Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

On 10th Afghanistan Anniversary, Choices Program Publishes Teaching Guide

September 21, 2011

With the approach of the October 7 anniversary of the US military engagement in Afghanistan, the Watson-affiliated Choices Program has published a curriculum unit for secondary school deliberation of US policy toward Afghanistan.

Students are provided with primary source documents, readings, and new media sources and asked to engage in role play debating four distinct policy options.  Among its activities is an exercise aimed at helping students consider the costs and benefits of the war in Afghanistan. Other lessons include a look at the geography and history of the country, including the Soviet era.

In addition, supplemental Scholars Online videos have been produced by Choices to bring university scholars into high school classrooms. Other supplemental materials include graphic organizers, maps and photographs, online lessons to accompany the printed unit, links to resources on other sites, and a list of recommended print resources.

The United States in Afghanistan curriculum unit completes a set of resources Choices has published since the recent 9/11 anniversary. Others are:

• A new curriculum unit, A Global Controversy: The U.S. Invasion of Iraq, supplemented by Scholars Online videos featuring academics and policymakers such as U.S. Sen. Jack Reed. The guide encourages students to recreate the national public debate that took place as the country stood on the brink of invasion in March 2003, and to explore four distinct options the U.S. public considered at the time. Watch a video preview here.

• A Teaching with the News lesson, "Oral History and September 11." Available online, it helps students who may have little or no recollection of the attacks to explore their human dimension by interviewing people about their 9/11 experiences.

• The seventh edition of Responding to Terrorism: Challenges for Democracy. Its activities include role-playing to consider a range of options for U.S. policy toward terrorism and then letter-writing to national policymakers based on a student's views.

The Choices Program, based at Brown's Office of Continuing Education, is known for bringing university-level research and innovative learning tools into secondary school classrooms across the country. With a library of 40 published curriculum units and an expanding collection of online materials, Choices develops teaching resources on historical and current international issues, provides professional development for classroom teachers, and sponsors programs that engage students beyond the classroom.