loewenarg - In his book Lies My Teacher Told Me Everything...

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In his book, “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong,” James W. Loewen argues that the textbooks used to teach high school American History have repressed historical accuracy and covered up important truths resulting in an overall boredom and ignorance amongst the high school student. Mr. Loewen, a former professor of sociology at the University of Vermont who’s work has focused on the history and sociology of race relations, speaks of the damage high school history classes have had on the students he meets in his college courses and gives us examples by debunking the myths told by the textbooks he questions. He begins the chapter by giving the reader a statistically driven account of students’ experience with history classes in high school claiming that students, especially minorities, steer clear of history, are bored by history, and are unsuccessful at learning history. He attributes the source of this problem to the textbooks that are being used in the classroom. He talks about the textbooks he researched as being one sided, and misguiding with the facts, never giving the student a chance to think logically about a past event which leaves them unaware of why things are the way they are at present. He goes on to give an example of this by using an historic event often misrepresented by textbooks, the first Thanksgiving. With this example, Loewen gives the textbook account of the event and what he claims to be the real version of the event telling us why the facts about
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the event have been covered up. Many college students are required to take at least one history course here at FRCC. By the use of this book, we can begin to erase the years of the inaccurate portrayal of history by the textbooks and make history a more interesting and valuable subject for the students who are learning it. The first thing you are probably wondering is whether or not Loewen is a credible source and should be considered trustworthy. Loewen makes a claim that American history textbooks often take a proud, optimistic approach to the history of the United States which leaves the disadvantaged student blaming themselves for their situation instead of understanding why it is that they are disadvantaged and what they can do to change it. He writes, “Conversely, textbooks seldom use the past to illuminate the present….’You have a proud heritage. Be all that you can be. After all, look at what the United States has accomplished.’ While there is nothing wrong with optimism, it can be somewhat of a burden for students of color, children of working-class parents,…members of any group that has not achieved socioeconomic success. The optimistic approach prevents any understanding of failure other than blaming the
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This note was uploaded on 09/04/2011 for the course ENG 122 taught by Professor Skulley during the Spring '08 term at Front Range Community College.

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loewenarg - In his book Lies My Teacher Told Me Everything...

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