Show Less
Restricted access

People Need to Know

Confronting History in the Heartland


Robert M. Lucas

People Need to Know follows a group of students as they study the defining event in their community’s history – a 1930 lynching that was captured in one of the century’s most iconic and disturbing photographs. With ambitions of contributing to public understanding, the students set out to create a collection of online resources about the lynching. As they encounter troubling information and consider how best to present it to others, the students come to better understand the complex ethical ramifications of historical work and to more fully appreciate why their learning matters. Through the stories of these students, their teacher, and an author re-immersed in the town of his own childhood, the book develops an approach to curriculum in which students create products of value beyond the school walls. In a time of educational standardization, when assignments and assessments often fail to deliberately engage the ethically charged and locally particular contexts of students’ lives, Robert M. Lucas proposes that we see learning in their creation and appreciation of public value. The book will be of particular interest for courses in curriculum studies and in history and social studies education.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter 4. “People Need to Know”


← 76 | 77 →·4·


In previous chapters, I have provided a rationale for investigating learning that occurs as students contribute value to communities outside the school. I have also described the contexts in which I chose to study it—Marion, the CHP, and the particular students and classes who, in spring 2011, set out to create a set of articles and resources on the 1930 Marion lynching. This chapter and the next form the empirical heart of the book, reporting on the various forms of value created by these students’ work. I first look at this value as perceived by the students themselves before turning, in Chapter 5, to public perceptions of the project.

The evidence here is drawn primarily from interviews conducted with each student at the project’s end, contextualized using evidence from field notes, earlier interviews, and quotations taken directly from student web pages. The interviews included a variety of questions designed to elicit what sorts of value, if any, students saw in the project. They were asked, for example, about the experience of working on the project and about what, if any, value they saw in their work, followed by a range of more specific follow-up questions. (Full interview protocols and methodological details are provided in the Appendix.) Late in the interview, students were presented with term papers that they had written in the same class as a first-semester project. Those earlier papers, which covered topics in U.S....

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.