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Teaching Difficult Histories in Difficult Times

Stories of Practice

Lauren McArthur Harris Maia Sheppard Sara A. Levy Wayne Journell Cinthia Salinas

224 pages
Teachers College Press

Despite limitations and challenges, teaching about difficult histories is an essential aspect of social studies courses and units across grade levels. This practical resource highlights stories of K–12 practitioners who have critically examined and reflected on their experiences with planning and teaching histories identified as difficult. Featuring the voices of teacher educators, classroom teachers, and museum educators, these stories provide readers with rare examples of how to plan for, teach, and reflect on difficult histories. The book is divided into four main sections: Centering Difficult History Content, Centering Teacher and Student Identities, Centering Local and Community Contexts, and Centering Teacher Decision-making. Key topics include teaching about genocide, slavery, immigration, war, racial violence, and terrorism. This dynamic book highlights the practitioner’s perspective to reveal how teachers can and do think critically about their motivations and the methods they use to engage students in rigorous, complex, and appropriate studies of the past.

Book Features:

  • Expanded notions of what difficult histories can be and how they can be approached pedagogically.
  • Thoughtful pictures of practice of some of the most complex histories to teach.
  • Stories of K–12 teachers and museum educators with the research of leading scholars in social studies education.
  • Examples from a wide range of educational contexts in the United States and other countries.
  • Resources useful to teachers and teacher educators.
Author Bio

Lauren McArthur Harris is an associate professor of history education at Arizona State University. Maia Sheppard is an assistant professor and coordinator of social studies education at the University of Iowa. Sara A. Levy is an associate professor of education at Ithaca College.