Teaching Thanksgiving (2023)

The first contact with historical events is often made in the classroom and education forms the way we understand and perceive history. But how are historical events taught and therefore commemorated in school? What does the government want us to remember, what is swept under the carpet? Are we teaching inclusivity, diversity, and equity? What can teachers do to not replicate narratives (without losing their job, if there are any educational bans)?

Our explicit example here is the U.S. American holiday Thanksgiving and Native History.

We explored through research, surveys, and interviews different perspectives on the holiday itself and as part of U.S. American and German curricula. We talked with Prof. Dr. Bryant about educational restrictions in the U.S. and if there are ways to bypass them. We looked at teaching materials and asked German teachers how they handle the topic in their classroom. And we asked our fellow German and U.S. American students and friends what they know about the holiday and what they would like to see in-class regarding it.

The findings of this work confirmed our initial assumption that it is definitely necessary to question the guidelines or suggestions from textbooks – certainly not only with regard to the topic we chose. With our podcast, we want to inspire (future) teachers to take a closer look, to form their own comprehensive picture of a topic, and to think carefully about how it should be approached in the classroom. For our chosen topic, Thanksgiving, we have put together an extensive collection of information and teaching materials that attempts to address exactly these aspects.

Transatlantic Educational Insights

Prof. Dr. Edwidge Bryant

Associate Professor of Education and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) coordinator at Flagler College, St. Augustine

Prof. Bryant earned a Master of Arts in Education Administration and a Doctorate in Applied Linguistics with an emphasis on Bilingual and Bicultural Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. She has co-authored several books, including five bilingual English-Haitian Kreyòl dictionaries. She is also nationally and internationally reputed for her research on Haitian education, language, and technology (“Edwidge Crevecoeur Bryant, Ed.D.”).

Please find transcripts of the podcasts here

Teaching Thanksgiving – Visualized and Voiced

Quick Links to Valuable Resources for Teachers

Native Knowledge 360° (c.f. “Native Knowledge 360° Education Initiative”) offers perspectives of and on Native Americans as well as their history and culture by providing not only very useful and interesting information, but also teaching material, webinars and more.

The Zinn Education Project (c.f. Bigelow) is a great lead-in to a variety of U.S. history topics, providing great inspiration from short critical articles and book recommendations to free classroom materials and lesson plans.

Social Justice Books (c.f. Pagan) curated lists with critically reviewed books on many important historical, social, cultural, and political topics for all age groups. This allows teachers to easily find a suitable class reading.

This document contains various other valuable resources. Please click here to view it.

Please find a list of figures used in this exhibition room alongside more contextualization of the individual images here.

Works Cited.