Publication Date: December 25, 2020
Learn how to enact justice-oriented pedagogy and foster students’ critical engagement in today’s history classroom. Over the past 2 decades, various scholars have rightfully argued that we need to teach students to “think like a historian” or “think like a democratic citizen.” In this book, the authors advocate for cultivating activist thinking in the history classroom. Teachers can use Teaching History for Justice to show students how activism was used in the past to seek justice, how past social movements connect to the present, and how democratic tools can be used to change society. The first section examines the theoretical and research foundation for “thinking like an activist” and outlines three related pedagogical concepts: social inquiry, critical multiculturalism, and transformative democratic citizenship. The second section presents vignettes based on the authors’ studies of elementary, middle, and high school history teachers who engage in justice-oriented teaching practices.
Christopher C. Martell is an assistant professor of social studies education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Kaylene M. Stevens is a lecturer of social studies education at Boston University. Both were formerly high school history teachers in the Framingham Public Schools, which is an urban district outside Boston, Massachusetts.
“Martell and Stevens offer an original and compelling framework for teaching history for social justice in the United States. Drawing on theories and practices of social activism, the authors argue that a critical approach to history education informed by social activism can enable students to understand how past social movements have led to greater justice in the present, and how a critical activist orientation can empower students in the present to promote social justice today and in the future. By including multiple examples of history teachers in diverse settings and at different grade levels who have enacted activist-oriented approaches, the book is among the most important and relevant resources for teaching and learning history during politically contentious times.”
—Terrie Epstein, chair and professor of education, Hunter College, City University of New York
“In the wake of uprisings across the United States demanding racial justice,Teaching History for Justice is a timely contribution for social studies educators seeking to create classrooms focused on social change. Martell and Stevens not only make a compelling case for the need for justice in history education, but also provide educators with frameworks and pedagogical insights to cultivate students as activists. The approaches, strategies, and ideas found in this book give social studies educators a clear roadmap to leverage history education to create a more just and equitable future.”
—Alexander Cuenca, assistant professor, Indiana University