Historic Decisions Create Citizens of Tomorrow

Lisa Strahley of  SUNY Broome recently shared a video her college and a local middle school produced based on their experience using NIF's Historic Decisions curricula in their classroom. Historic Decisions issue guides take important decisions from American history and frame them, not as stories of great men making decisions for the country, but in terms of the difficult choices citizens at the time were confronting. The goal of these issue guides is to allow students to feel the difficulty and power of making such choices and to learn to look at current-day problems with the same lens and sense of agency. KF program officer Randy Nielson noted, "This video provides a really nice illustration of what political learning looks like. It shows what the subjects of the learning are (the practices of choice making and the effects of making the practices deliberative) and also the feeling of it---the kids were excited, because they had come to a different way of seeing the past, but also because their sense of themselves as actors in a life of choices with other people had changed. They had learned a new way of interacting and they knew it and could feel it. And that self-consciousness was beautifully evident."

The 1776: What Should We Do? and A New Land: What Kind of Government Should We Have? guides are both available in print or digitally on NIF's website. Eight more historic issues are currently being framed as part of a research exchange led by KF program officer Joni Doherty.