Facing History’s approach builds on our conviction that cultivating civic agency involves the mind, heart, and conscience. We understand that in order to participate as active citizens—in their schools, communities, and world—students need to develop the skills and habits of mind to read widely, listen actively, think critically, and communicate effectively.
With these ideas in mind, Facing History’s resources and professional learning prepare educators to support their students as they work toward the following competencies:
- Reading: In Facing History classrooms, students develop the strategies to engage with a wide range of print and non-print texts, including, but not limited to, primary and secondary sources, nonfiction, fiction, personal narratives, speeches, poetry, audio, video, and works of art. Our texts center voices that have been traditionally marginalized or excluded from social studies and ELA curricula and provide opportunities for students to engage intellectually, emotionally, and morally with a wide range of genres and perspectives.
- Writing: Facing History classrooms routinely incorporate writing in many forms, including argumentative essays, reflective journal responses, personal narrative writing, and writing for civic engagement. Students develop strategies to analyze and select relevant evidence, and to present careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information. Our approach nurtures student voice and provides real-world writing opportunities that are relevant for the lives students are leading now, and the lives they will lead in the future.
- Historical Thinking: Facing History classrooms harness students’ curiosity with historical thinking skills and habits of mind that help them better understand how the past informs their lives today. By exploring an array of primary sources and historical narratives, students consider diverse points of view and entertain multi-causal explanations for events. They use informed historical analysis to react to the consequences of historical choices or events and assess them on the basis of ethics, justice, and morality. This allows students to apply lessons from history to present-day problems and to define the kind of civic and moral actor they wish to be.
- Speaking and Listening: In Facing History classrooms, students develop the strategies to engage in productive deliberation with their peers. Our resources and learning experiences routinely provide opportunities for students to practice perspective-taking and to develop a tolerance for nuance and capacity for listening, skills necessary to navigate complex topics in a meaningful way.
- Media Literacy: Facing History helps teachers and students to utilize media and technology while teaching students to assess the quality and validity of sources.
C3 (College, Career, and Civic Life) Framework for Social Studies: Select Facing History resources are aligned to NCSS’ C3 Framework inquiry arc, which emphasizes investigating and analyzing evidence from rich primary sources and culminates in the completion of summative performance tasks and projects that encourage students to take informed action. In addition, many of our social studies resources incorporate elements of the C3 approach, by engaging students in close readings of strategically selected resources, multi-layered questioning, and opportunities for student-initiated inquiry and research.