Blog Post 7

I found this reading interesting because it focused on who students and adults see as the most famous people in American history. Many people listed Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman, all three of which were key in the fight for racial equality. These were the top three most famous Americans on many students lists. When it came to differences between student responses, the biggest difference came because of race. White students listed these three names but at a smaller percentage than black students. White students tended to list a combination of black and white figures, while black students tended to list mostly black figures. I thought it was interesting that the authors asked students who the most famous Americans in history were with the restriction of no presidents or wives of presidents. They knew that if they would not have placed this restriction, students would list only presidents as the famous Americans. They wanted to see who students thought were famous without including presidents. They gave students ten blank lines and told them to write down who they thought was important to American history, then asked them to specifically list women. By doing this they found that if students had women listed in the first part of the list, they would often erase the women and place them only in the second part of the list.

Source: Wineburg & Monte-Sano (2008)

Some of the people that the students listed as being influential are not always talked about in textbooks. This is seen with Harriet Tubman. Many students listed her as being an important figure, but even the most widely used textbook, American Pageant, did not mention her until the fourth edition, with only two sentences written about her. I think a teacher could use a questionnaire like this in their classroom to gauge what students know and what they think is important in history. Teachers can then use this information to shape their lessons, and utilize things other than textbooks to teach their students about important figures in American history because not every important figure is talked about in a book.

Image result for american pageant 4th edition

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