Mary Ann Zehr wrote an excellent post this week in the EdWeek Curriculum Matters blog titled U.S. History Textbooks’ Omissions.
She writes about a study of how different textbooks cover the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the recommendations made by Michael Romanowski. I’d suggest you read the entire post, but I’d like to share a quote here:
“Romanowski urges teachers to support students in critiquing their textbooks and exploring perspectives beyond that of the texts. Teachers can ask their students, for example, to answer this question: “Whose viewpoint is presented, whose omitted, and whose interests are served?” Teachers can have them explore reactions of various Americans to a historical event, such as the attacks of 9/11, including that of the U.S. president, a member of Congress, a relative of a victim, and an Arab-American. Lastly, Romanowski recommends, teachers can use writing assignments to develop students’ critical thinking.”
Mary Ann goes on to suggest that those same recommendations can be applied to any textbook lesson.
I’d go even further, and say these are good guidelines for how all students, including English Language Learners, could respond to any expository text — whether it’s from a textbook or not.