Teaching Hard History Professional Learning Cohorts

Learning for Justice (LFJ) is delighted to announce a new opportunity for educators: Teaching Hard History Professional Learning Cohorts.  As a participant in the inaugural cohorts, educators will engage with the Learning for Justice Teaching Hard History: American Slavery (THH) framework and learn how to use it to enrich their lessons on American enslavement, build students’ civic engagement and critical thinking, and deepen their mindsets around inclusion and empathy.  THH Cohorts will provide educators, free of charge, the chance to deeply engage with THH, collaborate with LFJ staff and 20 other cohort members across the country, and gain insights and feedback on implementation. There will be two cohorts: an elementary (K-5) cohort and a secondary (6-12) cohort. After three months of learning in community, including six synchronous sessions via Zoom, educators will have an opportunity to showcase their work virtually to a national audience.

The Teaching Hard History Professional Learning Cohorts will provide a space for educators to explore the “why” through unlearning false history, the “what” in grappling with honest history and the “how” for teaching history around enslavement. Educators will practice strategies to prepare their students to participate in challenging conversations around race and enslavement while obtaining skills to critically analyze resources and practices they use in their classrooms. This unique opportunity will provide an environment for shared learning and reflection in which educators will harness collective power to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements and disrupt the continuum of hard history together.

When history is taught honestly, students gain a better understanding of current systemic issues and feel empowered to take action to ensure equity, justice and liberation are a reality for all.

The Spring 2022 cohort application is currently closed.

Please check back with us for future opportunities to engage in a professional learning cohort with Learning for Justice.

Eligibility Requirements: 

  1. To be considered for a THH cohort, applicants must be an educator that will use the THH frameworks with either K-5 or 6-12 students (for example, through a classroom, non-profit or museum setting, etc.) 
  2. Educators across the United States are encouraged to apply, but there will be preference given to those teaching in Southern Poverty Law Center states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. 

If you are interested in ensuring honest history is taught,

  1. Please see the syllabus for further details such as dates, responsibilities and time commitments.
  2. Complete the application by December 3, 2021. Please note that a preview of the short response questions can be found under “FAQs” below.

Selected educators will be notified of their admittance by December 13, 2021. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply for the THH Professional Learning Cohorts?

In order to be considered for a THH cohort, applicants must be an educator that will use the THH frameworks for either K-5 or 6-12 students (for example, through a classroom, non-profit or museum setting, etc.). Educators across the nation are encouraged to apply, but preference will be given to those teaching in Southern Poverty Law Center states: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi or Louisiana. 

How much does it cost to participate in the cohorts?

The THH Professional Learning Cohorts are being offered free of charge. Instead, we ask that you invest your time in actively engaging in, and contributing to, this learning experience. 

What does the application look like?

The THH Professional Learning Cohorts application can be completed using Google Forms and consists of questions around the educator’s demographics, educational background and teaching experience. The short response section will allow educators to disclose their familiarity and experience with teaching hard history in 250 words or less. 

If you’d like to prepare your responses before beginning the application, please see the short answer questions listed below:

  • Why are you interested in joining the Teaching Hard History Professional Learning Cohorts?
  • Describe a time you learned (or unlearned) about history in order to center the perspectives of a marginalized group.  What did you learn, and what was your reaction?  How did learning that history impact you?
  • Describe how you have prepared your current classroom to have critical conversations, such as discussions on race, injustice and enslavement.  (Guiding thoughts: How would you describe your current classroom culture?  What specific strategies have you used to create this culture?  If you are concerned about your classroom culture, what steps will you take to prepare it for a classroom where you can teach about hard history when our cohort starts in January?)
  • What concerns do you have about participating in the Teaching Hard History Professional Learning Cohorts (including teaching about enslavement)? (Consider your classroom culture, pushback and resistance, student emotions, etc. This question is only used by LFJ staff to better understand how we can support potential cohort applicants.)

What happens if an educator cannot make a synchronous learning session?

To protect the privacy of our cohort members, synchronous sessions will not be recorded. However, slide decks from each session will be made available to cohort members the day following a synchronous session. Members will be able to attend office hours if needed, as well. You can find information about office hours in the syllabus. Additionally, we will be using Google Classroom as our learning management system, which will be updated weekly for educators to reference.

What is the absentee policy for the THH Professional Learning Cohorts?

Before applying, we ask all educators to take note of the dates and times the cohorts meet and cross-check their schedules. We know that contexts and needs can change, but in the interest of collective learning, it is our hope that all educators selected will participate in all 6 synchronous sessions and the final showcase. Therefore, if an educator does not attend 2 or more synchronous sessions, they will not be able to continue in the cohorts. This would mean they forfeit their ability to participate in the showcase and obtain a certificate of completion.

Teaching Tolerance collage of images

Welcome to Learning for Justice—Formerly Teaching Tolerance!

Our work has evolved in the last 30 years, from reducing prejudice to tackling systemic injustice. So we’ve chosen a new name that better reflects that evolution: Learning for Justice.

Learn More