Brian Gibbs

Brian Gibbs taught history and government at Theodore Roosevelt High School in East Los Angeles for 16 years. For 12 of those years he taught on an interdisciplinary team. He has also taught at UCLA, USC, Antioch Los Angeles, and the Claremont Graduate University. He is currently a graduate student in the division of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin—Madison.

Recent Posts

Facing History and Ourselves…The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Posted by Brian Gibbs on February 3, 2016

If we do it correctly, Facing History and Ourselves can be a life-long gift to our students. The "Ourselves" part is always the most difficult. It’s the part that students struggle with. Sure they can parrot it in the moment, but it is the part we hope students actually engage with for the rest of their lives. Not often enough, but from time to time we get hints that they are actually doing just that.

A student asked me, “What do I do?”

Like all questions worth asking, worth the trouble, it had no clear answer.

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Topics: Critical Thinking, A View from the Classroom

How a Student Helped Me Face Myself Part 2

Posted by Brian Gibbs on November 21, 2014

Last week, we met Angel: a student struggling to remain in the shadows within an active classroom which had been together for over a year. Leaving Brian pondering how to bring him back into the class after a confrontation, Angel had stormed out of the classroom.

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Topics: A View from the Classroom

How a Student Helped Me Face Myself

Posted by Brian Gibbs on November 14, 2014

Facing History and Ourselves has given me much: a collective of thoughtful, like-minded educators; a deep and sophisticated pedagogy; and perhaps, most importantly, a lens through which I can see and examine myself. Though I would have labeled myself a Facing History educator since 1995, it wasn’t until 2004 that I actually faced myself fully and not because I chose to but because one student gave me no opportunity of escape.

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Topics: Urban Education, A View from the Classroom

Teaching Kitty Genovese: The Importance of Complexity and the Perils of the Single Narrative

Posted by Brian Gibbs on May 21, 2014

I’d taught the story of Kitty Genovese for years and thought I’d read all there was to read on it. I was convinced that I knew the story. It had touched me deeply, shocked me, and moved me. Perhaps that was the problem, I had become far too comfortable with an uncomfortable story, and stopped exploring, asking, questioning. For an old man it was a rookie mistake and one that I’d unfortunately made every year for 16 years.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Teaching, Critical Thinking, Bystander, Upstander, Teaching Strategy, A View from the Classroom

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This blog helps Southern California teachers connect directly with each other, share ideas, and learn about new resources and opportunities for those interested in or already implementing Facing History.

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