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
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.
Facing History grants educators the opportunity to take advantage of five virtual tours, exhibitions, and professional development resources to navigate the challenges that arise when teaching about genocide.
Facing History identifies six books that elevate understudied aspects of multiple historical genocides and the connections between them to aid efforts of genocide prevention within a global climate of rising hate.
In accordance with Genocide Awareness Month, Facing History offers nine classroom resources educators can utilize to help their students think critically about the specific historical and contemporary conditions under which genocides occurred to effectively unite head, heart, and conscience.