Our approach helps students understand that people make choices and choices make history. Students learn that participating in a democracy involves many small choices and decisions as well as ambitious acts and social movements.
Making a Positive Difference
Facing History believes the paramount purpose of education is to prepare students to become active and thoughtful participants in society who can make a positive difference in the world. Schools are a microcosm of democracy, and students develop and strengthen their “participation muscles”—a combination of civic skills, knowledge, and dispositions—throughout their education.
The concept of choosing to participate grew out of Facing History’s early work with middle school students who learned about the steps that led to the Holocaust, including the failure of democracy, and wanted to know, “How can I make a positive difference so this doesn’t happen again?”
Our approach helps students understand that progress toward a more just, equitable, and inclusive society has never been inevitable; rather, it is the result of the choices large and small by both individuals and groups.
Who Is an Upstander?
Who Is an Upstander?
An upstander is a person who speaks or acts in support of an individual or cause, particularly someone who intervenes on behalf of a person being attacked or bullied. Find out how we help students become upstanders.
How to Be an Upstander: Acting against Indifference
Clare L., Ohio
A student describes the impact of her “Dangers of Indifference” course on her worldview and how it connects with the tenets of her faith.
From Reflection to Action
Through a wide range of activities designed to promote historical understanding, critical thinking, civic engagement, and self-reflection, students explore how society influences us and how we can make a lasting impact.
I grew up believing my voice was never meant to be heard. The courage of these survivors made me realize that not using your voice is a choice, standing by is a choice. If we could teach that to every student, just imagine how quickly the world might change.
Emily C., Recipient of the 2018 New York Upstander Award
Women’s History Month not only provides the opportunity to further examine the profound ways in which women teachers, and broader perceptions of women, have shaped the teaching profession itself, but also reveals areas of patriarchal rhetoric we must disrupt in order to cultivate school communities that do right by teachers and students.
The world of podcasting offers a platform for marginalized peoples to share their stories that would otherwise go unheard. Facing History provides five podcasts produced by Native American individuals dedicated to fostering healing within their own communities through the process of telling their stories and sharing their insights.
With the 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) currently taking place, Facing History hand-selected a curated list of conference events that speak to the Indigenous ways of conceiving of the natural world and its relationship to humanity.
During American Archives Month this October, Facing History wants to highlight the importance of primary sources to our pedagogical approach by offering five time-tested teaching strategies designed to incorporate analysis of primary sources into educator lesson plans.
In order for educators to ensure that LGBTQIA+ histories get their due in the classroom all year long, Facing History provides five reads that reflect on evolving ways of narrating the past, while centering underacknowledged narratives and protagonists who may not have been considered appropriate historical subjects in prior eras.
In honor of LGTBQ History Month, Facing History provides a list of ten documentary films and television series for an opportunity to gain knowledge of LGBTQIA+ histories and for educators to ensure these histories are addressed in the classroom.
5 New Books on Native American History, Life, and Resistance
In honor of Native American Heritage Month this November, Facing History staff members selected five new books exploring significant thematic grounds of Native American history and identity to highlight the importance of engaging students in exploring the histories and contemporary realities of Native American peoples beyond this month.
In honor of Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day, Facing History takes the opportunity to remember the pain, suffering, and loss sustained by the victims of the Holocaust, their families, and the generations that have followed them.
Earth Day grants educators the opportunity to consider the ecological issues facing the planet and the unique ways that they are impacting the young people in their classrooms, which both elevates youth activism surrounding the issue and provides a healthy environment to process "ecological grief."
How to Build an Affirming Classroom in the Face of Anti-Trans Legislation
In response to the rise of legislation targeting transgender people, Facing History provides resources for educators to build an affirming, welcoming class community for your students, especially trans and non-binary students.
In response to the outpouring of discussion and debate following President Biden’s statement that Russia’s ongoing assault on Ukraine constitutes genocide, Facing History provides five reads to address crucial questions educators and their students may be asking.