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Preparing Students for Civic Life: Facing History’s Approach to Civic Education

July 28, 2020 to July 30, 2020
Preparing Students for Civic Life

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Preparing Students for Civic Life: Facing History’s Approach to Civic Education

This seminar explores how Facing History’s research-based interdisciplinary approach to history and civics aligns with the guiding principles and content standards in the 2018 MA Curriculum Frameworks.


Designed to meet the needs of 8th grade and high school US history, world history, and media literacy teachers, the seminar will model how to integrate Facing History’s approach and educational resources, which aligns with the MA standards guiding principles. This approach incorporates diverse perspectives; encourages informed and respectful discussions about prejudice, racism, and bigotry in the past and present; and provides opportunities for students to develop their voice and civic agency as they reflect on how they want to make a positive change in their schools, communities, and the broader world around them. Schools are encouraged to send teacher teams.


In this seminar, teachers will:

  • Learn how to create an open, supportive, and reflective learning community that embodies equitable and democratic values and supports ethical decision-making
  • Increase their ability to facilitate respectful classroom discussions on difficult issues such as racism, antisemitism, and other forms of exclusion in a way that invites personal reflection and critical analysis
  • Explore historical case studies (developed for specific grade levels) that reveal the complex social and political context in which governments function, including the beliefs, personalities, institutions, historical legacies, and human behaviors that shape, and sometimes distort, the democratic process
  • Learn a new way of structuring curriculum to help students connect history to their own lives and the choices they make
  • Examine how to use news literacy skills and concepts as a set of critical thinking tools to help students find reliable information to make decisions, take action, and responsibly share news and information through social media
  • Discover new teaching strategies that help students interrogate text, think critically, and discuss controversial issues respectfully

For over 40 years, Facing History has been working with Massachusetts educators to teach civics through historical case studies. A compelling body of research validates Facing History’s approach to civic education. In a randomized controlled trial, Facing History significantly increased students’:

  • Performance on a measure of essential higher-order thinking skills
  • Tolerance for others with different political views
  • Capacity for civil discourse, and
  • Belief that they can make a difference 

Facing History alumni are more civically involved than their peers: more likely to vote, to participate in a civic or community group, and to discuss current events.

This seminar is taking place in partnership with Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

Edward M Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate
120 Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA 02125
July 28, 2020 - July 30, 2020
8:30 am - 3:30 pm

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