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How should we teach our nation's history?


As we all have been watching, or living in, areas of protest and counter protests, educators have taken the lead in national conversations about our history; many have been sharing resources on how to teach our history. While resources have been shared addressing the event's of Charlottesville, others shared tools to facilitate a much broader discussion of equity, injustice, and history. 

I hope you find those resources meaningful for you, but I want to introduce a different way to integrate social justice education in our classroom. The strategy is called Civic Reflection. Through using images, short readings, poems, or videos, students, staff, and community members engage in conversations about issues that impact their community.  I invite you to explore the website linked above. The strategies for planning and then facilitating a discussion are very helpful. Tools like civic reflection provide our students a shared and safe space to talk about complicated issues and connect to history, current events, or literature to their lives. 

I'd love to hear how you will address the current issues in our country and if you feel civic engagement is a resource that will help you provide structure in the conversations that are happening. 


Kathy Tracey


Susan Finn Miller's picture

Thanks for sharing these resources, Kathy. I am sure that many teachers and students are interested in discussing historical issues in the wake of what happened in Charlottesville.

I appreciate your linking us to the Civic Reflection site, which offers tools to support classroom and/or community conversations on a range of topics.

Some members might be familiar with the interesting NPR radio interview program On Being hosted by Krista Tippet. Tippett has added a website connected to her radio show called The Civil Conversations Project, which draws on some of the radio interviews she has conducted over the years as conversation starters on important topics. On the site, there is also a Better Conversations Starter Guide, parts of which could be adapted for the classroom. Some of Tippett's respectful conversations on topics ranging from race and politics to religion and spirituality and the psychology of morality, might serve as meaningful springboards for class discussion -- as well as in communities more broadly.

There is no doubt we need to learn to listen to one another with respect these days.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, Teaching & Learning CoP