What can we do to support students during unpredictable and challenging times? How can we create communities where people hear and see each other, treat each other with dignity and respond together as a community? In this blog post, which borrows much of its content from the Back to School with Current Events teaching idea, we will share resources and approaches for addressing current events in the classroom during the first few days of school.
Knowing that experiences of loss, isolation and disconnection caused by the pandemic have exacerbated the everyday challenges many face, we ask, what could it mean for students if they had an opportunity to tell their story or speak out on an issue that they care about? And what if students could feel heard?
One of the reasons why I love teaching is that I can open students’ eyes to injustices that exist today - injustices like the missing and murdered Indigenous women - and the ways in which they can promote change. The grade 12 Challenge and Change course provides the ideal opportunity to raise these issues, and Facing History’s approach, strategies, and readings give me the tools to authentically engage students.
Why do troubled times so often bring out hatred in humanity? In both Canada and the United States over the past few years there has been much xenophobic rhetoric spread around in light of numerous global crises. During the 2015 Canadian and 2016 American elections we saw candidates in both countries “other” identifiable or vulnerable members of society using hateful language and often using them as scapegoats for social and economic problems, all while claiming to speak for the will of those they purport to be the “silent majority”. Furthermore, we saw large groups joining the “unsilent majority” through the use of social media to spread hate, join xenophobic movements and rallies, commit hate crimes and even acts of violence. Those who criticized this movement drew many parallels between the social climate and dialogue of today to that of Nazi Germany. As educators we felt it necessary to attempt to address this recurring phenomenon.
This summer I went to Europe with my nieces. We visited Zurich, Krakow, Prague and Berlin. My suitcase unfortunately did not make the journey with me. At each stop, I updated Swiss Air about my location. It took 8.5 days (of the 10 we were there) for my suitcase to meet up with me. I was annoyed, and eventually had to purchase clothing in each town, and do some hand-washing to have clean clothing!
On November 6, 2014 Facing History and Ourselves co-presented an evening with Professor Dr. James Waller, discussing the role of Nazi doctors in the persecution of gay men during the Holocaust.
Explore the culture, psychological, and social factors that drove Nazi policy against gay men and justified, in the minds of Nazi doctors, their perpetration of such atrocities.