ERIC Number: ED399247
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996
Textbooks: Sacred Cow or Sacred Trust?
Thompson, Patricia J.
These are the reflections of a textbook author in the course of revising a secondary school textbook. While the average life of a textbook is five years, many stay in schools for much longer. A textbook author or editor must therefore attempt to produce a book that will be relevant and meaningful for children years in the future. This involves the editor's awareness of serious changes in knowledge that could contribute to paradigm shifts, and knowledge of changing social norms. A related issue is the amount and kind of change that can be reflected in a textbook without damaging its appeal to prospective purchasers, i.e., the author's or editor's commitment to accuracy and utility versus the publisher s responsibility to its shareholders. A textbook author or editor must also be aware of the changes that occur in language, not only the language of mainstream culture, but the languages of teenagers and minority groups. In addition to the issues already addressed, the textbook author or editor may be involved in the question of whether textbooks should be politically correct, a charge often leveled at textbooks that address gender issues. Finally, there is the matter of textbooks, provided free to budget-strapped school districts by businesses, special interest groups, and governments, that promote the donors agendas or points of view. (Contains a figure illustrating "The Textbook's Niche in the Ecology of Education," and 25 references.) (MAH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, April 8-12, 1996).