Supporting a Culture of Inquiry in Your Classroom | Facing History & Ourselves

Supporting a Culture of Inquiry in Your Classroom

In this classroom video, social studies teacher Tareeq Rasheed teaches the lesson “The Choices the Leaders Made (Part II)” from the Choices in Little Rock unit.
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At a Glance

guide copy


English — US


  • History
  • Human & Civil Rights

This lesson examines the decisions people made in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957 in response to Brown v. Board of Education. Explore how to integrate classroom discussions while teaching about the history of segregation in the United States and its social, legal, and political consequences.

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How do we make these changes? All right? Who stands up? Who are the people who see something that's unjust, or injustice happening in our society, and are willing to face that? Where do we as individuals begin to step out and make a change when we see something that is wrong? Part of the activity that I would like to do is do a viewing of bits and pieces of clips of Eyes on the Prize. Closed captioning actually helps a lot, especially with the ESL, the amount of ESL students that I have in my room, the reading. So that's one. And stopping the video-- stopping the video, checking for comprehension, and checking for just understanding. What do you think will happen next? After the nation sees this on TV, what do you think happens next? So take a minute, talk as a group. I was so surprised how the white people were getting so mad for something so small, just white kids coming into-- I mean, black kids coming into a white public school. And we saw how the white people are trying to get past, trying to kill kids, just for them trying to get education as-- Once your group has-- --any of the other kids. --discussed, I want you to pick one person to share-- And it's just, they're just there to learn. They're not there to do anything else. Right. They're there for a reason, that they would like to go there. I just want to know, what were they thinking? Why would they do that, to make it seem like the black kids were doing something wrong, or against the law, or they would hurt their kids, or something like that? To me something that really seemed cruel is how they're pushing the guy and lifting him up. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. He wasn't even doing anything, just walking past, and some of them were just beating-- He was just minding his own business. --him with things. And they decided to be cruel like that. We're going to start with Ethan, and we're going to go this way. My group and I said that, well, what could happen next is the nation will-- they would get mad. Well, they will have more anger. And they would help. We were all angered how they were pushing on the guy when he wasn't really-- Mm-hmm. Doing anything. --doing anything. So I feel like since many people have seen that, more people would defend black rights and everything like that. All right, so your talk, you immediately went to how you guys felt, and you guys were angry looking at that. And you feel like the nation, if they saw that, they would sort of stick up for these students and the integration of schools. OK. Fair enough. And last but not least, Paul. It's not only race, but also probably abilities and sexuality. I know all the rights for the gay people, I think, now is basically the same. But with, I think, sexuality, it also shows how hatred can affect your thoughts, and you can be aggressive towards other races. Also, what you learn at home. Oh, wow. So you're actually taking it to connect it to what's going on today and how people judge individuals for, whether it be their sexuality or ability. And you feel like a lot of this anger, or I think we can say ignorance, comes from the home. To have a student who's physically disabled, how he was able to connect some of these things from the video to his own personal situation, even though it has nothing to do with race, it has nothing-- but it dealt with his own perceived limitations or limitations that society puts on him. And this has happened all throughout the year from different lessons that I've used. I feel like there's so much material there that if a teacher knows their students, you know what you can use, and what will work, and what you probably shouldn't touch on. And also knowing yourself as a teacher, that's very important, too. I really want young people to feel that their voice does matter.

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Most teachers are willing to tackle the difficult topics, but we need the tools.
— Gabriela Calderon-Espinal, Bay Shore, NY