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ERIC Number: ED315333
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Nov-18
Pages: 17
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Heritage Education in the School Curriculum.
Patrick, John J.
There is no need to create a new curriculum in heritage education. Rather, there is an imperative to use the existing curriculum more effectively, to infuse it with the best content on U.S. history and culture, including models of the built environment that embody and reflect the values, aspirations, and achievements of preceding generations. There are at least five pitfalls that heritage educators must avoid, however: (1) Elitism is an overemphasis on the dominant political and social figures in the past that excludes the heritage of the majority of people. (2) Extreme pluralism is an overemphasis on diversity. Such an approach would foster ethnic group separatism and divisiveness in society and diminish national unity and identity. (3) Localism refers to an overriding concern with the history and culture of particular places and promotes parochialism at the expense of cosmopolitanism. (4) Romanticism in heritage education refers to an indiscriminate and uncritical education about the nation's history and culture, which overlooks the blemishes of the past. (5) Anti-intellectualism stems from an overemphasis on experiential learning. Avoidance of these pitfalls can open the way to cultural literacy for students, knowledge of key facts and ideas of a human community needed for intelligent and fruitful participation in the community. Cultural literacy can be enhanced by visiting historic sites. In this way abstractions of the past can be linked to tangible forms of the present, and empathy for people of the past is encouraged. The use of historic landmarks to foster cultural literacy is one of the strongest justifications for historic preservation and heritage education. (JB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A