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# History textbooks in the United States are far too fact-based and even

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History textbooks in the United States are far too fact-based and even  [#permalink]

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13 Nov 2019, 01:33
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 447, Date: 12-Nov-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details

History textbooks in the United States are far too fact-based and even have the ability to make students feel as though all history is made up of “Quick-Facts” and diagrams, not dynamic events to be critically analyzed. Furthermore, it is often the case that textbooks are given undue authority in determining the curriculum; many teachers simply “teach the book.”

This is particularly disturbing when considering the fact that state committees for choosing textbooks often treat them, in the words of Sandra Wong, “more like encyclopedias of facts than as cultural products that convey values and perspectives” when deciding which ones to pick. In her article “Evaluating the Content of Textbooks: Public Interests and Professional Authority,” Wong discusses how textbook committees are rarely concerned with the actual substance of the writing in the textbooks they evaluate, and are far more interested in things like “charts, illustrations, and introductory outlines.”

What, then, would be a better tool to use in the high school classroom than textbooks or timelines for creating an effective learning environment that could reflect the dynamic nature of historical study? Out of all the various alternatives—going to plays, hearing speakers, listening to music, using interactive online resources, elucidating connections to students’ personal lives by going to local history museums or having students write autobiographical essays, etc.—the most promising is, by far, film. Movies are a magnificent way into history for even the most resistant naysayer of historical study. Film is a hugely popular medium with endless numbers of historically based works—everything from documentaries to dramas—that not only present facts, but dramatize the human relations behind those facts.

The main critique presented against the use of historical film in the classroom is, of course, the existence of rampant inaccuracies and biases laced throughout these films, not to mention the agendas of the filmmakers themselves. However, some historians believe that these seeming flaws are actually part of the reason why film is an ideal teaching tool—not only does it allow students to see history come to life, and thus interact with it dynamically, as well as make history immediately accessible to a modern audience because of the techniques used in filmmaking, but it can also foster deep critical thinking skills if instructors lead dialogues after film viewings about the inaccuracies, the biases, and all of the things that make the film not just a record of a historical event, but also a reflection of the modern moment.

Spoiler: :: OA
C

1. Which of the following is not cited by the passage as an alternative method for historical study?

(A) Listening to music
(B) Attending a lecture
(C) Volunteering at an archeology dig
(D) Writing a personal statement
(E) Watching a film

Spoiler: :: OA
D

2. The purpose of the passage is to

(A) support the film industry
(B) criticize government education policies
(D) propose increased use of a particular didactic tool
(E) denigrate an established philosophy

Spoiler: :: OA
B

3. According to the passage, a problem with state committee textbook selection is

(A) the lack of education of the committee members
(B) misplaced priorities
(C) the dominance of larger states
(D) valuing perspectives instead of facts
(E) personal prejudices

Spoiler: :: OA
B

4. The purpose of the last paragraph is to

(A) acknowledge an insurmountable obstacle
(B) raise and undermine an objection
(C) reassert the need for alternative educational tools
(D) admit a flaw in a preferred alternative

Spoiler: :: OA
A

5. The passage implies which of the following?

(A) Students can benefit from exposure to inaccurate accounts of history.
(B) Students today prefer music to film.
(C) Students today are functional illiterates.
(D) Students today prefer charts to opinions.
(E) Students today should not be exposed to political agendas.

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Re: History textbooks in the United States are far too fact-based and even  [#permalink]

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13 Nov 2019, 23:25
1
in Q 2, I was confused between C and D. Need explanation.
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Re: History textbooks in the United States are far too fact-based and even  [#permalink]

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14 Nov 2019, 01:28
2
1
Hea234ven wrote:
in Q 2, I was confused between C and D. Need explanation.

Official Explanation

2. The purpose of the passage is to

Explanation

The passage, after establishing problems with textbooks, proposes film as a vehicle for teaching history. Since film is mentioned as a current alternative, it is being used now to teach history, but the author would like to expand this use. “Didactic” means “intended to instruct,” so films used to teach history would certainly qualify as a “didactic tool.” Thus, (D) is correct.

Choice (A) is out of scope and ignores the educational thrust.

Choices (B) and (C) are out of scope and do not include the bulk of the passage, which propose film as a learning tool.

Choice (E) is too negative—an author would not “denigrate”—and “philosophy” is an inappropriate word for the passage (using textbooks is hardly a “philosophy” so much as just a common practice).

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Re: History textbooks in the United States are far too fact-based and even  [#permalink]

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04 Feb 2020, 23:33
+1 Kudos to posts containing answer explanation of all questions
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Re: History textbooks in the United States are far too fact-based and even  [#permalink]

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08 Apr 2020, 23:45
Can someone please explain Question 4?
It says "raise and undermine an objection" is correct. Raise an objection is fine but I didn't select this option due to the word "undermine". Where it is mentioned in paragraph about "less effectiveness" of films
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History textbooks in the United States are far too fact-based and even  [#permalink]

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09 Apr 2020, 22:13
Farina wrote:
Can someone please explain Question 4?
It says "raise and undermine an objection" is correct. Raise an objection is fine but I didn't select this option due to the word "undermine". Where it is mentioned in paragraph about "less effectiveness" of films

Official Explanation

4. The purpose of the last paragraph is to

Difficulty Level: 650

Explanation

The final paragraph begins by mentioning the main criticism of this proposal but then argues that this supposed flaw is in fact a virtue and a golden opportunity. Thus, choice (B) is correct.

Choices (A) and (D) ignore the author’s rebuttal to the criticism.

Choice (C) is problematic as the paragraph is concerned with one particular tool—film.

Choice (E) ignores both the criticism and rebuttal and merely mentions an out-of-context detail.

Hope it helps
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Re: History textbooks in the United States are far too fact-based and even  [#permalink]

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17 Apr 2020, 08:19
I got all the answers correct, hence wondering if this was only a level 500 question ?
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Re: History textbooks in the United States are far too fact-based and even  [#permalink]

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17 Apr 2020, 08:26
Nandika wrote:
I got all the answers correct, hence wondering if this was only a level 500 question ?

The difficulty level of this RC is as follow:

1. 600
2. 650
3. 550
4. 650
5. 600

Overall: 600 (Medium).
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Re: History textbooks in the United States are far too fact-based and even   [#permalink] 17 Apr 2020, 08:26