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Why Learn History (When It's Already on Your Phone) Paperback – 17 Sep 2018


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Jill Lepore
‘‘A sobering and urgent report from the leading expert on how American history is taught in the nation's schools. Wineburg offers a set of timely and elegant essays on everything from the nuttiness of standardized testing regimes to the problems kids have, in the age of the internet, in knowing what's true, and what's not--problems that teachers have, too, along with everyone else. A bracing, edifying, and vital book.''
 James W. Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me
‘‘If every K-12 teacher of history and social studies read just three chapters of this book--'Crazy for History,' 'Changing History One Classroom at a Time,' and 'Why Google Can't Save Us'--the ensuing transformation of our populace would save our democracy.''
Mike Rose, University of California Los Angeles
‘‘At a time when we are overwhelmed with information and vulnerable to malign influence, Wineburg guides us with deft and provocative writing to not only think better historically but to think better, period. We need this book.''
Kenneth Pomeranz, University of Chicago, past president, American Historical Association
‘‘Why Learn History asks basic questions about what we should aim to accomplish in history classes, what it means to foster modes of critical thinking, and how teachers at all levels could do a better job of making history matter. Wineburg convincingly critiques common misdiagnoses and proposed solutions of the discipline's problems, which usually begin with some list of facts students do not know and then inevitably lead to a narrow focus on improving factual knowledge. He opens up space for a urgently needed discussion of how to teach students not just what historians (and, often, Wikipedia) know, but how historians think--and why historical thinking, even more than historical knowledge, is good for individuals and communities.''
Michelle Herczog, past president, National Council for the Social Studies
‘‘Sam Wineburg's groundbreaking work on historical thinking has proven to be a game changer for thousands of history teachers around the world, impacting millions of young people's perspective of the past, the present, and the future. Never one to remain stagnant, his work has been enriched and taken on increasingly new significance in a twenty-first-century world that is overrun with information at our fingertips that may be factual, misinterpreted, fabricated, or contrived. The future of our democracy, and the future of all humankind benefits from this important work.''
James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association
‘‘Historians generally know more about what we teach than about what students learn. Sam Wineburg tells us why that's a problem. We need to listen.''
Larry Cuban, Stanford University
‘‘From the researcher who put ‘historical thinking' on the pedagogical map comes a book that applies the concept to the pervasive digital distortion of data.  Figuring out what sources are biased and which can be relied upon, discerning the true from the false at a time when ‘fake news' is rampant is essential for students as they become taxpayers, voters, and parents in a democracy. Why Learn History? is a call to action for educational policymakers and practitioners to make schools sites for the critical examination of the tsunami of data inundating Americans.''
Daniel Willingham, University of Virginia
‘‘To grasp how children think about and use the Internet as they struggle to understand history, you must know how children think. No one it more insightful than Sam Wineburg in explaining how the Internet is affecting student learning today, and how it can better fulfill its promise.''

About the Author

Sam Wineburg is the Margaret Jacks Professor of Education and History at Stanford University and the author of Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts.

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