8th Graders Experience Facing History and Ourselves, by Jessica Orians

Posted by Amy Smythe on 10/14/2017 10:00:00 AM

Facing History  

Woodland believes that education should foster the individual growth of the intellectual, spiritual, and emotional roots of our students by helping them make the essential connections between history and the moral choices they face as adolescents. Our eighth graders are participating in Facing History and Ourselves, which is an international, educational organization whose mission is to “engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry.”

The Facing History and Ourselves curriculum prepares our students to be contributing and productive members of society by increasing their ability to relate history to their own lives and promotes a greater understanding of their roles and responsibilities in a democracy.  We look deeply at historical moments when individuals made decisions about their own lives and the lives of their neighbors, and then make the essential connection between history and the moral choices that we confront in our own lives.   Many years of research have shown that a study of this history helps students understand how their decisions might influence others and also strengthens their ability to take different perspectives on an issue, as well as to consider the ethical implications of their choices.

Human behavior is analyzed to heighten our understanding of racism, religious intolerance, and prejudice.  We begin to understand how “People Make Choices and Choices Make History” based on this examination.  As we celebrate the potential in every student and seek to create a safe, nurturing, and Christ-centered learning environment, we hope that our students will walk away from this class with the ability and understanding to be UPSTANDERS and not BYSTANDERS.

Jessica Orians, Middle School Teacher