Curriculum Column

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A group of high-school students from the Philadelphia area will spend this summer as sleuths--unearthing what life was like for teen-agers who lived in the city from 1850 to 1920.

The project, sponsored by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, will explore a little-charted period of local history, said Cynthia J. Little, the society's director of education.

The society chose to focus on the years between 1850 and 1920 "because there is an enormous amount of change in that period that directly affects teen-agers." She noted that the concept of "adolescence" developed at that time, that most of the people who fought in the Civil War were teen-agers, and that the belief in compulsory education took hold during those years.

Up to 40 students, selected from high schools in the Philadelphia area, will conduct original research, including reviewing collections in the society's archives, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the city archives.

The students will conduct their research in July. The project will culminate with a traveling exhibit, a catalogue, a slide-tape presentation, and an exhibition at the society's offices next winter, Ms. Little said.

Educators at the University of California-Berkeley are launching a program to help teachers provide Latino, Asian, and other immigrant students with a better understanding of history and humanities.

Starting with a dozen teachers from junior and senior high schools in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and Richmond, the project will develop programs to teach all students an appreciation of ethnic heritage. In addition, it will record and archive the personal experiences of immigrant children and their families for teachers and historians.

The goal is to combine an appreciation of ethnic culture with an awareness of "the American tradition of building a social and political structure on the basis of ethnic and cultural diversity," say project leaders.

The California Council for the Humanities is funding the program, which is part of the Clio Project, a joint venture of the Graduate School of Education at Berkeley and the State Department of Education to improve the teaching of history in the public schools.

The program will expand to include 36 more teachers later this year; the materials they develop will be distributed statewide.

A dozen honors students at rural Owen Valley High School in Spencer, Ind., are getting an early exposure to college. Twelve professors from the English department at Indiana University at Bloomington--20 miles away--are taking turns this semester leading the class of honors students through discussions of such classics as Great Expectations and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."

The students requested the additional studies in literature to help them prepare for college. The English professors volunteered to teach the classes together with Owen Valley's regular high-school staff.--lo

Vol. 04, Issue 29

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