Interpreting National History : Race, Identity, and Pedagogy in Classrooms and Communities book cover
1st Edition

Interpreting National History
Race, Identity, and Pedagogy in Classrooms and Communities

ISBN 9780415960847
Published September 19, 2008 by Routledge
192 Pages

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Book Description

How do students’ racial identities work with and against teachers’ pedagogies to shape their understandings of history and contemporary society? Based on a long-term ethnographic study, Interpreting National History examines the startling differences in black and white students' interpretations of U.S. history in classroom and community settings. Interviews with children and teens compare and contrast the historical interpretations students bring with them to the classroom with those they leave with after a year of teacher's instruction. Firmly grounded in history and social studies education theory and practice, this powerful book:

Illuminates how textbooks, pedagogies, and contemporary learning standards are often disconnected from students’ cultural identities

Explores how students and parents interpret history and society in home and community settings

Successfully analyzes examples of the challenges and possibilities facing teachers of history and social studies

Provides alternative approaches for those who want to examine their own views toward teaching national history and aspire to engage in more culturally responsive pedagogy.

Table of Contents

Series Editor's Introduction Lee Anne Bell

Chapter 1: Whose History? The Role of Identity, Pedagogy, and Power in Teaching and Learning U.S. History

Chapter 2: Mixed Messages and Missed Opportunities: Teachers’ Perspectives and Pedagogies on Race and Rights in U.S. History

Chapter 3: The Racial Divide: Differences in White and Black Students’ Interpretations of U.S. History

Chapter 4: Beyond the Classroom Door: Differences in Adolescents’ and Adults’ Interpretations of History and Society in Home and Community Settings

Chapter 5: Re-envisioning the Racial Divide: Teaching and Learning History Across Differences

Appendix A: Fifth Grade Picture Cards
Appendix B: Picture Cards for Eighth and Eleventh Graders
Appendix C: Research Methods

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Terrie Epstein is Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching, Hunter College and an affiliated faculty member of the Ph. D. Program in Urban Education at the CUNY Graduate Center.


"Her [Epstein] book should appeal to several audiences. First, particularly for students of educational research, her analysis of how and why children and adolescents arrive at school with substantially different preconceived narratives about American history--and complete entire history courses with those dichotomous narratives substantially intact--makes a fascinating and instructive research case study (Yin, 2009) on the effects of pedagogy and curriculum materials on learning....Second, particularly for teachers of history, social studies, and race and ethnicity, her book provides several empirically-tested suggestions for how best to teach about and discuss issues of race, both to ethnically homogenous and multi-ethnic classes. Moreover, she provides numerous resources for curriculum and supplemental materials and activities that could well enrich both in-class and out-of-class learning about race in U.S. history." -- Teachers College Record, Date Published: January 22, 2009

"Overall, this text serves as a great tool for those who wish to see the interplay between culturally responsive, culturally relevant, and social justice education. Epstein masterfully makes a case for the presence of these elements in the teaching of national history in order to enact altering learning experiences for all students, regardless of race." -- Alexandra Cuenca, Education Review, Date Published: April 23, 2009

"Epstein’s work provides an in-depth and rich set of data and findings that would be suitable for a range of classes, from pre-service programs through doctoral-level classes. The writing is accessible and engaging, and at 146 pages, compact and approachable."—Jeremy Stoddard, Theory & Research in Social Education (Winter 2009): 140-143