Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Facing History Students Question Religious Discrimenation

Our students are mid-way through a unit on the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland that led up to the "Bloody Sunday" event of January 1972.

One challenge has been to understand the similarities between animosity surrounding differences in race, of which we are very familiar, versus that of religious differences.

For American students in the year 2016, many found it hard to understand what the central issues were, or, as one student put it, "What's the big deal?"

As a teacher, I find important to open students up to the idea that conflict between members of a diverse community occurs as a result of deeply felt resentments expressed through attempts to manage them politically, but beginning far before the people involved were born.

The study of history helps to unpack the issues surrounding conflicts. It informs the present regarding what needs to be addressed to solve contemporary conflicts.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Understanding "The Troubles" in our time and context

It is very difficult for students to think about conflict in parameters other than race. By default, especially in the past few months in America, we experience conflict along what are perceived as racial divides. Beginning this month, we are asking our students to investigate a society in which religion is the "give-away" parameter.

But, the challenge is to delve deeper into the issue. Often, the spark that ignites the inferno is not the fuel for the fire. Our current unit, in which we hope to connect with students and teachers from other countries, will examine the Troubles as a cultural and political conflict.

Current students can post their questions here, and prior students can help us with their experiences both in our Facing History class, and in other studies (or experiences) by commenting and responding to the questions posed by our current students.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The end of the Weimar Republic, or...I VOTED for the NAZI's?!?!?!?!?

Students gathered in small groups of "voters," and "political parties."

The members of the Communist Party were a little shy today!

 For many years we have wondered what it was we were doing wrong. The profiles of the characters in which our students personify were in line with our objective (Students will understand the appeal of the National Socialists at the end of the Weimar Republic).

We had gallery walks, including a running loop of "Alles Schwindel,"

and pictures of young children playing with stacks and stacks of useless currency. 

Yet, I had never managed to have a class that aligned to the German Federal Election of July 1932.

In today's class, after much deliberation, presentation, and deep political grilling... a "success," if you will. By not revealing the abbreviated name of the party, and with strong character roll-playing with a phenomenal bunch of students, the results are in...Communists 0, Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands  3, and much to the chagrin (after the big reveal), The National Socialist German Worker's Party won by a landslide of four votes!   While they were quite surprised to find out that the abbreviation for the victorious political party was NAZI. After putting themselves in the places of their characters, they at least understood how such a group rose to power. I'm very proud of these students and I am thinking very deeply regarding their approach to our next unit on the Holocaust.

I encourage any current of former student to comment on their experiences during the political rally.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Politcal Rally To Be Held!

Former students will recall this role playing activity in which we have students become either "voters" or political party representatives. The purpose of this activity is for students to see the competing ideologies and feelings among a cross-section of German society toward the end of the Weimar Republic. During the rally, students will analyze the wants and needs of their characters, and weigh their political options (based upon political parties running for election).  The goal of this activity is to entice the students to understand how the National-Socialists could have come to power.

This week, our current students will be preparing for the political rally. I would like to hear from former students about this experience, and what they thought of the result, or what the experience of role playing was like for them. 

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Dave Senderoff

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Welcome Facing History Alumni...and interested guests, or inquisitive visitors!

This "blog" is a part of a mission to promote Upstandership as introduced to our students who have taken the course Facing History and Ourselves: Facing History and Ourselves' Homepage 

I'd like to have anyone who has participated in this course to introduce themselves, and reconnect to former classmates, and hopefully meet some new friends online!

Please keep in mind that this is an extension of New Haven Public Schools, and by participating in this blog, for those of us who are employed by NHPS or students, we must adhere to their guidelines regarding acceptable use of electronics and internet policies. 

My name is David Senderoff. I have been teaching FHAO for four years. I was introduced to the curriculum when I transferred to New Haven Academy. As a teacher, I found the training offered me a lot of ways to get students to connect to how people's actions, or in-actions, have consequences. I also believe that through teaching FHAO, I have been a part of a process that motivates students to stand up for themselves, in both large and small ways. 

I'm looking forward to hearing from anyone who has participated in this course, and I encourage everyone to introduce themselves, talk about their experience, and together we can come up with ways to extend what we have experienced to life after the class has ended. 

Best Wishes,   

Dave S.