University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Educating for Democracy Through Facing History and Ourselves

Commonwealth Honors College Events Hall - 160 East
Refreshments will be served

What kind of preparation do teachers need to be able to foster student's reflective engagement in the complex and controversial social and civic issues of our times, and how would we know if such preparation were successful?  In this seminar we will examine the role of education in promoting a civil society, focusing on the approach of Facing History and Ourselves, an international educational organization whose mission is to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry.  Facing History integrates the study of history and ethics in ways that help teachers to promote young people’s informed and responsible civic engagement. We will discuss the evidence base for the program and the need for more research that documents the complex links between teacher development and student learning. There will be time for discussion regarding the program, relevant research, and implications for policy.

Dennis J. Barr, Ed.D., is a developmental psychologist interested in theory, research and practices related to fostering the social, moral, and civic development and engagement of youth.  He is the Director of Evaluation at Facing History and Ourselves, an international educational and professional development organization whose mission is to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry. Dr. Barr is also an Adjunct Lecturer on Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where he teaches a course on civic education using Facing History as a case study.  Dr. Barr has conducted numerous studies, and was most recently the principal investigator of a nationwide randomized controlled trial evaluating Facing History. The research team also developed several innovative measures of teacher and student growth for the study, which was published in Teachers College Record in March 2014.

Date: 

Thursday, December 4, 2014 - 01:00

Speaker: 

Dennis J. Barr

Image: 

Dennis J. Barr