Decolonizing the teaching of world history

Revolutionary Revolutions: Rethinking how we teach the political revolutions between 1750 and 1900

For many people, Twitter is a toxic morass of partisan political commentary, chest-thumping sports boosterism, and witty commentary about the latest awards show, but there are also dozens of teachers engaging in the nerdy pleasure of tweeting about world history pedagogy. Angela Lee, a teacher at Weston High School, started #whapchat (short for World History Advanced Placement Chat) in January 2015. While there have been ups and downs in the number of participants and the range of topics, this slow chat about world history teaching has gradually gained lots of momentum.

Each week, one or two teachers volunteer to write the discussion topics and moderate the discussion using three to five prompts. Last week, Eric Beckman and I led a discussion about the political revolutions in Period 5 (AP World History’s periodization for 1750 to 1900). While there had been previous #whapchat discussions about these revolutions, Eric and I talked about how we could encourage teachers to question some of the traditional issues related to these revolutions, be more open about the challenges in teaching these revolutions, and share some of the exciting strategies and resources they are using. The discussion over the course of the week addressed a wide range of issues and highlighted how we as teachers can learn from each other in ways that push the boundaries of modern world history.

I’ve put together a few highlights from last week’s discussion, so others can easily see some of the great ideas and resources that an amazing group of teachers and professors shared last week. I encourage you to scroll through the conversation on Twitter, since I’m only posting the prompt and a few responses from each day of the slow chat. Each tweet image should also link directly to the original tweet. I also hope these tweets and resources inspire other teachers to think about how we can decolonize our modern world history courses.

Monday and Tuesday, 21 & 22 January

Wednesday, 23 January

Thursday, 24 January

Friday, 25 January

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Jamie Larson