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Facing History and Ourselves


Program Description

Facing History and Ourselves provides professional development for teachers that aims to promote students’ humane and informed citizenship by addressing racism, prejudice, and antisemitism using historical case studies. It makes connections between historical events, human behavior and decision-making, and the social and moral challenges that students confront in their daily lives. Teachers are encouraged to use student-centered pedagogy to create positive and engaging learning environments in the classroom, and to use at least one 3-week unit of Facing History content and methods.

Program Outcomes

A randomized study by Barr et al. (2015) evaluated Facing History and Ourselves in 32 high schools, compared to 30 business-as-usual schools, from 8 different regions in the United States. The participants included 36% Hispanic and 32% Caucasian students. After 1 year of the implementation, students from the treatment schools showed significantly greater historical understanding (effect size = +0.14), qualifying the program for “Strong” in the Academic category. In addition, Facing History students demonstrated significantly higher levels of tolerance (effect size = +0.18), civic efficacy (effect size = +0.20), and engagement with civic matters (effect size = +0.23). Across all measures of prosocial behaviors, students in Facing History and Ourselves schools outperformed students in the control schools (effect size = +0.12), qualifying the program for a “Strong” rating in the Social Relationships category. Schultz, Barr, and Selman (2001) evaluated Facing History and Ourselves in a quasi-experimental study in public high schools in the northeastern U.S. While there were no significant differences on self-reported fighting, there were positive results on measures of social skills (effect size = +0.27). A third school-randomized study took place in a highly under-resourced, midsized urban school district in Pennsylvania. 437 7th and 8th graders from five schools using Facing History were compared to 257 students in two schools following the district’s standard curriculum. At the student level, scores were significantly higher on measures of prosocial behavior (effect size = +0.14), school climate (effect size = +0.11), and social relationships (effect size = +0.12).

Staffing Requirements

No additional staffing required

Professional Development/Training

Teachers receive 7 to 35 hours of professional development. In the seminars and online courses, a resource book for each historical case with materials and activities is provided. Upon completion of the training, teachers have access to ongoing coaching, an on-demand learning center, as well as print and digital resources.


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