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Whose stories? Consider immigrant history

Published on Tue, 05/31/2022

Two girls sharing a single desk in a rustic school lean cheek to cheek, pencils in hand, looking at their schoolwork.

Whose stories would your students like to learn about in your curriculum? Give them this anonymous survey to find out!

Topics that students care about can be one of the most powerful incentives to engage in class, and even, when it is in the balance, to come to school. As we bring the year to a close, finding ways to look ahead with excitement is part of the prescription for all of us.

At Emerging America, the potential of immigrant history to engage students will be a focus this summer as we bring together educators to explore the topic (Immigration Issues in Perspective, starting July 8).

Resources for teaching both about immigration and about immigrants in America has been growing. Re-imagining Migration has come out with a mini-unit, Moving Stories, which connects immigration, migration, and the almost universal experience of moving.  So You Want To Teach Asian American History? These Educators Are Here To Help charts the growth in support for teaching the history of immigrants from the countries in the Asia-Pacific region in response to anti-Asian hate and violence that surged in the US. during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before COVID struck, a student at a Boston high school who was startled to learn about deportations taking place in Massachusetts developed a curriculum to teach about the US and Central America, spurring the faculty to make changes to the history program (How Educators Are Rethinking The Way They Teach Immigration History). Also in pre-pandemic 2020, the College Board republished a piece on Immigration: Education's Story Past, Present, and Future

In the wake of the pandemic school closures, as teachers and systems take stock, it is clear that the children of immigrants who are English learners have been among the hardest hit, disengaging from school in record numbers. As we look ahead, engaging students' interests will remain enormously important. Find out what your students want to learn about, and start from there.

Whose Stories survey

(About this survey - make a copy and edit for your own purposes, or use it as-is, and we will share the results with you.)


Alison Noyes

Manager, Emerging America
Alison Noyes is the manager of the Emerging America program at the Collaborative for Educational Services, where she leads the English Learner Collaborations project funded by a Library of Congress grant to the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies.