Facing History and Ourselves is a professional development program for teachers across the United States and abroad who understand that their students’ academic and emotional growth depends to a large degree on their own commitment to growing and learning. A nonprofit educational organization that works with teachers of middle and high school students, Facing History helps teachers master important skills in classroom pedagogy and provides a framework for the intensive study of history that recognizes genuine learning as a deeply personal enterprise.
In a Facing History course, students learn about the values of democracy, in part, by examining a particular historical moment — early 20th-century German society — in which democracy crumbled. By learning that society’s demise was caused largely by the choices made by ordinary citizens, students begin to understand the value of making responsible decisions. Facing History’s work is based on the premise that we need to — and can — teach civic responsibility, tolerance and social action to young people as a way of fostering moral adulthood. Facing History believes that education is the key to combating bigotry and nurturing democracy, and if we do not educate students for dignity and equity, then we have failed both them and ourselves.
Facing History works with educators throughout their careers to improve their effectiveness in the classroom, as well as to improve their students’ academic performance and civic learning. Through a rigorous investigation of the events that led to the Holocaust, as well as other recent examples of genocide and mass violence, students in a Facing History class learn to combat prejudice with compassion, indifference with participation and myth and misinformation with knowledge.
Facing History offers:
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