Getting Equipped to Engage in Challenging Conversations

Posted by Mary Hendra on August 17, 2015

This month Facing History and Ourselves is the featured partner on Connected Learning TV for the series, Creating Upstanders in Today’s World. We are publishing the recorded webinars here with additional resources.

Becoming an upstander in today’s world includes being equipped and willing to engage with the challenging issues of our time, including race, class, and gender. We've seen this many times in the last year, as Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston, and other places with tragic violence have filled our news. In our third webinar, "Race, Class, and Gender in To Kill a Mockingbird," Facing History staff from California to Memphis to New England shared thoughts on the continuing resonance of To Kill a Mockingbird, the opportunity it provides for students to develop a mindset and language for challenging conversations, and the unique approach of Facing History which can help students not only engage with the book, but develop the reflective mindset for greater civic engagement.


Laura Tavares, Senior Program Associate for Facing History and Ourselves, has been a critical voice in the development of the new resource, Teaching Mockingbird. "Both history and literature can be entry points for a reflective exploration of current events and the difficult questions they raise about race and justice,” she wrote in a New York Times Learning blog post.

Steven Becton is the Associate Program Director for Urban Education at Facing History and Ourselves, and has worked with educators for many years in Memphis, TN. His blog posts for engaging students in safe and productive conversations about race have received widespread attention this past year.

Armen Menechyan is a Program Associate for Facing History and Ourselves in Los Angeles. Prior to joining Facing History, Armen taught in an international school in Barcelona Spain, including teaching To Kill a Mockingbird.

Sarah Altschul, Program Associate for Facing History and Ourselves in the San Francisco Bay Area, is a former high school English teacher who taught To Kill A Mockingbird and has always pushed her students to engage in larger societal discussions through the novels read. As an instructional coach in Oakland she supported teachers in setting up spaces for those conversations as well.


Additional Resources:


Click here to see this webinar on CLTV and how others have responded on Twitter.

See all of the webinar posts in this series, Creating Student Upstanders in Today's World.

What does it mean to be civically engaged today? Tune in next week for our final webinar in this series, "Upstanders in Today’s Digital and Physical World," Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 10:00am CA time.

Topics: Identity, Critical Thinking, CLTV, Upstander

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