Before teaching these lessons, it is important to read more about Facing History’s pedagogy, teaching strategies, and how this unit is structured.
Understanding the Rationale for this Scheme of Work
History teaches us that democracies are fragile and can only remain vital through the active, thoughtful, and responsible participation of its citizens. In an increasingly polarised world, it is more important than ever for students to understand and embrace the fundamental values necessary to bring about and participate in upholding the democratic ideals of fair-mindedness, freedom, equality, respect and tolerance between people.
In working towards this end, students in Facing History and Ourselves classrooms explore the complexities of identity, the danger of “single stories” and how they can lead to stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination, when our tendency to divide ourselves and others in to groups can become harmful, the importance of valuing and protecting human rights, and strategies for enacting change to create inclusive and welcoming communities.
By engaging in the process of learning about the values that underpin democracy, while also developing their critical reading and thinking, negotiating, collaboration, and active listening skills, this scheme of work provides students with the tools to participate in their communities so that they can bring about the changes they would like to see in creating kinder, more tolerant communities.
Teaching This Scheme of Work
We understand that teachers may use these lessons in a variety of classroom settings and ways. We recommend that, if circumstances allow, you teach these lessons in the order we are presenting them, but you should also pick, choose, and adapt where necessary to fit the needs of your schools and communities. Also, while each lesson is designed for a 50-minute class period, some teachers may need to spread the activities out over several shorter class periods, omit certain activities because of available time, or elect to include Extension activities to explore topics in greater depth. Whenever lessons are modified, it is important that students still have time and space to process the material, both individually and with their peers, especially at the end of the lesson so they can reflect on what they have read, seen, heard, and discussed in a safe and nurturing space.
There is a corresponding PowerPoint for each lesson that includes student-facing slides and activity instructions in the notes section for the teacher. The PowerPoints are intended to be used alongside, and not instead of, the lessons plans because the latter include important rationales and context that teachers should familiarise themselves with before teaching the lesson. The PowerPoints include basic media and prompts from the lesson plans but are minimally designed because we expect teachers to adapt them to fit the needs of their students and class.
Download Lesson 1 PowerPoint Slides
Fostering a Reflective Classroom Community
We believe that a classroom in which a Facing History and Ourselves unit is taught ought to be a microcosm of democracy—a place where explicit rules and implicit norms protect everyone’s right to speak; where different perspectives can be heard and valued; where members take responsibility for themselves, each other, and the group as a whole; and where each member has a stake and a voice in collective decisions. We recommend that teachers create a strong foundation for a reflective classroom through the use of the following:
Even if you have already established rules and guidelines with your students to help bring about these characteristics in your classroom, we recommend taking a moment to review how you might frame your classroom contracts and student journals within the context of this scheme of work, weaving them into your daily practice so they become part of the culture of the classroom.
Assessing Your Students
Each section of this scheme of work includes suggestions for a project-based assessment that is related to the section’s overarching theme, essential question, and key content points. In addition to providing students with an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired over their course of study to a novel situation, the assessments are designed for students to work collaboratively and creatively with one another, so they are practising discourse and dialogue, active listening, showing mutual respect for each other and each others’ ideas, negotiating conflict, and active listening. The fourth section’s assessment asks students to synthesise the ideas from the entire scheme of work and apply them to a Choosing to Participate action project that they will propose and perhaps implement in their school or local community.