© 2017 herpersj Charleston

The End

What do we do with a difference? Do we exclude it or include it? Who defines that difference and how is it defined? How do the definitions of differences contribute to prejudice and racism still prevalent in today’s society? How can we learn from the past in order to be more informed in our future decisions?

These were some of the key questions that we discussed in Facing History’s Race and Membership in American History: The Eugenics Movement seminar. Interns at Facing History have the opportunity to participate in one of these week-long seminars that are designed primarily for educators throughout the summer. Seminar topics vary from Holocaust and Human Behavior to The Reconstruction Era and the Fragility of Democracy. Each seminar serves as an opportunity to learn about Facing History’s pedagogy, to model the pedagogy through activities over the duration of the week, to expose educators to resources, and to allow educators to think about difficult questions and how to approach them in their classroom setting.


Race and Membership Educator Resource

Participating in such a seminar as an intern was an incredibly valuable experience. Not only was I treated as an equal member of our learning community, but I was able to contribute as a member of our community. Working with such passionate educators was a fantastic learning experience and helped me develop skills in teamwork and leadership.

We discussed the three prongs of Facing History’s pedagogical triangle. Through its curriculums, Facing History strives to help its students think intellectually, ethically, and emotionally. These three sides of the triangle lead to Facing History’s central goal — to instill civic responsibility in students and their community. Coming in to the workshop, I felt quite comfortable in the “intellectual” third of the pedagogical triangle due to my academic work. It was easy for me to analyze our historical case study, the eugenics movement in the United States, using the skills that I had acquired during my career at Dickinson. However, this workshop allowed me to develop skills in emotional and ethical thinking, which can be more challenging for me. Working on strengthening all three sides of the pedagogical triangle in my mind helped me grow as a student, and improve my own personal sense of civic responsibility.

As white supremacist and neo-Nazi violence erupted in Charlottesville, VA this week, the organization thought about the educators with whom we had just spent a week talking about how to teach high schoolers the historic roots behind the structural racism that exists in our country today. Our teams worked diligently to release resources for teachers, family members, and community members to begin discussing the history behind the events in Charlottesville and how it continues to affect our environments today. I have linked resources at the bottom of this blog post for anybody who may be interested (including resources such as the Charleston Syllabus, which is applicable to Charlottesville as well).


Charleston Syllabus

Though I leave my internship with a heavy heart, I am proud to have worked with an organization that is so present in increasing engagement, eliminating prejudice, and teaching the importance of history. Interning at Facing History not only allowed me to apply the skills that I learned at Dickinson in a professional setting, it helped me focus my professional goals and gave me confidence in my abilities in the workplace.




Charlottesville Resources:






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