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Thread: Schools expect textbooks to be a valuable source of information for students.

  1. #1
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    Schools expect textbooks to be a valuable source of information for students.

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    Schools expect textbooks to be a valuable source of information for students. My research suggests, however, that textbooks that address the place of Native Americans within the history of the United States distort history to suit a particular cultural value system. In some textbooks, for example, settlers are pictured as more humane, complex, skillful, and wise than Native American. In essence, textbooks stereotype and deprecate the numerous Native American cultures while reinforcing the attitude that the European conquest of the New World denotes the superiority of European cultures. Although textbooks evaluate Native American architecture, political systems, and homemaking, I contend that they do it from an ethnocentric, European perspective without recognizing that other perspectives are possible.
    One argument against my contention asserts that, by nature, textbooks are culturally biased and that I am simply underestimating children’s ability to see through these biases. Some researchers even claim that by the time students are in high school, they know they cannot take textbooks literally. Yet substantial evidence exists to the contrary. Two researchers, for example, have conducted studies that suggest that children’s attitudes about particular culture are strongly influenced by the textbooks used in schools. Given this, an ongoing, careful review of how school textbooks depict Native American is certainly warranted.

    1. Which of the following would most logically be the topic of the paragraph immediately following the passage?
    (A) Specific ways to evaluate the biases of United States history textbooks
    (B) The centrality of the teacher’s role in United States history courses
    (C) Nontraditional methods of teaching United States history
    (D) The contributions of European immigrants to the development of the United StatesA
    (E) Ways in which parents influence children’s political attitudes

    How to deal with this type of question? Placing oneself in author's position might give subjective results.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rezbipul View Post
    Schools expect textbooks to be a valuable source of information for students. My research suggests, however, that textbooks that address the place of Native Americans within the history of the United States distort history to suit a particular cultural value system. In some textbooks, for example, settlers are pictured as more humane, complex, skillful, and wise than Native American. In essence, textbooks stereotype and deprecate the numerous Native American cultures while reinforcing the attitude that the European conquest of the New World denotes the superiority of European cultures. Although textbooks evaluate Native American architecture, political systems, and homemaking, I contend that they do it from an ethnocentric, European perspective without recognizing that other perspectives are possible.
    One argument against my contention asserts that, by nature, textbooks are culturally biased and that I am simply underestimating children’s ability to see through these biases. Some researchers even claim that by the time students are in high school, they know they cannot take textbooks literally. Yet substantial evidence exists to the contrary. Two researchers, for example, have conducted studies that suggest that children’s attitudes about particular culture are strongly influenced by the textbooks used in schools. Given this, an ongoing, careful review of how school textbooks depict Native American is certainly warranted.

    1. Which of the following would most logically be the topic of the paragraph immediately following the passage?
    (A) Specific ways to evaluate the biases of United States history textbooks
    (B) The centrality of the teacher’s role in United States history courses
    (C) Nontraditional methods of teaching United States history
    (D) The contributions of European immigrants to the development of the United StatesA
    (E) Ways in which parents influence children’s political attitudes

    How to deal with this type of question? Placing oneself in author's position might give subjective results.

    The best way is the process of elimination.
    Except A, no option satisfies the question.
    Last edited by lol; 06-04-2007 at 04:53 AM.

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    Re: Schools expect textbooks to be a valuable source of information for students.

    Quote Originally Posted by lol View Post
    The best way is the process of elimination.
    Except A, no option satisfies the question.
    Can anyone explain why (A) rather than (C) is correct answer for question 6?

    With this piece, the author clearly proved that bias in textbooks both exist and that it affects children's attitudes:
    Code:
    Two researchers, for example, have conducted studies
    that suggest that children’s attitudes about particular cultures
    are strongly influenced by the textbooks used in schools.
    Given the conclusion "review of how textbooks depict", it's clearly time to proceed to what should be done to resolve the problem -- rather than going back to what biases exist and how to evaluate them.

    And the closest thing to "resolving" the problem is to turn to alternative textbooks (and therefore methods countering traditional approach). Existence of such textbooks follows from "In some textbooks are depicted as more .... than Natives" -- if some have biases, some others likely don't have them.

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