Educators often talk about “student well-being,” but we rarely define the term. We know we want more for our students than just academic achievement, but most of us struggle to articulate a vision for what that more looks like, and how to work toward it.
Audrey Reyes and David Gómez are busy taking on the world before they even enter college. The two Facing History students were part of a select group of youth scholars from around the world nominated to participate in the Global Citizens Youth Summit (GCYS), hosted by the Global Citizens Initiative (GCI), a nonprofit social enterprise based in Connecticut. They joined 26 other students from 19 different countries in Cambridge, Massachusetts to learn from each other and explore what it means to be a global citizen.
To celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, Judiana Moise, a senior at Blackstone Academy Charter School in Pawtucket, RI, shares her story of how her teacher, Stacy Joslin, has made an impact on her life. Stacy has been a Facing History and Ourselves teacher for nine years. She has taught Facing History lessons including Race and Membership, Identity, Choices in Little Rock, and Holocaust and Human Behavior. Stacy likes that Facing History gives her students the opportunity to wrestle with difficult and complex material. She says her favorite part of being a teacher is watching students find themselves through projects and discussions during the school year.
Facing History and Ourselves celebrates upstanders of all kinds: those who stand up to injustice, those who seek to make positive change in the world, and those who spread messages of tolerance, empathy, and knowledge. During Women’s History Month, we are cheering on young women who are doing just that.
Here are three inspiring stories of young women who we have no doubt will be history-makers of the future. How do we know? Read about how they are already upstanders in their communities.
This is not the blog post I wanted to write. How do you respond when lives have been lost? Paris, Chicago, San Bernardino. And what about the lives lost which don’t make national news?
Walking into the metro station earlier this week my husband and I started talking with one of the station workers. He was holding his breath as he walked upstairs with us – hoping not to find the dead body of a homeless man, as had happened the day before.
Are we, like this station worker, holding our breath to not have a dead body to deal with today?
In small ways, each day, Facing History and Ourselves is fostering positive changes in our world, with lessons that show students their choices have consequences. We call it choosing to participate. By exploring individuals’ choices in history, our students discover that mass violence, bigotry, and prejudice are not inevitable. Understanding their power in their own lives, they discover the power to act on behalf of others, in ways large and small.
In this age of smartphones, social media, and text messaging, I sometimes ask myself when was the last time I sat down to actually talk and listen to someone. I wonder how often my students actually engage in face-to-face conversations, especially even more with someone who is older than them.
Then twice in one week I stumbled across The Great Thanksgiving Listen, first on my drive home listening to NPR and then during my Twitter check-in before bed. What was this Great Listen project? I wanted to know more.
Students leave a Facing History classroom inspired by history—not paralyzed by it. They are inspired to learn more, to empathize, to speak up, and to advocate for change.
In partnership with The BULLY Project and other like-minded organizations, we are working with two Facing History alumnae whose study of history and the impact of choices people made have inspired them to petition the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam Webster Dictionary to add the word upstander.
Nous pleurons avec le peuple de France. Ce qui s’est passé vendredi soir est inimaginable. Les Parisiens faisaient ce que tout le monde fait dans une société libre : ils passaient la soirée dehors avec des amis ou en famille, ils dînaient, buvaient, riaient, écoutaient de la musique, regardaient un match de football. À La fin de la soirée, plus de 120 personnes avaient été assassinées, des centaines blessées et des milliers terrorisées. Nous l’étions tous, d’ailleurs.
Une société libre et ouverte se fonde sur un contrat social qui prescrit que nous vivions ensemble dans la paix et le respect. Le terrorisme rompt ce contrat. C’est son objectif, pour qu’il devienne plus difficile de rester ouverts et inclusifs.
We mourn with the people of France. Friday evening’s events are unimaginable. Parisians were doing the things that people do in a free society, enjoying an evening out with friends and family, having dinner, a drink, a laugh, hearing music, watching a football match. By the end of the night, more than 100 people were murdered, hundreds were injured and thousands more were terrorized. In fact, we all were.
Remaining a free and open society is based on a social contract, that we will live together with respect and in peace. Terrorism disrupts this. It is designed to do just that, making it harder to remain open and inclusive.