Fiona Vernal wants her students to talk.
Talk to their parents.
Talk to their grandparents.
Talk to those in their communities who are shaping history right now.
“My students always wish they had spoken to their grandfather, who was a veteran,” says Vernal, an associate professor of history. “Or they wish they would have asked their parents, ‘What brought grandpa over from Italy? Or from Peru? Or from Jamaica?’ There’s this deep regret.”
Many of those intergenerational conversations never happen — and firsthand experiences get lost. Coupled with the lack of this history in textbooks and the classroom, racial and ethnic minority students are often unaware of contributions that their ancestors have made to society, economy, and culture.
But that’s slowly starting to change.
With the help of student advocacy and other nonprofit groups, Connecticut’s K-12 curricula are moving towards a more inclusive presentation and interpretation of history. And the state is turning to professors at its flagship university to help guide the process.
This article originally appeared in UConn Today. Click here to read the full article.