ERIC Number: ED260010
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985
Should History Textbooks Remember Differently?
Lee, Helen C.
The failure of history textbooks to teach about ordinary people and events is examined, and what teachers can do to overcome this shortcoming of texts is discussed. History texts emphasize political history, wars, battles, and chronicles of great persons and events of the past. Scant attention is paid to the lives of ordinary men and women. This is not to say that no books tell the story of ordinary people; there are some, e.g., Traill's "Social England" and Davis'"Life on a Medieval Barony." Recent historiographies suggest that wars, battles, and leaders are more like punctuation marks than ways to organize thinking about the main currents that energize events. Students need to be exposed to real history, a panorama of slowly developing civilizations, affected only peripherally by great events, but really created by geography, trade, climate, technology, marine development, agriculture, human differences and likenesses, and groupings. Teachers should read historians whose subjects direct attention to the mass of small figures at the bottom of history rather than the small cluster at the top. Classroom activities should be designed based on these readings. Teachers should assign students supplementary readings about ordinary folk. (RM)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A