Continuous Impact & Growth: Checking in with DC’s Real World History

May 22, 2017
By Educator Innovator

Students share their thoughts on what makes Cosby Hunt’s Real World History program, one of the 2014 LRNG Innovators Challenge grantees, such a unique and powerful way to connect with history.

In these videos commissioned by the National Writing Project (NWP), LRNG awardee Cosby Hunt and his students are featured as part of a unique after-school elective called Real World History. Through a partnership with DC Public Schools, Real World History gives students the chance to explore the past by interning at museums, libraries, and historical sites across Washington, D.C. A former social studies teacher, Cosby now serves as the manager of teaching and learning at Center for Inspired Teaching, whose mission is to build a better school experience for students through transformative teacher training.

We recently reached out to Cosby to hear about how the Real World History class continues to grow and impact students all across Washington, D.C. What we received was not only the positive news of new funding to sustain the program, but a chorus of youth voices speaking directly to the impact that this third iteration of the course has on their learning. Some voices of young people involved in the program are featured below:

“I do like being in class with people from around the city because I’m not limited to just the people I see at school every day. I can meet new people and make more friends from a variety of schools. When opening the class, Mr. Hunt made sure we were comfortable with him and I thought that was a good start. In the beginning of the later classes we also had little games to get us used to each other.”

—Trenni Jefferson, 11th grader at Benjamin Banneker High School

“Taking this class and participating in the oral history project was a helpful and interesting way of learning about the Great Migration. It allowed me to find out information about not just my grandmother’s migration, but how the Great Migration has an impact on myself as well. Being said, I consider myself as a child of the Great Migration.”

—Billy Casey, 11th grader at Phelps ACE High School

“…most of our writing in this class has been research and observation-based, and we’ve had to analyze and synthesize information from certain sources. This type of writing varies slightly from what I’ve had to do at school in the past…Doing the less-structured papers in Real World History has given me greater academic confidence to tackle similarly broad writing assignments in the future.”

—Allegra Jordan Hatem, 12th grader at Washington Latin Public Charter School

As you can see, these connections between peer-to-peer relationships, deep personal relevance, and furthering academic goals cultivate a positive future for the Real World History project. Continue to keep an eye on them at the Real World History homepage at the Center for Inspired Teaching.

By Chris Rogers

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