When History Class Feels Like Propaganda: A Student’s Perspective
History in school has always been taught in a way that depicts a nationalistic ideology and a celebratory narrative. Teachers try to maintain a certain dimension that focuses on the great past based on the ruling class without offering an equal alternative story of the past that carries the same weight. This version of history being taught is only self-serving at the expense of other views to influence students' believes.
History classroom as a propaganda communication space
There are several ways propaganda manifests itself in school on how the curriculum is being presented to students. Political representation, patriotism, and national identity are still being perceived as the true essence of the history course.
The reality is the subject has always centered as a tool to communicate celebratory myths and narratives without critically enlightening the students on divergent experiences and perspectives like ‘black history.’
Students who get high marks due to writix.co.uk and regularly write on such issues say that there are many ways of it. For example, black history is ignored in the curriculum and taught as though it is not part of American history. By the time a student completes school, the status quo has accomplished its goal of determining a whole generation’s future perspective of the past it wants to be remembered for.
How teachers focus on what’s appropriate and expected
National identity and patriotism have been mentioned as the founding principles of the history course. However, the curriculum has gone overboard by adding more constructivist influences that impact the students’ learning and knowledge. The history curriculum has only worded identity and patriotism on unidentified students rather than a particular student’s community.
What is doctrinally correct has covered most of the history class course, which leaves many students ‘ignorant’ of a ‘beautiful’ or ‘ugly’ past. Most of the representations being offered are majorly intertwined with what the status quo in government sets as part of its national and cultural identity.
The politics of teaching history in school
Most of the curriculum is written by conservatives who are clouded by a string of politically and religiously motivated historical distortions. What is politically correct covers most of the history course is taught in high school through college.
It is easy to lose sight of the connection between what students learn in a history class vis-à-vis the civic ideals of patriotism and the national identity they are trying to communicate.
High school and college students spend most of their time learning about these false nationalistic narratives influenced by the political class and miss out on the real essence, which includes these civic values.
What students learn is highly filtered through the political demographics of their local communities. This is also a scheme by the political status quo to deny students an important aspect that influenced their past.
“One truth” turns into propaganda
It is important to include multiple approaches and divergent views from the past so that students appreciate all narratives that form part of American history. This isn’t the case, though, as the focus has been based on a single and central grid of knowledge or “one truth.” For instance, we are taught about Abraham Lincoln and the emancipation of slaves, and his belief in the equality of all people.
What we are not told is he didn’t believe in black equality rather his Christian ideals against slavery. There is a lot of pro-American propaganda being ushered in, depicting America as the world’s savior and no exception to this single truth. This is dangerous as it widens the ignorance gap because a generation is raised without the knowledge of ‘bad’ American influences in and out of its borders.
Every country and government is justified to write its history and offer students the knowledge of what makes the country a great nation. America’s history is full of heroic and celebratory events and ignores most of its ‘ugly truths’. This leaves many history students ignorant of their past. There needs to be a comprehensive approach to what students are being taught as American history. The curriculum should accommodate diverse narratives in addition to the ideals that form this great nation.
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