Trust Me I Need Complexity
Disrupting simplified and sanitized social studies in elementary classrooms
Keywords:Social Studies, Historically Marginalized, Race, Eurocentric, History Textbooks
Elementary social studies can and should be taught through an age-appropriate lens of complexity which includes multiple perspectives that students evaluate in order to form evidence-based claims. Social Studies textbooks have often been critiqued for oversimplifying historical events with sanitized versions of the past (Calderón, 2014; Ladson-Billings, 2003; Loewen, 2008; Peterson, 2008). The tendency in elementary social studies has been to smooth over conflict (Cowhey, 2006; Peterson, 2008). To help elementary teachers disrupt sanitized versions of social studies, I urge that we start trusting students to grapple with complex narratives. First, I demonstrate the prolific existence of sanitized stories in social studies textbooks. Next, a rationale for and descriptions of complex narratives are provided. Lastly, a ‘Complex Questioning Framework’ is presented to help educators identify sanitized social studies in order to add the necessary complexities.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Jessica Ferreras-Stone
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