Helping Students from Immigrant Families to Discover an "Emotional Connection" to U.S. History

Uploaded by usedgov on 09.11.2010

All right, if I’m talking just to the Confederates, I’ll have my confederate cap on . If I’m
just talking to the Union soldiers. So, here we go. My name is Tim Bailey and, I teach
history at Escalante Elementary School in Salt Lake City. I’ve been teaching fifth
grade at Escalante for the past eight years. I have always been interested in History,
it’s always been a passion of mine. I’ve always considered it both a priviledge and
a duty to teach what it means to be an American citizen to my students and, I teach in an
Elementary school with nearly 70 percent poverty and an 86 percent minority population. From
30 different countries, speaking a score of different native languages, that’s going
to cause issues in any subject area. It causes particular issues and creates particular opportunities
when it comes to teaching American History. For instance, what it means to get up in the
morning and stand in front of the flag and give the Pledge of Allegiance and know what
those words really mean. (Students recite the Pledge of Allegiance) What is it you are
pledging, what are you promising, and why is it important? And, if I didn’t do that,
if I didn’t teach them these concepts, if I didn’t teach them these ideals, then who
am I leaving that to? Ezra, what’s “indivisible”? Cannot be divided. Cannot be divided. Very
good. Each spokesperson at your table has a die. If you roll your stamina number or
less, you’re ok. Real learning doesn’t take place without an emotional connection.
So by turning history into an emotional, exciting game, it will engage them and they will learn.
Now who remembers me telling you the story of what happened in the real Civil War about
this kind of thing? Daniel, what do you remember? About Robert E. Lee generals, they killed
one of the best generals. Right. Stonewall Jackson, one of the best Generals in the Confederate
Army. History is an absolutely necessary part of the education process, I believe. It’s
as foundational as reading, it’s as foundational as mathematics, it’s the glue that binds
us. And, I can see that teaching history can make a real difference in the lives of my
students. Because, what they learn from History, helps inform their decision about the future
and, I think that opportunity to give them that information is critical for their ability
to think. Great teaching is something that we all strive for but, I think great teachers
students the opportunity to learn. We can’t force anyone to learn, all we can do is give
them the opportunity and the means to learn and, I think that’s what good teaching is.
And it’s a very heavy duty that I think I hold being a teacher of American history.