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 Simplifying our history lessons (Rosa Parks article) 
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The Rosa Parks article for this week was very interesting to me. I remember how surprised I was when I learned that the Roe v. Wade case was not something that just happened spontaneously--but that it was planned by legal groups who were looking for someone who would be willing to challenge the law, just as Rosa Parks took on the role of the victim (not to say she wasn't a victim of discrimination, etc) in order to present a challenge to the law.

As one who plans to teach social studies, I guess I wonder about what to teach to students at what grade level. Do we need simplified versions of history for younger kids, like our stories of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington which leave out so much? Or do we say from the outset that it's more complicated than that?

How do y'all feel about the issues raised in this article and the Helen Keller article? I think sometimes history is just too complicated and those writing or teaching feel they simply have to streamline it to get any lesson across at all.


Sat Mar 19, 2005 9:44 pm
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Like Dana I was also surprised at both these articles. I only remember being told about the “simpleâ€


Tue Mar 22, 2005 3:20 am
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I think it is important to convey the true events of history. I understand that it is easier to convey Rosa Parks as a tired older woman who just did not have the energy to give up her seat. However, it is more important that students get the true facts, don't you think?


Thu Mar 24, 2005 11:21 pm
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I agree with Allison. I feel we should always tell the truth about history, no matter what it is about. If we were to tell another side and students were later to find out that it was false, they may hold a grudge on us for lying to them.
Students need to know where they came from, so they can try to prevent things like the things Rosa Parks went through, from occurring again.


Thu Mar 24, 2005 11:38 pm
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This is something that I have also struggled with. In my CI 3850 class we read the first chapter of an awesome book "Lies My Teacher Told Me", by James W. Lowen. I recommend this book to all who plan on being teachers. It is an excellent book that reveals many lies that we were taught. The first chapter talks about Helen Keller and President Woodrow Wilson. I was absolutely amazed to find out about all the things Mr. Wilson did that we were never informed of in highschool. They portrayed him as such a good and just man when in fact he was really a big racist. The articles we read for this class and the chapters I have read in the book have really made me think about what I am going to teach my students. I think that it is important to teach the truth. Young children can handle a lot more than we give them credit for. Yes there are some things that just need to be withheld from them atleast until late middle school and highschool, however it really dissappointed me that my teachers withheld so much from me when I was in highschool and I am just learning of them now. It really angers and saddens me, but it also has made me a better person because it has caused me to question my teaching philosophy and how I want to teach history to my students.[/u]


Wed Mar 30, 2005 8:44 pm
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Yes it is important to get the over all message across to our stundents, but often "dumbing it down" really misses some imprtant parts. As in the Rosa Parks case, by simply saying that Mrs. Parks was simply tired and gave not thought to what she was doing not only belittles her, but the entire Civil Rights movement. Also as a social studies teacher as I believe that if you don't include some very important aspects to your history lessons then they become less powerful, less meaning ful, and less interesting.


Mon Apr 04, 2005 4:49 pm
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I believe that the students should hear the whole truth. As everyone else has said, if they find out we didn't tell them the truth how can they believe anything we tell them. It may not be pretty and some parents may become upset, but the students deserve the best we can give them.


Tue Apr 05, 2005 3:48 pm
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“The Winners Get To Write Historyâ€


Wed Apr 06, 2005 10:05 pm
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