Of Note: Informed, Reflective, and Supported
Helping students understand events around the world has never been more challenging or more urgent, and many schools are understandably struggling to frame and contextualize recent events in the Middle East. Indeed, in this fraught moment, schools need to be prepared to hold space and to offer strategies for reflection, developing understanding, and enhancing students’ tolerance for complexity all while deepening students’ sense of empathy, compassion, and humanism. The complexity of this particular moment means that teachers need to approach conversations with nuance, humility, and care for those impacted by these events. While no one resource can fully prepare teachers to tackle these discussions, Facing History and Ourselves, whose stated goals are to support students and teachers as they “make sense of the world around them and become informed and active participants in a democracy,” offers a good starting place to help teachers and schools frame conversations and keep students informed, reflective, and supported as they grapple with these developments. Their resources, grounded in their research-supported methodology and curricular practices, offer a framework for reflection as well as connections to curricular material to help teachers approach conversations about Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and the broader geo-political context, all while encouraging students to develop effective media and research habits to avoid the social media churn. From journaling prompts to discussion points, teachers will find a wealth of useful content for thinking through how to approach these delicate conversations with students. Exploring Facing History’s broader resource database will also facilitate connecting recent events to other moments in the world’s history and can help students contextualize, connect, and, ultimately, arrive at a place of a deeper understanding as well as a sense of their own responsibilities to engage and participate.