Thursday, December 17, 2015

Multicultural Studies class is exploring what it means to COEXIST from Joe Bossio

This post is from Joe Bossio, social studies teacher at High School North


We’ve spent the better part of the month close reading primary sources from the Teaching Tolerance website section called “Perspectives” (

For this unit, our focus has been religion, but we felt it was important to broaden it to include secular belief systems as well, so students as individuals and small groups researched and gave multimedia presentations in class. The aim was to identify “points of contact” among the various ideologies. Taoism, US Military Institutions’ Codes of Conduct, Hinduism, Christianity, and yes, even Jediism, were among those presented.

When circumstances and subject matter allow for a visual presentation, we utilize a bulletin board that was graciously set up by HSN building administrators for the Multicultural Studies classes to use. Previous board topics included “Breaking Through the Wall of Stereotypes” and “The World Makes, North Takes.” Time permitting, we document the making the boards though photos and videos.

We also conclude each unit with an academic discussion along the lines of a Harkness Table arrangement. Students are required to do additional research beyond the provided sources. In this case, the prompts for the discussion are the following:
  • Do religions do more to unite or divide people in society?
  • Where would morality come from without religion?
  • Does any one religion have a monopoly on extremism?
  • Do religious moderates have an obligation to speak out against extremists?

Click Here to watch the full video of the bulletin board being put together (filmed on an iPhone and edited with Magisto).


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