wrong?, 25, 187 Whose Global Village?, 169 Williams, Raymond, 5 Willinsky, John, 232 Wingspread Conference, 30 Women of the World: Issues in Teaching, 176 workplaces, demands of: and authentic intellectual work, 61 world history, 183–93 World History Association (WHA), 184 World History for Us All, 193 worldview, diverse, 78–9 You Can’t Say You Can’t Play, 253–4 Youniss, James and Yates, Miranda, 143 Zeichner, K.M. and Gore, J.M., 218