Hi, my name is Doc Miller and I work here at Facing History and Ourselves. For over 36 years, I was a classroom teacher, and for over 20 of them, I taught Facing History and Ourselves. And I'd like to talk just briefly about creating a reflective classroom community.
After all of those years teaching, when I came to work at Facing History and Ourselves, they asked me a question. They said, what do you think is really key and important that you'd like to communicate to teachers about classroom teaching? The thing that came to me right away was the importance of creating a reflective classroom community. I really think that once that is done, everything else flows. So how do you do that? That's what the paper explores.
We look at how to create that respectful space for students to reflect together, to really have a sense of we are lucky. We're fortunate to come together each day to reflect on these important issues of history and of our own society today. I found it a privilege, and I hope that as you look through the components and look at it-- and I'm sure you'll probably add some others-- you'll really get a sense that in that reflective classroom community, what happens is there's a deep respect. And students get a sense of the importance of looking deeply together.
In doing that, it stretches their thinking. Their thinking is enlarged and enhanced and enriched. And that community, where they reflect on such important issues together, they really find it's a joy and a privilege, and I certainly did as a teacher.