Teaching about 9/11

Teachers are trying to explain 9/11 to students who don’t remember it very well — or at all. A variety of lesson ideas and resources are available, but most teachers are on their own, reports AP.

New York City’s updated Sept. 11 curriculum “includes tips on how to help students cope with learning about the horrors of that day, a study of the art inspired by the terrorist attacks and a history of the building of the 9/11 memorial.”

The Sept. 11 Education Trust also has come out with lesson plans. It was founded by Anthony Gardner, whose 30-year-old brother, died in the World Trade Center.

New Jersey has adopted, but not required, a curriculum developed by families of 9/11 victims, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

(Maryellen) Salamone said the loss of her husband “inspired me and I inspired the curriculum, and maybe the curriculum will inspire hundreds and thousands of kids. Then, one death will make a huge difference and I can sleep better at night.”

John Salamone, 37, died in the World Trade Center, leaving his wife and three young children.

“Learning From the Challenges of Our Times: Global Security, Terrorism, and 9/11 in the Classroom” is a free online K-12 curriculum.

Derrick Owings, a Cherry Hill High School West teacher will teach the 9/11 course to his ninth-grade world civilization classes and 11th- and 12th-grade psychology classes.

“We’ll look at the psychology of terrorism,” he said. “What makes a seemingly rational, mentally healthy human being into a terrorist?

“And from a world civilization side,” he said, “we’ll look at the history of human behavior through conflict and turmoil. One man’s terrorist is another man’s patriot.”

Fordham’s Teaching about 9/11 in 2011 highlights “the danger of slighting history and patriotism in the rush to teach children about tolerance and multiculturalism.”

“What one wants to know, however, is whether the rest of the curriculum is there, too: the civics part, the history part, the harsher lessons about how difficult it is to safeguard American values from those who despise them in an increasingly menacing world,” Chester E. Finn Jr. writes in the introduction.

Some teaching materials are excellent, Finn believes, citing the National September 11 Memorial & Museum’s lessons for high school students, which are used in New York City.  “Others, alas, are wimpy, biased, or apologetic and may well do teachers and pupils more harm than good.” Exhibit A: The U.S. Education Departent’s 9/11 Materials for Teachers.

The Education Department’s resource list doesn’t lead off with history, writes Valerie Strauss on Answer Sheet.

The first item is this: “Positive School Climate and 911 — Resources for helping create and maintain a positive school climate and preventing bullying, harassment, and discrimination.

Answer Sheet lists other teaching resources from the National History Education Clearinghouse’s In Remembrance: Teaching September 11.

Smithsonian Institute K-12 lessons

9-11 Commission records on how and why Sept. 11 happened

School Library Journal lessons

National Geographic Remembering 9-11

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  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    “help students cope with learning…”
    What? What’s to cope? This stuff happened. Bad guys did it and they’ll do it again if they get the chance. So keep your eyes open and make your day count.

    Hell, We’re homo sap. The worst of the predators we faced are either extinct or on the endangered species list.

    Helping kids cope means teaching them they’re supposed to be whimpering blobs of feckless, incompetent passivity until somebody comes along at pretty decent compensation and tells them how to face whatever it is.
    If they weren’t slobbering all over themselves in the beginning, there’s something wrong with them.
    I hate this.