Pros And Cons Of Lies My Teacher Told Me

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History textbooks teach students about the vast achievements of American history, but many leave out the harsh realities that the American timeline includes. In James Loewen’s Lies My Teacher Told Me, Loewen dives deeper into the greater effects of selective writing in these textbooks that are distributed into the hands of students. According to the book, it is taught this way to invoke patriotism, optimism, and to cater to publishers and school districts. In an attempt to create interest among students, there often are additions of flashy and unnecessary visual aids, like chapter outlines. The cons of this selectiveness and sugarcoating outweigh the pros. For example, the only benefit of this writing is comprehensive coverage. However, this …show more content…

For example, in Chapter 7, “The Land of Opportunity”, Loewen describes the idea of class bias. The notion goes as follows, many people immigrate into the country, in hopes of moving up the socioeconomic ladder. History textbooks assist in supplying such false hopes by displaying moments in history, essentially claiming that anyone, even poor immigrants can climb the ranks, if they put their mind to it. These texts completely ignore biases, as well as the classist system itself. Additionally, they create blandly optimistic images of success into the minds of young students, claiming that with enough effort, everything will go your way. On the contrary, when these prosperities do not occur, as stated before, this idea creates the perception that only lazy people fail to be successful, rather than explaining the classist system itself. This is proven in many historical events. As an illustration, the author uses the Titanic, and the numbers do not lie. He writes, “While it was sad when the great ship Titanic went down…it was the saddest for the lower class: among women, only 4 of the 143 first-class passengers were lost, while 15 of 93 second class passengers drowned, along with 81 of the 173 third-class women and girls. The crew ordered third-class passengers to remain below deck, holding some there at gunpoint” (Loewen, 210). With this …show more content…

In the chapters in which students should be studying to learn from the past, it is instead filled with promises of a happy, hopeful future, completely disregarding the issues of the past, suggesting that they will not happen again. However, with this form of education, Loewen says, not only is this counterproductive, but it does not connect the past, present, and future. These eras in time are rather displayed as uncoordinated, which can be harmful to the learning of students. Instead, Loewen proposes, authors need to stress that individuals have the power to change the future, and that hope and happiness does not come without the effort of everyone. In addition, he argues that people should learn from the mistakes of the past, instead of glazing over the facts and proceeding forward. It allows the newer generation to see their predecessors’ solutions to issues like nuclear and environmental issues, and see if their attempts were successful or unsuccessful. This will then allow them to create better and more effective resolutions to problems. The substance of these concluding chapters are new knowledge to me. In fact, I did not realize these closures were so unproductive until reading this chapter. I find this alarming, again with the false optimism. It sets unrealistic expectations for the future generations, as well as places pressure on the future generations to do

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