Teaching Against War, for Humanity April 8, 2011

The latest issue of the War Resisters League magazine (Winter 2011), Living the Lesson, features an article by Rethinking Schools editor Bill Bigelow called “Teaching Against War, for Humanity.” Here is an excerpt:

. . . As columnist Gary Younge commented in The Nation, “The American people, it seems, are bored with war. Like a reality show that’s gone on too long, it ceases to shock, shame, or even interest.”

Regrettably, the school curriculum mirrors this lack of curiosity about the impact of U.S. military intervention thousands of miles from home. One of the most widely used high school global studies texts, McDougal Littell’s Modern World History, includes a propagandistic two pages on the Iraq War. The textbook includes no mention of the massive antiwar protests that preceded the U.S. invasion. The result of the war, according to McDougal Littell: “With the help of U.S. officials, Iraqis began rebuilding their nation.” The book gives George W. Bush the last words: “Free nations will press on to victory.” . . .

By contrast, Zinn Education Project materials describe how teachers engage students in a “people’s pedagogy” of role plays, simulations, and imaginative writing activities that place students in the position of organizers, rebels, and peacemakers throughout history. More . . .

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