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Posted on November 29, 2012 2:59 am
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Yasar Bodur
Yasar Bodur
Reps: 616
Why Should I Listen?
As part of my 7th grade Social Studies curriculum, I have to talk about slavery, the civil rights movement, etc. The topic ultimately leads to a discussion of how Whites oppressed Blacks. I try to present these topics in a way that does not suggest any guilt. This year, one of my students had a very bad reaction. When we were talking about the civil rights, John, one of my well-behaved but opinionated students, got up and said that he did not want to listen to this lesson anymore, because all we did was to demonize the White people. Three other students openly agreed with him saying that these topics made them angry. I have to cover these topics because they are a part of my curriculum. Also, I believe in the importance teaching children about these inequalities. However, it seems like the way I teach, which is mainly based on lectures and small group work, is making my White students uncomfortable. What should I do to make sure that my White students do not feel offended by these topics?
 
     
     
 
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Solution 1
Posted December 7, 2012 11:31 pm

areli saucedo
areli saucedo
Reps: 119
Speaking about racial issues is very complicated, especially in a school setting. If students are not educated about certain race issues at home then its even harder to educated them about it in school, however it is the teacher's duty to do so. In this case, the teacher instead of giving small lectures, she should let the students research the topic at home and bring in articles that interest them about this period. By doing this, the students are not hearing the teacher talking about it, but rather they are learning about it on their own, and sharing it with the rest of the group.
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udydyV
udydyV
Reps: 108
I think that allowing students to do their own research on slavery is a good idea to approach this highly sensitive subject. I think that allowing students to research other ethnicities of people who helped to abolish slavery will help to alleviate some of the guilt White students might feel. Teachers must remember that there are several ways to approach the subject of slavery, and not all of them call for the demonizing of White people.
  Posted on: October 2, 2013 8:37 pm

BeWuXe
BeWuXe
Reps: 117
I never thought of the fact that discussions may have never been held at home on these issues. Unfortunately this does place the entire responsibility on the teacher. I do not believe a discussion on this issues can happen without some conflict among the students. It is important to set parameters prior to the discussion to help the discussion go more smoothly. The parameters might include allowing each student a particular number of responses or challenging student to make at least one positive comment with every negative comment they make on the topic.
  Posted on: October 2, 2013 9:31 pm

yJaGus
yJaGus
Reps: 106
I never looked at letting the students help teach it. That would be a great way for them to learn the truth about civil rights and not just all the bad stuff.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 10:22 pm

ePeHyM
ePeHyM
Reps: 105
Negative feeling are always going to come about when talking about slavery but I like your idea of letting the students learn about it for themselves. You would probably have to take it a step further and show them positive example of white abolitionists. It is important that they receive some positive input.
  Posted on: October 4, 2014 7:21 pm

PyveDu
PyveDu
Reps: 101
I also agree that talking about these issues can be very uncomfortable. I remember what I knew as a middle school/ high school student and I was less educated about the world than I am now. We as educators need to teach students how to handle these situations.I also think to allow students to research outside of class and let them bring it in to the classroom setting.
  Posted on: October 8, 2014 10:07 pm

egyveW
egyveW
Reps: 103
I like the idea of having students research the idea from their own perspective. I think that can give them a good understanding especially if students would share their research with one another.
  Posted on: October 23, 2014 8:45 pm

Danielle Brock
Danielle Brock
Reps: 100
this was a very interesting topic
  Posted on: March 1, 2015 11:22 pm

Edward Kim
Edward Kim
Reps: 106
When students have to sit there and listen to someone tell them the mistakes of their culture all the time, it is easy to see how they may get offended. They may feel like that they do not have a voice or a choice with what is taught to them. This is why I like your idea of letting students do some of their own research. This way students can come up with their own conclusions. In terms of the civil rights exactly you could also have students do research on different groups or white groups that helped the civil rights movement. This way students can get both sides of the same cultural history.
  Posted on: September 20, 2015 10:01 pm

Japuje
Japuje
Reps: 107
I like the idea of allowing students to do their own research. This allows them to view multiple sources and perspectives on the subject.
  Posted on: September 22, 2015 8:30 pm

ehyNyn
ehyNyn
Reps: 109
This solution was very similar to mine because I said that the teacher needs to act as a facilitator and allow students to do their own research and learning. This will prevent the teacher from inadvertently placing guilt. Students have got to realize that race relations have not, and are still not, the best in the United States. If students do enough learning, they will eventually understand that race is so superficial and truly only skin deep and, hopefully, realize that people are basically all the same and are made from the same things.
  Posted on: September 26, 2015 3:17 pm

ezajaV
ezajaV
Reps: 102
I think having the students do a research is a great idea. Allowing the students to do this, they may find more information than what the teacher may give them in the classroom.
  Posted on: September 30, 2015 1:28 pm

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Solution 2
Posted November 29, 2012 9:49 pm

Jessica Oglesby
Jessica Oglesby
Reps: 110
AS part of my fifth grade social studies curriculum, I too cover this issue when discussing the Civil War. Before we begin the unit we discuss that we all have different opionions, thoughts, and feelings, and although we may disagree to agree at times, we must always be respectful. I also make sure that my students understand that they can share their feelings and thoughts at any time during my class, however they must be open-minded and respectful when doing so. I also make it a major point for my students to understand that the terms "black" and "white" are colors and the appropriate terms to use when describing these two groups of people are African American or Caucasian. In my classroom we refer to ourselves as a family, and although we may look different we are the same in many ways.
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Kayla Mullins
Kayla Mullins
Reps: 89
I think by talking with your students about the importance of opinions and discussing the opinions will open the air when discussing the topic and also allow students to understand the imporatnce of expressing ideas. All students at every age always benefit from hearing their expectations.
-Kayla Mullins
  Posted on: September 28, 2014 10:34 pm

ePeHyM
ePeHyM
Reps: 105
Discussing with your students before hand about the value of each other's opinions and being respectful of those opinions is an excellent way to start. It is important for students to understand that learning about this topic may cause certain types of feeling to arise but that we must still be respectful of each other. It is also important that they see positive portrayals of Caucasian people fighting for the freedom of slaves.
  Posted on: October 4, 2014 7:25 pm

PyveDu
PyveDu
Reps: 101
I like how you stated your class as a "family" we do the same in mine. In kindergarten we do not have the hard topics to cover, but I do think teaching about black history month to a 5 year old is really neat to educate them on such a strong aspect of our culture. It broke my heart the first time I had to and students did not understand they had different skin colors. I love teaching the children values of being open minded and respectful to others.
  Posted on: October 8, 2014 10:10 pm

HyraLe
HyraLe
Reps: 73
I like the positive vibes approach you have to this sensitive topic in your classroom. I think is was very important for you to set the tone as the teacher that everyone will respect each other before you start. This way the students go into learning this lesson with a positive attitude and also knowing that their opinions do matter.
  Posted on: October 27, 2014 6:29 am

Kateline Vaughn
Kateline Vaughn
Reps: 106
I agree that the best way to have discussions in class is to remind the students that they must be respectful and open-minded at all times. It is important for students to learn that it's alright to disagree, but it is not alright to condemn someone for their opinions.
  Posted on: October 2, 2015 7:02 pm

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Solution 3
Posted December 9, 2012 9:57 am

Suzi Hancock
Suzi Hancock
Reps: 134
I see this from both the teacher's and the student's perspective. However, I must agree with some of the others who stated that teaching about past inequalities is important. You must learn from your mistakes. You need to see where you have been to see where you are going. Students must learn about this era in our country's history. Maybe you could find a way to explain to the student that these lessons aren't about white vs. black. Your goal isn't to put down white people or black people.
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Tracy C
Tracy C
Reps: 104
I shared a similar comment in that the goal for the teacher is not to make it a "black" or "white" issue. Also, some onus must be placed on the students to investigate history for themselves and to report their findings. When this happens, the students become responsible for what they will learn; and, may answer some of their own tough questions along the way.
  Posted on: October 4, 2013 3:32 pm

TeTugu
TeTugu
Reps: 21
I agree with your response. It is important that History is taught so it is not repeated. It is important that all students learn about History regardless of how uncomfortable the situation may be. It is important that the teacher talk with the students individually to thoroughly explain the purpose of teaching about Civil Rights.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 7:27 pm

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Solution 4
Posted December 4, 2012 11:14 am

Savanna Hayman
Savanna Hayman
Reps: 104
I think that the student's response was an honest one and probably one that many white students have but are too uncomfortable to share for fear of sounding insensitive. I think that making an emphasis on the fact that THESE particular students were not the ones oppressing a group of people will make a big difference. I also think that as a teacher, it is your job to motivate students. Students could be motivated by this approach,: "We learn about this topic so that it will never happen again and so that you can use your generation to make sure that you value one another and treat everyone equally. At one point in time everyone has felt discriminated against and the reason we learn about this is so that we can change the future since we can't change the past." I think the students would react really well to that.
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yZaveh
yZaveh
Reps: 109
I love the motivating approach you suggest. Students need a purpose for learning something anyway. What better way to frame the lesson than as a problem-solution? Great idea.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 2:04 pm

aQazuV
aQazuV
Reps: 105
I agree that students should be motivated to learn the content by explaining that the purpose behind the content is to assure that history does not repeat itself. Students should definitely understand that the actions of the people from this time period do not negatively affect their character. They were not the ones oppressing African Americans. I think students should also understand that not all whites felt this way. Some white Americans were willing to help African Americans by ending slavery. Equality was fought for by both white and black Americans of the time.
  Posted on: September 29, 2014 11:49 pm

Qureby
Qureby
Reps: 102
I like your suggestion for motivating students' learning. By discussing why it is important to learn about such racially divided times in history you not only provide students with the motivation to learn but also with a reason to learn. I think that if students have a reason for learning that is valid and connected to their lives they are much more vested in their studies.
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 1:36 am

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Solution 5
Posted November 30, 2012 8:45 pm

Selena W Farmer
Selena W Farmer
Reps: 121
This is a sensitive issue to discuss with students and it is extremely important to take into consideration how the material is presented to the class. I think that, though it may be hard for some students to hear about the negatives of slavery, it is an important issue that must be discussed. To me, this is a time to teach students that we can learn from history and take away the lesson on how people should be treated, that we are all equal and it is important to remember to treat each other in such a way that shows we respect each other and that we are equals. I think for the student who felt it was demonizing to white people, it would be a time to learn that, though this may be hard to hear, it is something that took place. Slavery has many issues that are hard for both sides to hear and think about but it is apart of our history and we should think how the things we hear about in lessons make us feel and take that into consideration when we think about how we treat others and how we speak to people throughout life.
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Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
I agree wholeheartedly with your response. The truth hurts! It is something that happened in history and must be taught. Reminding students that this is HISTORY-- it is is the past, and how to be open minded and learn how to prevent similar injustices from happening again.
  Posted on: September 29, 2013 8:59 pm

A Battles
A Battles
Reps: 115
I also really like this response. Sometimes the past is painful but if we forget about the past history may repeat itself.
  Posted on: October 2, 2013 7:14 pm

TuVuze
TuVuze
Reps: 99
The students who felt the lesson was demonizing do need to realize this was an event that happened in the past and although the people who were slave owners happen to be of the same ethnicity of the White students, the students themselves are not the perpetrators of these injustices. It is important that these students do no self-identify themselves in this manner and with careful instruction, the teacher can emphasize this point in the lesson.
  Posted on: October 3, 2013 7:03 pm

yJaGus
yJaGus
Reps: 106
This response is really good. It is very important for them to understand that it was in the past and what they can do to help prevent it in the future.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 10:12 pm

Edward Kim
Edward Kim
Reps: 106
Sometimes it is important to make students feel uncomfortable. It is a difficult balance between uncomfortable and teaching moment but by studying the past it can help teach students what is the right. As a teacher I have always believed that not only is it important to teach students about reading and writing, but also moral lessons as well, lessons such as doing the right thing and fighting for your beliefs. By studying difficult parts of history students can hopefully learn to recognize what is right and how to fight for what is right. They have a chance to prevent history from repeating itself. Race relations still an issue that is going on today. If we can get students to do the right thing, then spending some time learning about the mistakes of our ancestors is not a bad thing.
  Posted on: September 20, 2015 10:12 pm

ezajaV
ezajaV
Reps: 102
I agree with you. Sometimes the truth does hurt. All students need to know the history of America. They also need to know that is why it is called History.
  Posted on: September 30, 2015 1:29 pm

Daisy Dumler
Daisy Dumler
Reps: 106
I agree that history can be uncomfortable sometimes but it needs to be taught. If we don't learn from our past then we may repeat history which would be horrible.
  Posted on: October 4, 2015 3:44 pm

uPaSeW
uPaSeW
Reps: 209
I agree. I think it is important for students to know that slavery happened and it was very real. If they are feeling angry, that means that they are passionate about the issue and hopefully feel like it should not happen which is the purpose of history, to make sure we don't make the same bad decisions twice.
  Posted on: October 5, 2015 3:12 am

Amanda Whittaker
Amanda Whittaker
Reps: 114
I agree that this is a hard topic to teach and that we have to be careful in what we say. I like to explain that this was the past and that we have to learn from it and change how we are in the future. If we don't do this than things can go back to the way they were.
  Posted on: October 20, 2015 2:11 am

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Solution 6
Posted December 8, 2012 12:00 pm

Ariane Anderson
Ariane Anderson
Reps: 114
You should continue to teach the curriculum. Make your students aware that slavery and civil rights movement is an important aspect of United States history and based on those actions America has changed. Also make them aware that not all Whites believed that Blacks should be oppressed and explain how some Whites fought for Blacks to have equality. Then give them a scenario of how things would be if Lincoln didn’t free the slaves and if Jim Crow laws continued to exist. Tell them we must learn from our past to have a brighter future.
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yXeBeX
yXeBeX
Reps: 114
I agree that history must be learned from. We have something things in our country's past that we should be embarrassed about, but we must discuss them so that they will never happen again.
  Posted on: October 4, 2014 7:30 pm

Qureby
Qureby
Reps: 102
I completely agree that we must learn from our history. I also liked that you mentioned incorporating discussions of whites who worked for civil rights and who were against slavery. By presenting a broader perspective of such historical events, hopefully those students who felt demonized would be more comfortable in the classroom.
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 1:31 am

Chelsea
Chelsea
Reps: 101
I definitely agree that history is something that needs to be learned from, to avoid repeating. I also think it is a good idea to highlight the negative and positive roles that White people had in regards to slavery. I also feel that it would be best to address the class about the subject material before actually teaching it.
  Posted on: October 18, 2014 10:59 pm

Chelsea Abbott
Chelsea Abbott
Reps: 112
I think that this is a great approach to the touchy subject. Bottom line, events in history, such as, the Civil War and slavery happened. The Jim Crow laws and people in our history made differences in the world in order to make it what it is like today. Slavery is a fact and happened in our country. We have to be aware of it and make sure that something like it does not happen again. We can prevent slavery happening in the world again.
  Posted on: September 23, 2015 7:06 pm

Amanda Robinson
Amanda Robinson
Reps: 98
I also agree that sharing the things that white people did to help would help students see that not all whites were bad people.
  Posted on: October 5, 2015 2:10 am

uzyXuV
uzyXuV
Reps: 208
I agree to tell students the importance of studying the past is for a better future and emphasize races working together to make changes better for all.
  Posted on: October 15, 2015 12:18 am

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Solution 7
Posted December 3, 2012 10:00 am

David Sanders
David Sanders
Reps: 143
I think the young man in 7th grade is expressing a valid point. If you teach social studies and haven't noticed that the textbooks tend to demonize white people (and more specifically old white men); I invite you to reread the sections on Pilgrims, the Indian wars, the Trail of Tears, the Civil War and the civil right movement, etc. I have had the exact same reaction from high school seniors in my math class. I approach the subject from a social norm perspective, ie the ancient Jews were slaves to the Egyptians and society (wrongly) accepted slavery as normal. England and the United States were the first nations in the history of the world to ban slavery. Point in fact to the NEW Eqyptian constitution which does NOT ban slavery.
If you don't remove the class warfare from the classroom, it will only be reinforced in the students.
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Tracy C
Tracy C
Reps: 104
Sadly, we cannot rewrite history or wish it away. We can only acknowledge that it did happen and try to learn from the past. We can still teach sensitive issues, such as slavery and the civil rights without making our students feel guilty or unworthy because of their cultural heritage. I say teach from a perspective of putting our students in the center of the learning experience where they can explore and examine history and make their own judgments.
  Posted on: October 4, 2013 4:15 pm

aHeRaL
aHeRaL
Reps: 112
You make an interesting point and comment. Based on your response, I would say this is a great opportunity to discuss changing values, ethics, etc as well as how history is written and interpreted, and how this effects how we understand the past. The conflict in the classroom stems from the way these sensitive issues are handled by teachers over the years. Certainly slavery is wrong, and we know it is wrong, but it was not wrong for thousands of years. The Europeans thought they were racially superior to any other people group (that is a powerful idea to express to students and help them understand how it could lead or cause people to do terrible things to others) but so did the Chinese, Japanese, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Mongolians, etc. It is a common trend all throughout history. Historical context truly helps in historical conversations.
  Posted on: September 30, 2014 6:54 pm

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Solution 8
Posted December 5, 2012 12:12 pm

John Buxton
John Buxton
Reps: 114
I would start my lesson by making the point that all of the events of the civil rights movement happened in the past before any of my students were even born. I would also make it clear that it was not necessarily all white people that oppressed blacks, but that it was the people in power that caused the problems. I would not discuss how "Whites oppressed blacks," but i would discuss how the "Majority oppressed a minority." Avoiding generalizing terms like "White people" is a good way to avoid problems. Saying "White people" means that every single citizen of the United States that happened to be white, oppressed black people. This statement is completely false. If the majority at this time oppressed black people, and there was a white person who did nothing to oppress them, then that person was not a part of the majority.
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yXeBeX
yXeBeX
Reps: 114
I agree that choosing words carefully and not making general blanket statements about a particular race would be helpful in this situation. Not all whites were racists and not all blacks had been discriminated against in history. Students need to know that a whole race should not be spoiled because of the mistakes of some.
  Posted on: October 4, 2014 7:29 pm

HaBuMu
HaBuMu
Reps: 52
Your suggestion to avoid using terms such as black and white is a good one. This will help the students understand that this situation was based on minority vs majority instead of race. It will be difficult, but possible. Also, stating that this was a part of history instead of something they need to take personally is a key piece of advice for the student.
  Posted on: October 6, 2014 1:52 am

Daisy Dumler
Daisy Dumler
Reps: 106
Choosing your wording wasn't a solution I thought about. I didn't pay attention to the way the text books are worded to demonize the oppressor's race. It's such touchy subject.
  Posted on: October 4, 2015 3:46 pm

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Solution 9
Posted December 6, 2012 7:16 pm

Jessica Jacobs Graham
Jessica Jacobs Graham
Reps: 116
I think that in this situation you have to be sure to present the material in an unbiased way. If you, as the teacher, heavily show your beliefs then you will be sure to alienate some of your students that may not agree. Also, it is not our place to necessarily allow our beliefs about a given topic to show through, it is our place to present the facts. I would focus on the atrocities of the institution of slavery, rather than demonizing Whites.
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Meredith Bryant
Meredith Bryant
Reps: 106
You are absolutely right! Presenting this lesson in an unbiased manner is extremely important for two reasons: 1) It is never a good idea for a teacher to share his or her opinion and 2) Your opinion or bias towards a certain group comes across strongly so students are either drawn to one side of the argument or oppose strongly and refuse to really delve into the actual events.
  Posted on: October 4, 2013 4:29 pm

Kim Lucas
Kim Lucas
Reps: 107
I agree with you that the presentation of the material can sometimes make or break a lesson. These type of lessons that do have strong emotional reactions for both sides of the discussion could benefit from a different type of lesson. One possible way would be to present the "problem" - slavery and oppression of one particular race - and have the students brainstorm different solutions before studying the historical facts. This may give them a different perspective and a feeling that they do have the ability to change a similar situation if they ever come across one.
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 9:28 pm

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Solution 10
Posted December 7, 2012 7:05 pm

Art Buff
Art Buff
Reps: 111
This is a very harry situation. First it is never appropriate for a student to give into frustration and disrupt an entire class in this manner. If he/she had a problem with what was being discussed they should have waited till after class/school to talk with you one on one. This feeling of aggravation over the points of a specific lecture are something that I have felt myself. Sometimes it feels like it becomes more preaching than teaching. Since the student is generally well behaved it should not be too troubling to work this out. Like in the "I wish I were black" case there needs to be an understanding established with the student that this is a very important part of American history. One that we shall not repeat. Now as history doesn't change it may be that the topic has become very redundant for the student. Try something new; perhaps a little more in-depth such as am essay or report to give the students a fresh take on the African-American slave and plantation life.
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Chelsea Abbott
Chelsea Abbott
Reps: 112
I completely agree that it is a sticky situation. The curriculum has to be taught and the students have to understand that it was a major part of history. The white may be looked at as "evil" in this case, but that is just one side of the situation. How do the black people in the class feel? They were the ones that were victimized to be ridiculed just because of their skin color. Yes, this act of discrimination can be embarrassing for white people, but it is something that we need to learn about in order for it to not happen in the future.
  Posted on: September 23, 2015 7:10 pm

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Solution 11
Posted December 8, 2012 10:16 pm

Erin Warren
Erin Warren
Reps: 142
I think that this topic should still be taught, and one way to teach it would be to allow students to participate in the good and bad of the past. You might start by showing other times in history where not just african americans were hurt, this way the white student would have to think about all situations. The teacher could also have a debate and assign students to take sides as if they were in the times of the civil war. This way the child would have to do research and not just listen to the facts, but see them himself.
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Solution 12
Posted December 9, 2012 6:46 pm

sierra h
sierra h
Reps: 47
for my us history class i recently had to read the book black like me the journal of a john howard griffin a writer who's focus is on racial prejudice and his experiment in 1959 to transform himself into a black man and travel through the south in order to properly document the relation and treatment of the black and white community. This book is very enlightening and i feel like it would have a greater impact if it was incorporated into a younger curriculum the book does cover sensitive topics like sexual exploit and abuse but i believe its content is more profound. I too have experienced situations where students are frustrated because they feel like they are being punished for being white when they read about slavery like everyone is punishing them for something they didn't do them selfs but their cultural background points the finger at them. recently in my us history class when we were coving slavery ,segregation and civil rights one of the students asked a resonating question " why do we continue to learn this we know it happened we've been learning it since the 3rd grade why cant we learn about something we don't hear about like the treatment of the hispanic slaves or how we wiped out the native american community i understand the seriousness of the topic and I'm sorry it happened and is still happening but african americans are not the only victims why cant we learn about them why are they so much better than the others ?" this stirred the class we didn't know weather to be offended or agree the room was quiet for what felt like forever then a student came into the room who had herd the speech from the hall and said we continue to learn about it so we don't let it happen again so we learn from the past my teacher chimed in that the curriculum requires it and doesn't the other aspects just like the war in korea isn't even a chapter long in any history book. I'm telling you this to let you know that students are always going to feel uncomfortable but perhaps if you included other aspects into your lesson like perhaps reading a book or incorporating other stories about oppression in other countries or races.
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Solution 13
Posted September 29, 2013 7:33 pm

Tracy C
Tracy C
Reps: 104
First, we must be clear of the fact that topics such as slavery and the civil rights movement will evoke some sort of emotions (positive and/or negative) in our students regardless of their ethnic cultural background. As educators, it is important that we understand this and seek advice from colleagues regarding their teaching methodologies applied to the delivery of the aforementioned content. Next, it is important that we do not make it a black or white issue while teaching about slavery and the civil rights movement. We should teach from an historical point of view lens where the class as a whole is looking through historical lens at periods in our (stress with emphasis) history that have contributed to the America we experience today. My reasoning behind this is that it might be an easier pill for our students to swallow if they understand that our study of the past is pertinent to our understanding of our present and may very well serve to influence our future; doing it this way would certainly encourage the students to be more accepting of the content being delivered.

Moreover, while I agree with the lecture style and small group approaches, I do not think that they should be "over-killed" or used haphazardly. Also, videos and graphics should be used sparingly and with moderation; for example, the showing of two or three videos or a display of pictures will suffice. I certainly do not think that we need to bombard our students with every video clip and pictures we can find on such topics to ensure that they master the content. In addition, to ensure that we are being fair in our delivery, I think it would be effective for the class to be assigned projects where they would seek out individuals (community or family) they can interview to answer questions they may have about the content. I would even go as far as to challenge each one to locate individuals outside of their ethnic cultural identity. In doing so, I think this would empower our students in regards to them taking the initiative to develop social judgment skills (empathy included).
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udydyV
udydyV
Reps: 108
I agree with all of your suggestions. I would also add that for age-appropriate grade levels, I would have students interview people in the community of a different race about topics such as Civil Rights and or slavery. In our attempts to teach students, I think it is important to nudge them out of their comfort zone.
  Posted on: October 2, 2013 8:41 pm

Myzusy
Myzusy
Reps: 113
I liked the idea of getting different cultural perspectives in the community interviews. Students need to understand the multiple sides of the issues whether they agree with them or not. This promotes critical thinking as well as encourages students to think about other peoples perspectives. There is always more than one way to solve a problem so students should be encouraged to think of other plausible solutions that could be used to solve problems in the future.
  Posted on: September 25, 2014 5:03 pm

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Solution 14
Posted October 1, 2013 8:22 pm

BeWuXe
BeWuXe
Reps: 117
When teaching curriculum that is racially sensitive, it is important to set the stage. Prior to discussing these topics students must understand that these issues are a part of our history. Whether we agree or disagree, history cannot be changed or ignored. Students must understand it is these events as well as others that shaped our nation into what it has become today. When teaching a curriculum that is racially sensitive, the teacher must be mindful of the potential reactions of their students. Holding a discussion prior to teaching these topics may be beneficial to both the teacher and students. Mentally preparing students to expect possible feelings of sadness or anger is a normal reaction when learning about these events. By preparing students in advance,feelings of anger or resentment may be lessened.
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BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
I agree, introducing the students to the background knowledge of a topic is essential. Mentally preparing the students to the topics that are being discussed is very important. Great solution. Pre-talk!!!!!
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 10:18 pm

aheduX
aheduX
Reps: 112
I agree with you. Preparing the students for sensitive content in advance could lessen negative emotions. Having discussions about it could possibly help as well. History is what makes our present and future. Without certain events happening, the present and future would not happen. History cannot be changed or ignored.

  Posted on: September 30, 2014 8:49 pm

April Rozier
April Rozier
Reps: 110
I agree that an open discussion with the students before beginning the lesson would be a proactive route to take. Explaining that different emotions may be present during the lesson will help the students not feel guilty about what they are feeling when the discussions begin.
  Posted on: October 3, 2014 12:58 am

Amanda Whittaker
Amanda Whittaker
Reps: 114
I think it is a great idea that your prepare them for what is coming and that it is a sensitive subject. We also need to let the students know that they can ask any questions as long as they are appropriate and not offensive to anyone else.
  Posted on: October 20, 2015 2:25 am

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Solution 15
Posted October 6, 2013 3:28 pm

upyNuX
upyNuX
Reps: 100
It sounds like the focus was just on how black people were oppressed by white people. What needs to be addressed is the fact that there were many white people who helped slaves gain their freedom. And that there were many white people who fought for freedom for all. At that point in time all the senators and congressmen were white but obviously there were many who voted against slavery. So include some of them in the discussions so that it is clear that not all white people at that time wanted slavery to exist.
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aQazuV
aQazuV
Reps: 105
I agree with your solution. I think it is important to point out that there were many white Americans that wanted to end slavery. The President of the United States at the time, Abraham Lincoln, was one of the main abolitionist of the time. I think that the students would appreciate hearing positive stories about white Americans.
  Posted on: September 29, 2014 11:44 pm

Qybuse
Qybuse
Reps: 118
I think your comment is an important one. In order for this time period to be totally understood, it is crucial that students are exposed to all sides of the story. I think primary source documents would be a great way for them to see the true feelings of all people involved, not just a writing by an outsider who attempted to understand what was going on.
  Posted on: October 4, 2015 11:57 pm

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Solution 16
Posted September 27, 2014 5:32 pm

yXeBeX
yXeBeX
Reps: 114
I think it's important to explain to all the students that there are topics we need to learn about that won't always be comfortable. However, they also need to know that just because it may be uncomfortable, doesn't not mean that it should be ignored. This is part of our history, like it or not, and it needs to continue to be taught as something that shaped our country and made us the who we are. Maybe the conversation needs to shift to why the students feel uncomfortable. Students need to also be aware that what we allowed back then would never be allowed today. Why is that? Maybe what we are doing today will be looked at upon in 200 years as embarrassing as when we allowed slavery. These topics should foster questions that will allow students to critically think about what kind of society they want to grow up in.
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LeHyZa
LeHyZa
Reps: 107
You are right that our current actions shape our future. It is a good lesson also that discussion topics won't always be comfortable but this doesn't mean they should get skipped over. Getting to the route of why this topic is so uncomfortable may help lead to a preventative solution that'll ensure we will not have to relive another great atrocity.
  Posted on: October 2, 2014 1:57 am

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Solution 17
Posted September 29, 2014 11:41 pm

aQazuV
aQazuV
Reps: 105
In 5th grade Social Studies we discuss the same concepts in a smaller scale. I have never had a student openly admit to being angry about the topic however; I do not dismiss the idea. I think that lectures and small groups are a productive way to teach the concept. I think you should explain to the students that the material is part of our history and we must discuss the concepts so that history does not repeat itself. Tell the students that just because the predominate race that discriminated against African Americans were white does not mean that all white people were “bad.” Explain to them that there were several white Americans that worked to help the slaves. One important example is the president of the time, Abraham Lincoln. I would also explain to the students that simply because your parents or someone in your family made a bad decision in their life that doesn’t negatively affect your character just as your ancestors from this time period do not negatively affect your character now as well.
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ezasyp
ezasyp
Reps: 107
I definitely think it is important for students to fully understand that we learn about history to see where we came from and to not repeat where we have been!
  Posted on: October 2, 2014 4:37 pm

Qybuse
Qybuse
Reps: 118
I wonder if letting students do the research about the Civil War would help them to better understand the viewpoints of both sides. I also teach fifth grade and have had many students in the past question why slavery happened the way that it did. I provide my students with many primary source documents about the agricultural nature of the South during that time. It helps them to see why most Southerners owned slaves during that time. We have many discussions about how the idea transformed over time from simply getting help on the plantations to the focus of white control. This "theme" carries us all through Reconstruction and well into the Civil Rights era, but it does help my students understand both sides of the story.
  Posted on: October 4, 2015 6:47 pm

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Solution 18
Posted October 5, 2014 2:31 pm

egyveW
egyveW
Reps: 103
I think that it is very important to give students certain behavioral expectations when going into a lesson like this. I also think that it is important to address both races in the most positive way possible. When I teach units like this, I try and point out that African Americans did not fight this fight alone. When I show the "I have Dream" speech footage, my students are always so surprised to see white people in the audience. It is a good teachable moment, and I am always sure to point out that when a race, culture or gender is oppressed, it is not one races problem, it is everyone's problem and everyone's fight. I also always point out that every male in the room had the right to vote before any female regardless of their race. It just was not easy for African American males to exercise that right. The main point for students to grasp is that oppression is not a one sided issue committed by only one race.
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GyJeWy
GyJeWy
Reps: 105
Great point and way to use teachable moments by letting students know it's not one races problem, issue, or concern, it's everyones. This may help them think of each other as a team instead of enemies.
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 7:04 pm

Kim Lucas
Kim Lucas
Reps: 107
I agree with you that it is so important to use teachable moments with our students, and that pointing out as you suggest, that it is everyone's problem when oppression occurs. I think that making a point to show that it is more about finding ways to not let these things happen again, and that it could look differently next time (such as not letting women vote) is important. Setting the expectations for the discussion ahead of time is very wise also. This allows you to be able to redirect when needed!
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 9:24 pm

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Solution 19
Posted November 29, 2012 5:02 pm

Meredith Hein
Meredith Hein
Reps: 139
In dealing with the topic of slavery in the United States, teaching it in any grade or discussing it as adults can be difficult. I think a way to put your White students at ease could be to talk about the positive effects of slavery. I would discuss in an unbiased manner (as much as possible) that there were both positive and negative outcomes when slavery occurred. I would talk about that not all White people treated slaves terribly. I would also mention that even after slavery was abolished, some slaves decided to stick around their slave owners because they were provided with food, work, and shelter for their families. In order to bring the focus out of the United States, which directly ties to the students in your classroom, I would briefly mention that the concept of slavery did not start in the United States. I would discuss how over the evolution of time there were other cultures that implemented this idea of slavery and that it is not necessarily just about "whites and blacks". It is a touchy subject for everyone, but so long as you seem open and willing to discuss with your students by showing compassion for their feelings, things should go more smoothly.
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upyNuX
upyNuX
Reps: 100
I do like the idea of pointing out that slavery is not just something that has been done in the US by white people. However, helping students to see that other races and cultures have also enslaved people may not be enough. We do not want to excuse slavery because there is no excuse for it. I am also not sure how helpful it will be to say "not all slaves were treated badly." Even if they were treated well, they were still possessions of their masters and were not given freedoms that they deserved no matter how well they were treated.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 3:35 pm

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Solution 20
Posted December 5, 2012 7:56 pm

Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams
Reps: 118
I think that this is a normal way to feel, and that the student is very brave for expressing his opinion. In fact in school I used to hate to talk about slavery because I felt that I drew too much attention to the black kids. Teachers always used to ask us how we felt about the situation not thinking if it made us uncomfortable or not. I think that instead of teaching based on lectures and small group work you could attempt to include some kind of documentary on slavery. Also you should include stories about the slave owners who would take great care of their slaves. Every slave owner was not a monster and it's important for children of all races to know this.
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ezasyp
ezasyp
Reps: 107
I did not even think about teachers actually asking African American kids how they felt. I would never ask a student that and it doesn't matter what race they are! But I agree! I think it is a good thing that the student felt comfortable enough in his classroom setting to express his opinion so opening and freely!
  Posted on: October 2, 2014 6:40 pm

egyveW
egyveW
Reps: 103
I think the documentary is a good idea. I had not thought about looking at the other types of slave owners other than the ones normally seen in most depictions.
  Posted on: October 23, 2014 8:44 pm

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Solution 21
Posted December 5, 2012 11:34 pm

Anna Washinger
Anna Washinger
Reps: 121
I feel that this topic is a sensitive issue in almost every grade. Throughout my past 3 years in college, anytime slavery or other related topics are mentioned, there seems to be tension in the classroom from both Blacks and Whites. As a future educator, I do wonder how I will cover topics such as these in a way that will be comfortable for my students, yet comprehendible and fair at the same time. In my opinion, topics such as these may always remain difficult to teach and to learn about, but there may be some ways to make them tolerable and ease some hard feelings. A possible solution could be to explain to the students upfront before the lesson that some of these topics may be sensitive to some people and that feelings should be respected. Regarding the actual content of the lesson, a possible solution could be to explain to students that this is an important part of history that must have an awareness about it, but to look at the positive aspects of the situations. Explaining to students that even though times like those were tough, both Blacks and Whites have come such a long way since then. Students can then compare the past to the future, focusing on what positive changes both Blacks and Whites have made to improve the situations that once occurred. This could be a good way to shift or mask the negativity stemming from these difficult topics.
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Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
Reps: 107
I think your suggestions about comparing the feelings that these two races had in the past and have in the present is a great way to address the controversial issues. The unit about slavery and civil rights must be introduced with cautionary words. I agree with your solution that educators must address these issues to help students become successful citizens that do not repeat these mistakes in the future.
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 6:25 pm

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Solution 22
Posted December 7, 2012 6:39 pm

Laine Vilardi
Laine Vilardi
Reps: 119
I think it is important for all students to understand that slavery, no matter how dark a time in our nation, is a part of our history. I we don't educate ourselves on historical times such as that, we often make wrong assumptions because we don't know the whole story. While your White students seem to be sensitive to the topic, I think they should think about how the African American students feel and how their ancestors felt during that time. We can't change the past, but we can learn from it and it I think that is the important message to send to all the students in your class.
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Emily West
Emily West
Reps: 102
I agree that it is important for all students to learn about these times in American history. They can take them as a learning experience and see ways in which they would like to approach social and racial injustices.
  Posted on: September 27, 2013 7:13 pm

jaMyDu
jaMyDu
Reps: 119
I agree with you that it is vital to teach history so that we understand the mistakes that have been made in the past. I think that it is only natural for a white student to feel demonized when he is told that his ancestor could have possibly been a slave owner. However, I also feel that it would be necessary that the teacher educate the students on the anti-racist leaders of the time and to inform them that there were just as many freedom fighters as there were slave owners. I would tell them that they could also be related to a freedom fighter who fought right beside the slaves for their freedom.
  Posted on: October 1, 2013 3:38 pm

A Battles
A Battles
Reps: 115
I think it is a good idea to try and get them to empathize with African American students. They may feel their race is being demonized but they need to think of the students who are having to think of their past and how potentially some of their ancestors may have been treated.
  Posted on: October 2, 2013 7:16 pm

egyveW
egyveW
Reps: 103
I agree that it is important for students to know the history behind it all in order to gain a better understanding of the events that took place.
  Posted on: October 19, 2014 12:14 pm

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Solution 23
Posted February 11, 2013 1:37 pm

Shana Johnson
Shana Johnson
Reps: 26
I would say put your students in groups of 3 or 4, depending the size of your class, and give them different topics like slavery, civil rights moment, and etc. Have them research the topic and give a guideline on what you are looking for. Then on Friday, have them present their topic to the class and have them talk about one thing they found interesting that they found and one thing they didn't agree upon or like about what they found.
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TuVuze
TuVuze
Reps: 99
Having the students research different topics is a great idea. In this way students may be able to discover aspects about slavery and the civil rights movement that they were unaware of, such as how African-Americans had allies of various ethnicities during certain points in the history of these injustices. Having the students discuss the research topics is also a good strategy so that they are able to express their thoughts and feelings about the past events and this can also allow them to communicate lessons that can be taken away from the context of this historical era.
  Posted on: October 3, 2013 7:11 pm

aHeRaL
aHeRaL
Reps: 112
I think this sounds like a good and reasonable solution to the situation. Having students work in groups helps the students feel more autonomous and that the lesson is less top down and hopefully that they see there is no general "demonization" taking place.
  Posted on: September 30, 2014 6:47 pm

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Solution 24
Posted February 12, 2013 4:34 pm

Kaitlin Stringer
Kaitlin Stringer
Reps: 116
Slavery and the Civil Rights movement is always a sticky topic. Even now, in my college courses, I feel people are afraid to say the wrong thing and upset someone. I think a good way to present these lessons to the class is through group discussion. It is important to remember that everyone in the class is an equal and has feelings but at the same time it is important we learn about the history of our nation. If these topics are presented as a group discussion I think it gives students more of an opportunity to share about their feelings in a positive way.
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Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
I think a group discussion would be a great way to teach these difficult topics. Students would need to feel comfortable to share their thoughts and feelings about such events in history.
  Posted on: September 29, 2013 9:00 pm

Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
I think a group discussion would be a great way to teach these difficult topics. Students would need to feel comfortable to share their thoughts and feelings about such events in history.
  Posted on: September 29, 2013 9:01 pm

jaMyDu
jaMyDu
Reps: 119
I like the idea of the group discussion. I also believe that the teacher set guidelines for the discussion and create an environment where every students opinion and ideas are respected and recognized. The teacher should create an environment where everyone should feel like they have the right to say what they feel free of judgement and criticism. As for all great classroom discussions, there must be boundaries set so that certain emotional lines are not crossed. The discussions should not be void of individuality, but should be free of bigotry and racism. I just say this because discussions like these have at times backfired on me. You really have to be careful, but discussions often seems to be the best way for people to express their attitudes, feelings, and beliefs on a given topic.
  Posted on: October 1, 2013 3:31 pm

uPaSeW
uPaSeW
Reps: 209
I think a group discussion is a great idea to present this topic. By having the group discussion, you can address the questions the students may have and share examples of white people who helped during the Civil Rights movement.
  Posted on: October 5, 2015 3:09 am

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Solution 25
Posted September 28, 2013 7:54 pm

A Battles
A Battles
Reps: 115
Spring (2007) suggested having students read books that showed how there were white people who aided and provided support to slaves. I think this would be a wonderful thing just so you can teach the students about the oppression and inequalities without demonizing the "white man." But no matter what you do this subject is likely to make several students experience heightened emotions. No matter the race looking back at this period in time can be very emotional but it is very important we do not forget our past so we can see how far we have come.
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Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
I enjoy your solution. I think having them also learn about white people that helped slaves would be important.
  Posted on: September 29, 2013 8:56 pm

Jessica Briley
Jessica Briley
Reps: 109
I think that is a great idea to show the "white man" in a positive light also. Students should learn that our past is important no matter who was the "bad guy" or "good guy" that it has brought us to where we are now.
  Posted on: October 3, 2013 1:42 pm

Kayla Mullins
Kayla Mullins
Reps: 89
I agree with your idea. This is a hard content to teach without having a difference of opinion. That is why it is important for the teacher to provide an oppertunity for students to share their thoughts. It will also allow students to learn the importance of difference of opinion.
-Kayla Mullins
  Posted on: September 28, 2014 10:24 pm

ezaDyR
ezaDyR
Reps: 100
Absolutely , students should be opened about their opinions, if they have one. Teachers are there to open their minds and discuss topics that may difficult to teach, but as long as the students are able to have an open discussion about it I think it will help.
  Posted on: October 19, 2014 12:26 pm

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Solution 26
Posted October 6, 2013 10:43 am

Hope Crosby
Hope Crosby
Reps: 122
You are not going to always to be able to keep from offending students, especially when dealing with such touchy topics. When I first read John’s response, I felt that journaling would help this situation. By creating journal entries, students can express their beliefs, opinions, and reactions to these touchy topics without getting the whole class ‘riled up’ and in a debate.
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Yasar Bodur
Yasar Bodur
Reps: 616
Hope, I am trying to see if the comment function works.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 11:16 pm

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Solution 27
Posted October 6, 2013 10:11 pm

yJaGus
yJaGus
Reps: 106
I believe the best possible way to address this situation is to do a lesson focusing on the good that White people did during the Civil Rights Movement and Slavery. Not all whites were slave owners or did horrible things. Pull out a few of them and focus on how they helped African Americans to not be in slavery or helped escape slavery. There will still probably be one in every crowd that chooses to say they are offended but as teachers having to follow the guidelines it is important to make sure the students know that you are doing what you have to do in order for them to learn the standards.
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Solution 28
Posted September 26, 2014 2:54 pm

PyveDu
PyveDu
Reps: 101
I believe since the children are at an older grade level. I would have the students use the standards and come up with their own way of teaching about it. This will allow them to put their choice and heart into learning about the situations that people have faced. They would then be able to share it with the class. This could also integrate technology and social media.
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Jordan Nelms
Jordan Nelms
Reps: 104
Good idea to allow them to find a way to teach this topic to the group. This would allow them to make their own assumptions or beliefs before listening to what the teacher had to say about the topic.
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 12:19 am

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Solution 29
Posted September 28, 2014 10:19 pm

Kayla Mullins
Kayla Mullins
Reps: 89
This is a very hard subject to teach for the exact thing that you experienced. Everyone has an opinion or belief reguardless of their age. So it is easy to make people upset when discussing a large topic such as slavery and civil rights. It is important to discuss the content based on the content presented by the curriculum. I do however think that it is important to allow the students to express their ideas. It would be a dis-service to teach the content and expect the students to ignore their thoughts. I think that you should continue to do small groups and allow the students to express their ideas with one another and then get back together as a class to compare ideas. Even allowing the students write down their opinions on chart paper and then presenting it to the class would offer a great learning oppertunity for all of the students. This would give them a chance to hear what others think and not be oblivious to other opinions. This is a topic that should be taught to all students because it is an important part of history but we must allow others to express their thoughts as well.
-Kayla Mullins
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Kristen Bagwell
Kristen Bagwell
Reps: 107
You provide a useful discussion. I think it's important for students of all races to be able to express their frustration. I also think it's beneficial for students to understand why information like slavery, oppression, and the Civil Rights Movement are discussed in classrooms. It's also beneficial for students to see how issues that happened many, many years ago are not completely gone from society -- in American and elsewhere.
  Posted on: September 20, 2015 4:10 pm

Amanda Robinson
Amanda Robinson
Reps: 98
I also agree that sticking to the curriculum is the best thing to do but also letting students voice their opinions.
  Posted on: October 5, 2015 2:07 am

Amanda Robinson
Amanda Robinson
Reps: 98
I also agree that sticking to the curriculum is the best thing to do but also letting students voice their opinions.
  Posted on: October 5, 2015 2:07 am

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Solution 30
Posted September 29, 2014 3:27 pm

BazaNu
BazaNu
Reps: 89
I can relate to this. I remember discussions of slavery in school. The lessons made white people out to be the bad guy (and back then, that was true), but it felt like even now white students should carry that guilt and responsibility. I think it's important to study what happened but this discussion can't be black versus white.
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Solution 31
Posted October 4, 2014 7:35 pm

ePeHyM
ePeHyM
Reps: 105
The topics of slavery and the Civil Rights Movement are sensitive and can evoke feelings of guilt and anger. However, they are important historical events that must be taught. One must be careful to include positive portrayals when presenting these topics, positive portrayals of both Caucasians and African-Americans. One does not want their Caucasian students to feel guilt (as if they are being blamed for slavery) or their African-American students to feel angry to the point where they begin to dislike Caucasian people. Also, it is important to discuss with your students prior to beginning the unit that everyone has different opinions and feeling and that we must be respectful of them. This would also be a good opportunity to discuss how the Civil Right Movement affected other cultures so that it's not just a discussion about Caucasians and African-Americans.
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Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
Reps: 107
Some of my suggestions were similar to yours. I think discussing the controversial material at the beginning of the unit will help students understand that they can express their opinions in a respectful manner. I suggested that the instruction could be supplemented with famous white abolitionists. I am impressed with your solution about addressing how the Civil Rights Movement affected other races. These cultural discussions will help students understand that race is not just black and white, but these issues affect a diverse group of individuals throughout the world.
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 6:16 pm

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Solution 32
Posted October 5, 2014 12:17 am

Jordan Nelms
Jordan Nelms
Reps: 104
Unfortunately, the topic of slavery and the civil rights movement will always be one that upsets someone; it is a hard topic to discuss for both blacks and whites. White children don't like being thought of as the ones that mistreated slaves, and black children don't like being thought of as slaves. If teaching this topic by lecture and small group seems to offend the white students, maybe try allowing them to make their own assumptions or opinions before actually teaching the curriculum. Try doing this by opening the lesson with a video clip or reading selection and not saying anything. Let the students complete a written response to the video or reading piece to express their feelings and opinions. This way you will get a good idea of how they feel about the topic before teaching it in a large group.
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Solution 33
Posted October 7, 2014 8:18 pm

SaSyXu
SaSyXu
Reps: 105
I think that you should maybe steer away from the lectures and small group work and let your students do some investigating on their own. Have them research how some white people during these times actually helped African Americans. You could talk about the white abolitionists during the Civil War. Have students do research and identify different ways white people actually contributed to the civil rights era.
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Solution 34
Posted September 23, 2015 11:25 pm

Laura Doolittle
Laura Doolittle
Reps: 109
I feel like talking about slavery is always a hard issue to discuss at any age. I would start off by reminding my students that what they are learning is apart of history and it is important to understand all the facts. I would also find some white people in history that were against slavery and use them as an example to show that not all white people oppressed blacks. Some examples that could be used are the following: Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Stanton, and Abraham Lincoln.
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Solution 35
Posted February 10, 2013 11:14 pm

Sara Jernigan
Sara Jernigan
Reps: 78
This is certainly a subject that may cause some student discomfort when discussing amongst a group of peers from many different walks of life. However, it is important to remember that no one person or groups of people are solely responsible for the mistreatment that African Americans received prior to the 1960's. It may be helpful to focus on the roots of slavery in America and how it originated through Triangle Trade involving Great Britain, America and North Africa. This allows you to point out the facts that many different types people were involved in the evolution of slavery in America and how it grew to become completely out of control. It also is very important to teach how overcoming slavery makes America a great place to live today because of equal opportunities for all of its citizens.
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Meredith Bryant
Meredith Bryant
Reps: 106
I really like your suggestion in terms of pointing out other racial divides and make it more of a lesson discussing both whites and blacks. This lesson does not have to pertain necessarily to complete inequality. Instead of harping completely on the mistreatment of blacks by whites, show how the whites overcame their behaviors. Also, show students that it was not ALL whites who participated in such resentment, but rather on a handful of them. Students will perceive this information best when they see more equality in a story full of inequality.
  Posted on: October 4, 2013 4:27 pm

April Rozier
April Rozier
Reps: 110
I like the idea of pointing out that white people did help overcome slavery and not all treated black individuals in a degrading manner. By teaching the positive and negative you are avoiding appearing bias or intentionally "demonizing" white people.
  Posted on: October 3, 2014 12:56 am

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Solution 36
Posted September 25, 2013 9:43 am

BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
First I would have address diversity at the beginning of the school year. I would give the students very descript details about what they would be learning throughout the year in Social Studies. The classroom environment will show all types of nationalities, ethnicity, genders through posters, music, literature selections and etc. When the topic of discussion is about civil rights I would approach the topic from an antiracist approach. I would focus on civil rights movement as a worldwide series of political movements for equality. The main goal of civil rights movement is to ensure that the rights of all people are equally. I would expand the topic by taking about women rights, rights of minorities and rights of individuals with disabilities. I think addressing the concerns and questions of the students that are related to prejudice is essential. This allows open discussions and students are most likely to be honest about their concerns and questions. I will also suggest that you clarified that there will be no tolerance for discriminatory behaviors. I will also identify the positive benefits of the civil rights movement. I will discuss the variety of abolitionists that played activist roles in the civil rights movement. I would discuss the white abolitionists just as well as the blacks abolitionists, because these gives each race examples of positive images of their race.
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Solution 37
Posted September 26, 2013 1:40 pm

udydyV
udydyV
Reps: 108
Without a sense that historically and culturally there are many whites who struggle against racism, black students stereotype all whites as being racist and, consequently feel hostility and resentment. In turn, white students resent discussions of racism because they are made to feel personally guilty.

Educator and African American activist Beverly Tatum suggest (and I concur) that you begin your discussion by asking your students to think of the name of famous white racist. Then ask your students to name nationally known white people who could be identified as antiracist activists. The point of the questions is to make both white and black students aware that there are positive white role models for antiracist activities but the white role models are not part of their own mental construct. Further, white antiracist are not discusses in history texts.

To engage your class, it is not necessary to abandon discussions about race. However, it is necessary that white and other antiracist activists be given just as much prominence as blacks. It is important to remember that while discussing the contributions to history of Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. DuBois, or Martin Luther King Jr., not to forget the actions of Viola Liuzzo, James Reeb or Michael Schwerner. Without taking such inclusive actions, students can leave public school without coming to the realization that whites played a pivotal role in ending slavery and fighting for equal rights for all people.
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yZaveh
yZaveh
Reps: 109
I love the activity where they construct lists of white racists and anti racists. What a great lesson in general just to show them how our mental frameworks are formed by what the media decides to have us consume.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 2:08 pm

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Solution 38
Posted September 27, 2013 7:12 pm

Emily West
Emily West
Reps: 102
I think that this is a difficult topic for teachers to effectively relate to their students. You must teach the curriculum and it takes some exploration and research to find the most effective ways to teach this issue without offending certain people. When talking about racism in slavery it is common for white students to become offensive because they feel that they were not the ones who committed these horrible acts but yet they feel associated and somewhat responsible. Making sure that the students understand that not all white people favored slavery is important. It is more the views, beliefs, morals, and values of an individual that make them who they are. You could talk about how white people can be stereotyped as “bad” or “immoral” people but discuss historical figures who were white and opposed to slavery.
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BeWuXe
BeWuXe
Reps: 117
Being mindful of how you present the content is extremely important. I agree that no matter how you teach these topics, especially slavery, there will always be debate on the issue. I also agree that it is important for the students to understand not all whites supported slavery. In fact, a very small percentage of whites were actually slave owners. By presenting these facts prior to the discussion might
lessen" the negativity or anger for all students, black or white.
  Posted on: October 2, 2013 9:07 pm

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Solution 39
Posted September 29, 2013 8:28 pm

Jordyn Nail
Jordyn Nail
Reps: 108
Preface each lesson in this unit with a reminder/disclaimer that you are teaching history, and that the thoughts of whites and blacks back then are NOT necessarily the thoughts of the class members.
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Solution 40
Posted September 29, 2013 8:55 pm

Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
I think the reaction John and the other students displayed were common feelings. As a teacher, I despise having to teach these things sometimes. However, as a part of the curriculum, it has to be taught. I think having a "disclaimer" before teaching such controversial topics may help. Let students know that this is something that happened in history. Yes, it is bad. Yes, many students and even teacher may have had ancestors involved in some of it. However, the most important thing is that students remain open minded and understand that many of these things happened because people were not very open minded! No matter part of history, there is going to be some part that will make some group of students uncomfortable. As long as they know how and why things happened, and how things have changed for the better, perhaps they will understand more and be willing to listen and learn.
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Jessica Briley
Jessica Briley
Reps: 109
I agree! I think the teacher should be open and honest before he/she begins the lesson by telling the students this may be hard to understand or comprehend because of our ancestors, but that it is a part of history that we all need to be aware of. Without knowing this information students will never know how far we have come and how much further they can still go.
  Posted on: October 3, 2013 2:15 pm

SaSyXu
SaSyXu
Reps: 105
I am in agreement. The teacher needs to put out a disclaimer at the beginning of the lesson and let students know that this may be a touchy subject for them but that everyone is entitled to their opinion but we have to respect the opinions of other people.
  Posted on: September 25, 2014 12:22 pm

aheduX
aheduX
Reps: 112
I love disclaimers! Explain that these are events that happened in history and that some of them are terrible, but some of them are patriotic. We cannot change the past. However, the past can help us write the present and future.

  Posted on: September 30, 2014 8:52 pm

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Solution 41
Posted October 1, 2013 3:22 pm

jaMyDu
jaMyDu
Reps: 119
I believe that there is great relevance in teaching the events of our past so that we do not repeat them in the future. I can also understand why white students often feel like they are being demonized in class when learning about slavery and segregation. it is important that the teacher realize that many white students shut down and feel guilty when these issues are discussed and taught in the classroom. It is important for the teacher to let the students know that not all white people owned slaves and not every white person believed that slavery was justified and acceptable. I think that this teacher should begin by letting these students know that there were many white people in history that did not approve of slavery and were anti-racist. I believe that sharing a list of those individuals and their contributions to the abolition of slavery would definitely be a step in the right direction. The teacher should let them know that numerous white people acted as allies for the black people and aided in their escape from slavery to freedom. These students should not feel demonized and guilty because they are white. They need to realize that there was just as many people that hated slavery as there were who supported it. Once they understand this, they can begin to build an anti-racist identity of their own. the teacher should continue to teach his lessons, but remember to include some white anti-racist heroes into his lessons.
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Solution 42
Posted October 3, 2013 1:44 pm

Jessica Briley
Jessica Briley
Reps: 109
I think as the teacher I would tell my students that they should not be disrupting my class to begin with. If they have a problem or a concern they should privately speak with the teacher in a respectful manner. Secondly, I would explain to my class (as a whole) that we all come from different backgrounds with different histories and experiences, and that we all must grow from this. I think as the teacher you should express to your students the importance of knowing where you have been in order to move forward in a positive manner. All of this is a part of a history, it is not an attack on any particular race.
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Solution 43
Posted October 3, 2013 6:57 pm

TuVuze
TuVuze
Reps: 99
It is important for students to learn about the inequalities that existed in the past that have inextricably lead to the present time. In an effort to help your White students feel less offended by the topics, instead of primarily relying on lectures and small group work, perhaps you could assign a project wherein students are able to research individuals that were allies to the slaves and the civil rights movement. Not only will the students be able to learn about White individuals and groups that helped the plight of African-Americans, but students should discover that other ethnicities helped during these challenging times as well. The students should also be informed that these events happened in the past and although the past cannot be changed, they can control how they act and respond to the content of the lesson. By acknowledging the past, and not shouldering personal responsibility for the Whites that enslaved another group of people, your students may have a better outlook on this topic.
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upyNuX
upyNuX
Reps: 100
I love your idea to turn it into projects instead of keeping the lecture and small groups going. And to have them take ownership in discovering who helped slaves gain freedom is a great idea!
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 3:37 pm

Jordyn Nail
Jordyn Nail
Reps: 108
Great idea! There are two reasons why having the ability to see things from more than one point of view is important. The first reason being there will be less tension during debates because students are prepared for opposing responses. Secondly, this skill is necessary for any critical thinker.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 6:25 pm

zuPeQy
zuPeQy
Reps: 99
I think having the students do a project is a great idea. That allows for them to learn that not all whites were to blame and it also gives the students more opportunity for discussion with one another.
  Posted on: September 22, 2014 10:43 pm

SaSyXu
SaSyXu
Reps: 105
I like your suggestion. I agree that instead of spending this unit lecturing, I would let my students do some investigating on their own. Having them look up how white people contributed to the end of slavery and helped in the civil rights movement. Students would then be able to see that not all white people were bad during this era. This would, like you said, show them that other ethnicities helped too.
  Posted on: September 25, 2014 12:20 pm

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Solution 44
Posted October 4, 2013 4:25 pm

Meredith Bryant
Meredith Bryant
Reps: 106
It may sound silly and a little obvious, but I think it is best to show them WHY you are teaching these issues and their purpose, even if it is for nothing else than to cover the standards. I go over the standards with my students every day (they even have a copy of them in their interactive notebooks that they highlight and mark). This shows authenticity to cover what I do. They know each and everything we do and discuss has a purpose. I have discussed the racial divide between blacks and whites before using "Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry" by Mildred Taylor. Similar issues of segregation and inequality were discussed. My students did not react the way that yours did, but we did have a discussion about it and how these events ultimately led us to the society in which we live in today. Maybe explain your reasoning behind your teaching it and show them also how important whites have played in our successful society. I think it would help to show them both in a positive light and negative light, and try your best not to harp on one race too much.
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Solution 45
Posted October 6, 2013 2:01 pm

yZaveh
yZaveh
Reps: 109
I experienced something similar during my first multicultural education class as an undergraduate. The class was a lecture/discussion format, and during one lecture on white privilege, several white students walked out. I think that although you were trying to present your topics in a way that does not suggest any guilt, your students (as well as the ones in my multicultural class) possibly comprehended the issue fully for the first time and felt guilt as a result. Their reaction was to get defensive, although in actuality of course, they hadn’t done anything wrong. Perhaps you could include in your lessons a history of slavery and civil rights in general. Show the students that white people are not the only race that have oppressed others, and it has been happening for thousands of years.

You also mentioned that your teaching was mostly lectures and small group work, so perhaps you could incorporate some kind of activity that allows the students an outlet to express how they feel. Perhaps they could keep a journal of what they’re learning and their personal reactions to the topics.
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LeHyZa
LeHyZa
Reps: 107
I had a similar experience in a Latin-American history course. I love your suggestion of a journal as a means of an outlet for the frustrated students to vent and expel their thoughts on this touchy subject. A class-wide discussion may turn too personal. It seems best to keep discussions on a factual basis pointing out the unfortunate and negative historical events and figures (since they have shaped our cultural perspectives today) as well discuss positive historical events and figures.
  Posted on: October 2, 2014 1:50 am

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Solution 46
Posted September 24, 2014 2:05 pm

aHeRaL
aHeRaL
Reps: 112
Middle school seems to be an emotional time for students and they may be prone to overreaction. Clearly, you need to teach the curriculum, not just because it is a part of your standards, but also because it is a part of our nations' past and has shaped events in our country. You do not necessarily need to change your delivery, but maybe try to incorporate more context with your history. Historically, minority and majority populations have had conflict for various reasons, so this is nothing new. However, as the beliefs in our society and across the world began to change, so did our laws and institutions. We can reflect on the reactions against those changes, but also reflect on the attempts to make those changes happen. It could also be a part of the broader context of the global shift in the idea of humanity and equality.
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Solution 47
Posted September 25, 2014 4:59 pm

Myzusy
Myzusy
Reps: 113
Slavery and the Civil Rights movement bring up sensitive topics which many people feel uncomfortable in discussing. As teachers we need to recognize that students may feel uncomfortable, angry or guilty when discussing these topics. The teacher should hold a discussion introducing the SS content as essential curriculum they are required to learn about and why. Slavery and the Civil Rights Movement are historical events that happened in the past and have greatly shaped the country. However students are the future and therefore, are not personally responsible for discrimination. It is students responsibility to learn why slavery was wrong, how it was stopped and how the Civil Rights Movement worked toward total equality for all people of the nation. By understanding mistakes of the past students will also understand the necessity of creating an equitable culturally diverse society of the future.
The teacher should also try incorporating new teaching strategies which will more positively engage the students. I would suggest using web quests that could be small group or individual projects. Many students enjoy technology based research projects which would also allow them to construct their own knowledge. Conducting interviews with family, friends and community leaders on both sides of the issue would be another way for students to construct their own knowledge. Writing a proposal no how they hope to positively impact their communities cultural diversity would be another way to get them involved in positive learning.
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Solution 48
Posted September 29, 2014 1:48 am

aheduX
aheduX
Reps: 112
Subjects like this can be very sensitive to students. I would be sure to stick to the facts and highlight those individuals of different nationalities that were positively involved. No particular group was responsible for the exploitation of African Americans. Slavery did become completely out of control, but our great nation is overcoming it every day. Our nation tries to create equal opportunities for all citizens.
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Jordan Nelms
Jordan Nelms
Reps: 104
Good idea to just stick to the facts! Explain to the students in the beginning that this topic is a hard one and may cause negative feelings but it is something that happened, that everyone should be aware of. I would also reiterate that it was in the past and is not the way it is today.
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 12:20 am

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Solution 49
Posted October 2, 2014 1:41 am

LeHyZa
LeHyZa
Reps: 107
It is important to teach about the oppression not only because it is the curriculum but because it has shaped the cultural perspectives of many today. It is true that the students in the classroom should not be judged by what their ancestors or people of the same race did before their time. Many students can easily feel like John and feel their individual character is being attacked. Lectures and small group discussion are okay so long as no one race feels they are the only ones shown in a negative light. Perhaps one group assignment can be to research/discuss notable figures of the dominating race who opposed the hateful acts and spoke out against the "norm" for that era.
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Solution 50
Posted October 2, 2014 4:34 pm

ezasyp
ezasyp
Reps: 107
I think that this topic is very important to teach students. If I were teaching this topic and I had students act very offended and upset, I would take the time to find other pieces of history that represent other races were put themselves in similar situations. I think this would allow students to see that it has not only been one race who have been mean and controlling to another race. I would also make sure to really express both sides of the story. Who were the people fighting against slavery? Who were the people willing to put it all on the time to stop slavery? When approaching a topic like this, teachers should have various angles and viewpoints ready to go from the start to help prevent students from getting to the point of hurt feelings. I think sometimes as teachers we are too focused on getting the facts in a timely manner that we lose some really good learning opportunities along the way!
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Solution 51
Posted October 3, 2014 12:52 am

April Rozier
April Rozier
Reps: 110
The topic of slavery can be uncomfortable for both white and black students. To ensure that I was not presenting the lesson with any bias, I would have the students read the material and allow each of them to teach a lesson from their perspective. This will allow the students to feel as if they have a voice and can share their feelings and concerns about topics that can be uncomfortable at times. The students may be more open and accepting of the information that is presented by their peers rather than you.
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Solution 52
Posted October 5, 2014 1:28 am

Qureby
Qureby
Reps: 102
I think it would be important to have an honest discussion with students prior to any lessons on slavery, civil rights, etc. The discussion should focus on why it is important to learn about historical events even if they make us feel uncomfortable or do not paint a pretty picture of certain groups of people. I would focus on ensuring that students know that discussing historical events is not intended to ostracize any one group or make any one feel badly, but it is rather an opportunity to learn from past mistakes.
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Solution 53
Posted October 5, 2014 6:10 pm

Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
Reps: 107
I agree with you that teaching about emotional issues, such as slavery and civil rights movement, is a hard task for educators and students. As it is a standard in the curriculum, we must address these topics in classrooms across the country. I think you could supplement these subjects with famous people of the white race that were abolitionists. It would give your students a diverse perspective on the topics. In addition to supplementing your instruction, I suggest conversing with students at the beginning of the unit. Discuss the material that may cause them to feel uncomfortable, but encourage them to share their feelings in a civil manner in the classroom. I hope you are able to find solutions to these problems, so your students can learn about the historical actions of their past.
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GyJeWy
GyJeWy
Reps: 105
I like your idea of supplementing the lesson. Great solution!
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 7:02 pm

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Solution 54
Posted October 5, 2014 7:01 pm

GyJeWy
GyJeWy
Reps: 105
Well this is a difficult topic but important for students to understand past events and as stated the inequalities. Maybe if before the lesson telling the students that topics that are going to be discussed are to criticize anyone now just to educate about past events so that we know the effects and it doesn't ever happen again.
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Solution 55
Posted October 5, 2014 9:19 pm

Kim Lucas
Kim Lucas
Reps: 107
Sometimes for middle school students, it is very difficult to separate what happened in the past from where we are today. It would be essential to discuss that the lessons that you will be teaching will be evolking big feelings in some students, on both sides of the topic. I have had experience with students empathizing with the oppressed to the point of tears, which is not a bad thing, but preparing them ahead of time for emotions to be engaged has helped. Also, the way that the information is presented may be more influential than realized. One possible way to present these lessons would be to discuss the problem of oppression, slavery, and then brainstorm possible solutions before discussing the facts of what happened historically. Then, a discussion could be pursued where a comparison of the ideas that the class brainstormed and what actually happened could follow. This presents the facts as less personal, and more historically factual, and at the same time gives the students the chance to think about other possible solutions.
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BazaNu
BazaNu
Reps: 89
I really like your idea to let the students think of how they would handle the situation first. This, I think, would help the students see that not everyone of the same color or background will think the same. Once you begin covering slavery, the students may not feel as much guilt because they have created a potential solution.
  Posted on: October 7, 2014 7:52 pm

Myzusy
Myzusy
Reps: 113
I agree with your ideas. By creating a pre lesson in which oppression, slavery and prejudice are discussed first the teacher will be able to prepare students. Encouraging open discussion and teaching appropriate procedures will help the students to feel less attacked.
  Posted on: October 15, 2014 7:32 pm

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Solution 56
Posted October 6, 2014 1:45 am

HaBuMu
HaBuMu
Reps: 52
Teaching students about racism and slavery is a hard topic to cover. I feel like the only way to alleviate the feeling of this is only one sided is to maybe find writing of other races during this time period to show that not everyone felt the same way. Also, use the discussion time to let the students know that teaching this is part of your job and that although it may be uncomfortable, it is necessary to learn so that each student understands why other parts of history happened. They also can learn as to why some students feel differently than them about this situation. There are a lot of situations in their future (such as a job)in which they may feel uncomfortable or do not care for but are necessary to learn self-control in these situations.
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Solution 57
Posted October 27, 2014 6:17 am

HyraLe
HyraLe
Reps: 73
Maybe you should change your approach to the way the lessons are taught. If they are lectures the students may look at it like this is what you are telling them and this is your opinion of the account of what happened. Instead, try to find videos that show examples of what occurred (with parental consent of course) and then allow students to have a discussions and ask them how do they think some of the people felt during this time, etc. Get their reactions and this way they are learning but at the same time they are not being told this is what happened. By viewing it they can get a sense of "this is what really happened and its apart of history".
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Kristen Bagwell
Kristen Bagwell
Reps: 107
I, too, think that including different types of texts for students to gain information is a way to avoid offense in this assignment. Additionally, if students were able to research a topic and present the learned information to the class, it would avoid the teacher leading instruction. Any time students are able to explore and create their own instruction is always beneficial.
  Posted on: September 20, 2015 4:06 pm

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Solution 58
Posted February 17, 2015 1:21 am

aGuvuL
aGuvuL
Reps: 101
When teaching this subject, it is important to teach all of the different aspects of history. As a teacher, you have to get material that the students can relate to. For example, in the popular chapter book "Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry," by Mildred D. Taylor, there is a white boy that is friends with the black family. Try to utilize resources that can help the students relate to the material.
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Solution 59
Posted September 20, 2015 4:03 pm

Kristen Bagwell
Kristen Bagwell
Reps: 107
I have faced similar issues when teaching To Kill a Mockingbird because understanding the novel and the context of the novel relies on student understanding of oppression, slavery, and the Civil Rights Movement. I think that, one way to avoid a group of your students feeling so uncomfortable that they don't want to participate, would be to allow students to make connections to oppression, slavery, and Civil Rights Movements that are happening in the present, as well as similar situations that occurred in different parts of the world. I think, too, it would be beneficial for students to work together to create solutions to specific problems. Although students should feel offended, I don't think that making students feel uncomfortable is always a bad thing; in the "real world," there are always uncomfortable situations, and it's our job as educators to teach students how to deal with these situations.
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ehyNyn
ehyNyn
Reps: 109
I agree that it is not always a bad thing for students to feel "uncomfortable." Often, we shield students from uncomfortableness and this gives them a sense that the world is a perfect place and mistakes were never made. If students understand that slavery and oppression were mistakes, I think they will get more from their learning and have more to contribute.
  Posted on: September 26, 2015 3:14 pm

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Solution 60
Posted September 20, 2015 9:53 pm

Edward Kim
Edward Kim
Reps: 106
One way to deal with this issue is to emphasize why we learn history in the first place. It is important to explain that we learn history in order to avoid repeating it in the future. This can be done by explaining how slavery is still something that goes on today all over the world by all different types of races and cultures and that some groups of people have not learned through history. But by ignoring the bad history of a culture we risk repeating it again and that is worse than having to learn about it. It is also important to emphasize that we learn history as fact, not as a means to blame a certain group for something that today's kids have no control over. We should not blame today’s children for something that their grandparents or great grandparents did. In terms of slavery and the civil rights movement, one way to help those who feel attacked by the subject is to show how many whites fought for equal rights and protection for black. You could explain how without them the success of the civil rights movement would never have happened.
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Solution 61
Posted September 23, 2015 7:17 pm

Chelsea Abbott
Chelsea Abbott
Reps: 112
This part of history curriculum can be tricky to teach. When you teach history, you do not want to single out any race or ethnicity of a group of people. Yes, in this case, white people were looked at to be "evil" for the act they were doing against the blacks. Now, the white students may feel embarrassed about the discrimination that once took place against African Americans. The blacks in the class could feel the angered from white people for committing this act of discrimination. Overall, slavery happened in the past and we have learned about the behavior in order for it to not happen again in the future. I believe that the students should look up their own information about slavery, in addition, to what you are teaching in the classroom. By the students researching the topic, they may find other information that interests them about slavery. The students can share about their findings with the rest of the class. Students tend to be interested when their peers share information. Even in small groups, students can share articles, stories and such that they find about slavery. In the future history curriculum, all different groups of people will be talked about. The students in the class, in my opinion, will have to keep their minds open when other topics are talked about.
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Solution 62
Posted September 26, 2015 1:40 pm

yWasyD
yWasyD
Reps: 107
Address the issues of why you have to teach this lessons to your white students, make them see how it is part of the curriculum and as the whites have their history, this is part of the black history. Tell them how important it is or them to learn about these histories so that the country can have a united front. By the time you go through these explanations, they will be less offended.
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Solution 63
Posted September 26, 2015 3:12 pm

ehyNyn
ehyNyn
Reps: 109
Race relations are always difficult to teach, but I believe this would be a situation where you might choose a different approach to teaching instead of lectures. Instead, choose to be the facilitator in the classroom and provide students with primary source documents. While it might be hard for students to hear, this stuff is history and must be taught. When a student has the freedom to learn the information on their own, through reading and completing an assignment with the reading, the teacher can be confident that they are not adding guilt to the lesson. While it may not be on purpose that guilt is put into the lesson, it may happen through the discussion that takes place. With students learning the information on their own, guilt is removed and students can form their own opinions and understand the facts.
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uzyXuV
uzyXuV
Reps: 208
I agree race relations would be difficult to teach. I think to avoid students openly and disrespectful expressing their dislike with the lesson the teacher should direct how the lesson is taught.
  Posted on: October 15, 2015 12:43 am

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Solution 64
Posted September 27, 2015 12:19 am

Jasmine Bringuel
Jasmine Bringuel
Reps: 102
The issue of slavery is a very sensitive issue. For this situation I would make the next lesson on slavery around the world, so that the students can see that slavery was and is an issue going on around the world and not just in the United States. America was not the first country to have slaves, so this can help lesson the anger of some of your students. The next time you teach this topic try to start with earlier times and countries that were enslaving their own people and selling them to other countries to gradually include the US.
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Solution 65
Posted September 29, 2015 3:44 pm

Amanda Whittaker
Amanda Whittaker
Reps: 114
Teaching slavery is hard lesson to teach no matter what the demographics of your school are. Many times the white students feel guilty because of what is taught and what others might say. Black students may become accusatory about what another persons ancestors did or did not do. The main thing it to teach the topic and try to keep out any of the additional conversations that could possibly start because of it. Before presenting the material, I would also explain that this is a very touchy subject for all of those that are involved and that none of us personally did anything wrong. Many times we also don't know if our ancestors were apart of the situation either. Let the students know that if they are having a problem with part of the lesson then they need to come to you and discuss it or ask questions. Also, look at your lesson and try and figure out why only your white students might be offended by how you are teaching the lesson. There may be something that you need to change and then that would eliminate part of the problem.
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Solution 66
Posted September 30, 2015 2:55 am

Jill Elton
Jill Elton
Reps: 108
As a Pre-K teacher, I enjoy teaching my students about civil rights, especially Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. However, in order not to make civil rights an issue of only skin color, I discuss with my students the issue of fairness. (Ex.- "Would it be fair if only the people with green eyes got to go out side to play today?", etc.) From this point of view, students begin to understand that the rights that MLK, Jr., etc. were pushing for were laws of "fairness" for all people, regardless of skin color. This helps everyone to understand the issue at hand without plotting one race against another.
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Solution 67
Posted September 30, 2015 1:26 pm

ezajaV
ezajaV
Reps: 102
As a teacher you should continue teaching the curriculum. I would make a point that America has changed because of slavery and the civil rights movement. I would make the students do an assignment about how America has changed since then. You can also make a point to the students that the lessons are not about white versus black.
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Solution 68
Posted October 2, 2015 6:38 pm

Kateline Vaughn
Kateline Vaughn
Reps: 106
I think that it is important to emphasize that it is history, and it cannot be changed. I also think it is important to explain that people have been oppressed throughout history based on race, gender, religion, and different aspects of culture. I would explain that the only thing we can do is learn from the mistakes and move forward. It is a part of history, and we cannot skip over it because it makes people feel uncomfortable. Usually the things that make us uncomfortable are the things that need the greatest attention. I would hope that my students would be able to move past the race issue and realize what the bigger picture is.
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Solution 69
Posted October 4, 2015 3:43 pm

Daisy Dumler
Daisy Dumler
Reps: 106
I think teaching children about inequalities is very important. I think that instead of doing a lot of lecturing maybe each of the students could do a research project on the civil rights movement. They can turn in a paper on their findings and then maybe have a small group discussion on the matter. This would basically be an intro into the topic and explain to them that times have changed and theirs no reason to be uncomfortable. Explain that they didn't have anything to do with what happened in the past and that we must learn from history and never repeat it. Then go on and teach the rest of the topic.
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Solution 70
Posted October 5, 2015 12:06 am

Qybuse
Qybuse
Reps: 118
Although this topic can be somewhat sensitive for all parties involved, I think it is an important one to study. I think it would be a good idea to open up the lesson or series of lessons with a brief conversation about racial inequalities as a part of our history. I think it would be helpful for both teachers and students to be on the same playing field, understanding that the things that happened were not necessarily right or just, but they are a part of our history and impacted many other events in history, so they are worth studying for that reason alone. I also think that it would be a good idea to present both sides of the issues. If this is done, students will see the key players that were both black and white, and they will realize that the conflicts were more about issues than race.

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Solution 71
Posted October 5, 2015 2:04 am

Amanda Robinson
Amanda Robinson
Reps: 98
I would have a discussion with my class. At this point, I think it would benefit the students to discuss their feelings. I would tell my students that I am trying to deliver the history without any biased viewpoints. I would try to do a much better job at removing all sort of bias in my lessons.
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Solution 72
Posted October 5, 2015 3:06 am

uPaSeW
uPaSeW
Reps: 209
I think that instead of doing your typical lecture and small group, you should switch up your teaching style. For example, you could do an assimilation like a play or maybe you could watch a video. In the video or play, make sure that you include a white person that was doing the right thing. All white people were not racist during the Civil Rights movement. Most of them were, however some of them stood up against discrimination. It is important that they understand that what happened during that time period was reality, but the point of learning about history is so that we don't make the same mistakes twice. If they are angry about what is being taught, that should be an indication that it was wrong and they feel strongly about it.
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Solution 73
Posted October 13, 2015 6:53 pm

PumuMu
PumuMu
Reps: 203
Just do what you feel is right
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Solution 74
Posted October 17, 2015 5:06 pm

Hedynu
Hedynu
Reps: 112
Unfortunately, there is no instructional approach that will “make sure” that a student will not get offended by America’s history. Truthfully, America has done some pretty offensive things. I am sure that there are African Americans in your class who are equally offended by the transgressions committed to their ancestors. Anytime an educator presents a controversial topic, it is in the best interest of preserving order to try to disarm students a bit. Perhaps you can begin by noting that although America is a great country, it has a very hurtful past. And sometimes the class will have to address the hurt, offenses, and dark parts in order to prevent such inequities from ever having to happen again. Therefore, the present should be a time for rebuilding race relations and other hindrances that can prevent our country from thriving and being great. As educators, we are keepers of truth and knowledge and as Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor proclaimed, we should “never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.” Silence is not neutral.
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Solution 75
Posted September 22, 2014 10:30 pm

zuPeQy
zuPeQy
Reps: 99
I think that teaching about racism and slavery is one of the hardest things to teach students, even in higher levels of education. No matter how it is taught there will always be students who get offended and "blame" others for the terrible things of the past. I think it is important for students to understand that these things happened a while ago but played a significant role in how the United States is today. They also need to understand that not all white people were for slavery and it is a stereotype to say that all white people are or were racist. I believe there is a good bit of grudge holding that still happens today. People of color hold grudges toward white people because of what "they did to their ancestors" and so on. Students have to learn this information because it is an important part of out history but they also must take it with a grain of salt and an understanding that it is a hard pill to swallow.
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Japuje
Japuje
Reps: 107
I agree that this is a very sensitive subject to teach. People have a tendency to believe stereotypes without looking at all the facts about slavery. Yes, many white people bought and owned slaves, but not all white people supported slavery.
  Posted on: September 22, 2015 8:28 pm

Laura Doolittle
Laura Doolittle
Reps: 109


Yes, I agree wit your statement. It is a very subject to teach at any age and usually there is some blame. I like your idea of making sure students understand that is a part of history and made the Untied States the country it is today.
  Posted on: September 23, 2015 11:28 pm

Jill Elton
Jill Elton
Reps: 108
I agree that racism and slavery is hard to teach about, even in Pre-K. But, too, people MUST realize that slavery has been around for hundreds of years prior to America being founded. All kinds of people were enslaved at various times all over the world; even before the birth of Jesus. Too, there are still slave trades going on today. Slavery did not begin, nor will it end, with just one type/race of people.
  Posted on: September 30, 2015 3:07 am

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Solution 76
Posted September 22, 2015 8:26 pm

Japuje
Japuje
Reps: 107
I can see how this could be a very touchy subject. The way slavery is sometimes taught it often demonizes white people and makes it seem like all of them were slave owners. White people aren't the only group that has enslaved others. Robert Davis has done research that suggests Muslims in north Africa enslaved European Christians. Many Africans kidnapped and sold their fellow Africans to Europeans in the North Atlantic slave trade and this was often their main source of income. I would have the students research other groups that have owned slaves and have been enslaved as well to make them understand that multiple groups contributed to the capturing, selling, and owning of slaves.
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Jill Elton
Jill Elton
Reps: 108
I also commented on how slave trade has been around for a long time, and is still going on today. Too, this topic could lend it's self to a look into the student's family tree to see if their ancestors were either slaves or slave owners at any time in history. With the help of modern day technology, like Ancestry.com, who knows what kind of information they could find.
  Posted on: September 30, 2015 3:17 am

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Solution 77
Posted October 6, 2014 2:09 am

Whitney Johnson
Whitney Johnson
Reps: 97
Racial issues in middle grades as well as high school settings can be quite difficult to handle. I think that history is an important key to our country in that we have come a long way from what we were previously. Perhaps taking a step back to rewind a little deeper in the past would be beneficial too. The Native Americans were not treated fairly either by "the white man." Explore these topics in order to help students see that this issue exists in more than in black vs. white.
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HyraLe
HyraLe
Reps: 73
I teach primary, but I can see how this is a big issue in the middle and high school grades. It's a very sensitive topic and by showing discrimination of other groups as well it may help students to see it just wasn't a black and white issue like you stated.
  Posted on: October 27, 2014 6:25 am

Kateline Vaughn
Kateline Vaughn
Reps: 106
I completely agree! I also think it would be beneficial for students to see that these are not the only issues of discrimination that have encountered. Discrimination has occurred throughout history, and this is a great way for students to realize that discrimination is a lot deeper than race.
  Posted on: October 2, 2015 6:43 pm

Hedynu
Hedynu
Reps: 112
@ areli saucedo-You present a really great alternative assignment. The students can be exposed to the history from the past; yet, the teacher is still able to provide an opportunity for lightening the burden of crimes committed by predecessors. I think that collaborative groups are a fantastic way for students to come together with the purpose of engaging and learning. Because the students are learning on their own initially, that may give them a little more time to process the events and perhaps reflect on them before presenting their findings to their peers. This may prevent a less emotional reaction and feelings of “guilt”. Additionally, students are now held accountable for their own learning and cannot rely on the teacher to simply lecture ideas. Some (parents or the student) can receive this as a form of indoctrination.
  Posted on: October 17, 2015 5:09 pm

Hedynu
Hedynu
Reps: 112
@ udydyV- I like your idea of having students to research or study the ethnicities of people who helped to abolish slavery. If the subject is approach thoroughly, all students will find that there were Blacks who helped to enslave other Blacks and capture them once they ran away, as well as Whites that were integral in the abolishment of slavery itself. Presenting History in its most authentic form should be the equalizer for saving all sides from “demonizing” embarrassment and pain.

  Posted on: October 17, 2015 6:00 pm

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