How To Make Your History Class More Inclusive

Posted on: 20 May 2020

When it comes to the traditional way that history is taught in classrooms, there are some major flaws. One of those flaws is a lack of inclusivity, especially when it comes to gender, race, and sexual orientation. People like Alan Turing and Katherine Johnson were long swept under the rug in terms of the history of science and in history in general. But recently, they have become well-known because of films about them.

If it is your wish to make your history class more inclusive, there are many ways you can go about doing that. Get to know some of the steps you can take so you can understand where and how to change up your lesson plans. 

Assign Historical Nonfiction Books About Women

One of the ways to make your lessons more gender-inclusive is to assign additional reading to your students in the form of historical nonfiction books about women. Letting them explore history in books other than their history textbooks can help them to get a different view on the same historical events described in their textbook. For example, when studying the first landing on the moon, you could assign books that showcase not only women but African American women involved in helping to make that first moon landing possible. 

Giving your students different perspectives like this can broaden their horizons and help them to see themselves in history. You could also assign similar books about different races (such as about Native American figures that were influential during the American expansion) and different sexual orientations (the history of Stonewall or the history of the gay civil rights movements in the United States). 

Assign Projects Where They Each Research a Lesser-Known Historical Figure

Another way to make your history class more inclusive is through the history projects you assign. You could assign each student a lesser-known historical figure to study like the aforementioned Alan Turing and Katherine Johnson. You could even assign those historical nonfiction books about women and people of other races or sexual orientations as part of the project.

Give each student a specific text that references the person they are being assigned to help them start the research process, for example. The students will then compile their research and do a presentation for the class about their findings. You could even make the projects more interesting by having each student "become" that person for the presentation and give their presentation in the first-person and in costume. 

Now that you know of a few ways to make your history class more inclusive, you can start adding inclusive lessons. For more resources or materials, contact companies that supply historical nonfiction books about women.