Moving Asian American History from the Margins to the Middle in Elementary Social Studies Classrooms
Keywords:Asian American Teachers, Asian American History, Elementary Social Studies, Teachers of Color, Cultural Citizenship
This article describes how three Asian American elementary teachers in Texas reflected on the absence of Asian American histories in their own educational experiences, which later inspired them to teach Asian American histories in their classrooms. The teachers’ lessons about Asian American history required them to first (re)define the term Asian American with their students, and the teachers also (re)defined what it meant to be American. Ultimately, they promoted cultural citizenship, which is more inclusive and critical than traditional forms of citizenship that are defined by individual acts like voting and following rules. Cultural citizenship promotes difference as a resource; emphasizes the need to respect and humanize others; includes the voices, experiences, and perspectives of People of Color; and emphasizes human rights and agency. Asian American children’s literature was an essential tool in disrupting exclusionary histories and notions of citizenship as equal to whiteness, and the teachers' work demonstrates how educators can move Asian Americans from the margins to the middle of social studies instruction to support better teaching of U.S. history and democracy.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Noreen Rodriguez
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