Capstone Project Title

Absent Narratives And Engagement: A Diverse Instructional Approach To Increased Engagement In World History


Spring 2018


Capstone Project

Degree Name



Patty Born Selly

Content Expert

Melissa Chaffee-Johnson and Yvonne RB-Banks


This study addresses the question, what impact does the teaching of absent narratives in a World History classroom have on student engagement? It includes reflections from one educator about absent narratives in their own classroom. Absent narratives are those “voices often left out or marginalized” (Minnesota Humanities Center, 2017, para. 1). Through investigation, the benefits of diverse narratives in World History curriculum are explained. Research reveals that student engagement, critical thinking and identity development are enhanced when student backgrounds and histories are reflected in classroom content and instruction. The researcher describes the role culturally responsive teaching plays in fostering engagement while also discussing the use of standards in the process of designing instruction that meets student needs. Results of the investigation culminate in the creation of The History of the Horn of Africa Toolkit. This is a set of lessons that implement culturally responsive approaches in a modified Understanding by Design and Differentiated Instruction (Tomlinson & McTighe, 2006) curriculum framework to respond to one area of historical absence in the researchers own classroom. Lessons are relevant for a secondary World History course and provide materials to engage students in a range of activities including investigations, synthesizing projects, group discussions and reflective writings. Implications for future research include professional development on areas of absence and the expansion of this toolkit model to include instructional plans connected to other diverse histories.

Project Type



Curriculum, Multicultural Education, Social Justice

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