July 26, 2016
How often do high school students in the United States learn about Brazil in their social studies classes? The answer is “hardly ever.”
The Choices Program, a nationally recognized education initiative and non-profit organization affiliated with the Watson Institute, looks to change that with the launch of their newest curricula, Brazil: A History of Change. Providing students and their teachers with readings, lesson plans, and videos focused on Brazilian history from the colonial era to the present day, this unit highlights events from the institution of slavery, the vast influx of immigrants, the era of military rule, and the reclamation of democracy, leading up to the state of the country today.
Having published its first unit on Brazil 10 years ago, this new curriculum looks to extend the exploration of Brazil’s rich history while discussing the country’s recent turmoil. Choices collaborated extensively with the Watson Institute’s Brazil Initiative and its director, Jim Green. Choices’ Director of Curriculum Development Andy Blackadar sees the Brazil Initiative’s programming and faculty as a vital component of the process. “The breadth of scholarship at Brown on Brazil is really special, and the initiative’s programming is a big help. We’ve done a series of video interviews of visiting speakers and are working with Brown faculty as well.”
The 2015 Winner of a Revere Award for Pre K-12 Learning, Choices has been pushing the boundaries and bringing important international topics to secondary school classrooms for twenty-five years. Offering two types of units, the program provides units shaped around an unresolved current issue and those shaped around a historical turning point. Units range from The United States in Afghanistan, Responding to Terrorism: Challenges for Democracy, and History, Revolution, and Reform: New Directions for Cuba, to more historical events such as The Cuban Missile Crisis: Considering Its Place in Cold War History, The French Revolution, and Freedom Now: The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi.