ERIC Number: EJ1229105
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Abstractor: As Provided
Justice Then and Now: Engaging Students in Critical Thinking about Justice and History
Cummings, Ryan D.
Social Studies, v110 n6 p281-292 2019
The typical U.S. history curriculum does not ask students to think about justice. While ignoring injustice may reduce controversy in the classroom, critically thinking about justice engages students and prepares them to be citizens in an often contentious democracy. This article proposes five characteristics of history curricula that support critical thinking about justice. These characteristics center research on culturally responsive education and justice-oriented citizenship that is applicable to the discipline of history. Studies on justice-oriented classrooms and teaching about controversy are cited to show the irrelevance of curricula that ignore injustice, the benefits of engaging controversies in history, and the way in which studying injustice in history prepares students to actively oppose current injustices. The five characteristics that support critical thinking about justice and history (CTJH) are then implemented in a series of lessons and a culminating task that demonstrate how CTJH could be implemented in a U.S. history unit on western expansion. These lessons ask students to evaluate the ideals of "Manifest Destiny" from a justice-oriented perspective. Students are tasked with making connections between historic events and primary sources which demonstrate a belief in the supremacy of White American culture throughout U.S. history and current arguments that criminalize Latinx immigrants.
Descriptors: Critical Thinking, Social Justice, History Instruction, United States History, Culturally Relevant Education, Controversial Issues (Course Content), Land Settlement, Intergroup Relations, Whites, Hispanic Americans, Immigrants, Writing Assignments
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A