OAH Publishes Report of History Survey Project

OAHThe July 2013 issue of the Magazine of History, published by the Organization of American Historians, contains a report of the Center’s History Survey Project (HSP). The HSP brought together six scholarly teachers of introductory history courses in the El Paso region who work in varying instructional settings, from a four-year university (UTEP) to high school formats such as AP and dual credit. The result was an innovative professional-development model that combined long-term commitment with current scholarship. “The History Survey Project has taken an important first step in examining the varieties of history survey course options in the state of Texas,” the report concludes. “It has also brought the scholarship of history teaching and learning to bear on the professional development of teachers of survey courses.”

Read the report.

The History Survey Project (HSP) aims to explore, understand, and improve the teaching of U.S. history survey courses. It was supported by the Texas Faculty Collaborative for Social Studies of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Center for History Teaching & Learning at The University of Texas at El Paso, and the Department of History at The University of Texas at El Paso.

The Organization of American Historians is the largest academic membership association devoted to the study of American History. It promotes excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history, and encourages wide discussion of historical questions and equitable treatment of all practitioners of history. The OAH Magazine of History has been published since 1985. Each quarterly issue focuses on a theme in U.S. history. Articles draw upon recent scholarship, survey the historiography, and provide practical teaching strategies. Its goal is to enhance the teaching and presentation of U.S. history in the classroom.

Advertisements

Center Co-Sponsors Black History Month Event

Honoring Black History Month: Education called key to achievement

By Hayley Kappes \ El Paso Times
Posted:   02/12/2012 11:06:58 AM MST

 

Actor Phil Darius Wallace, who portrays Frederick Douglass, says… (Victor Calzada / El Paso Times)

When actor Phil Darius Wallace steps on stage as Frederick Douglass, he feels the struggles and successes the abolitionist movement leader encountered.

Wallace performed his one-man show “Self-Made Man: The Bondage and Freedom of Frederick Douglass,” which he also wrote and produced, Saturday night at the El Paso Community College’s Transmountain Campus Forum Theatre.

About 200 people attended the performance, which was one of several events at the college commemorating Black History Month.

In the show, which he has performed for the past 10 years, Wallace portrays Douglass during his early life as a slave on plantations in Maryland until when he ran away in 1838.

The performance focuses on Douglass’ exorcism of his past demons as a slave and his finding a way to release his past by forgiving his former master and reconfirming for himself that freedom foremost is a state of mind, Wallace said.

“I believe mainly that he was able to overcome his given limitations through the power of reading and writing and utilized that same power to achieve a lot of great things in life,” Wallace said. “It’s kind of a universal lesson for all of us that we don’t have to allow for the limitations put before us to keep us from achieving our dreams and goals.”

Portraying Douglass in the show throughout the country every year is one of the ways Wallace, who lives in Memphis, Tenn., celebrates Black History Month.

The monthlong celebration of the contributions and achievements of black Americans began as a way to remember Douglass’ work to abolish slavery.”I think that it would be even better if we could learn how to celebrate African-American men and women throughout the year,” Wallace said. “It really is American history.”

Mark Norbeck, associate professor of history at EPCC’s Rio Grande Campus, in 2009 saw Wallace deliver one of Douglass’ speeches in Salem, Mass., at the same building where the abolitionist once spoke.

Norbeck called it one of the most powerful things he had ever seen and he wanted to bring that history to life for students in El Paso.

Through help from the Center for History Teaching and Learning at the University of Texas at El Paso, 400 teachers in the area were invited to the performance and encouraged to bring their students.

“The great irony of American history is that we aimed to have the freest society in the entire world and yet we brought in slavery. That’s something that we have worked hard to get over. The Civil War cost us 625,000 men dying to make them free. But after 1877 they still weren’t free. They had their rights taken away from Jim Crow laws, so the result is it took another savage time to overcome that,” Norbeck said.

Margaret D. Morgan, a history and social studies teacher at Capt. Walter E. Clark Middle School in the Socorro Independent School District, attended the performance because she wanted to learn more about Douglass. She said she admires his ability to teach himself to read and write and eventually escape slavery.

“He went on to be a very highly educated man,” Morgan said. “He’s very influential in American history, and I think students need to know that education is so important.”

Center Featured in UTEP Magazine

“History in the Making”

By Laura L. Acosta

Source: UTEP Magazine (Fall 2011), p. 36.
See in Magazine View | PDF (opens slowly)

The Center for History Teaching and Learning (CHTL) at The University of Texas at El Paso is preparing teachers to help their students better understand the lessons of the past.

Established in 2009 by the University’s history department and directed by Keith A. Erekson, Ph.D., assistant professor of history, the CHTL promotes scholarly teaching among the department’s faculty, supports teacher education for the department’s students, and provides professional development opportunities for teachers.

“We want to improve our own teaching, we want to prepare future teachers and we want to reach out to teachers in the community,” Erekson said.

The center offers lesson plans and other resources for current and future teachers on its website, www.utep.edu/chtl. It also sponsors workshops and
summer institutes.

In summer 2011, the CHTL partnered with Humanities Texas to host a four-day teacher institute at UTEP that introduced middle school and high school U.S. history instructors to new ways of teaching their subject from the Reconstruction era to today.

Another of the center’s major projects is TEKSWatch.utep.edu, a website created by Erekson and his students in 2009 to monitor the progress of the Texas State Board of Education as it revised the state’s social studies standards.

The site attracted national and international media attention from outlets including MSNBC, the BBC, Danish Public Television, Education Week and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

“What we really wanted to do was just provide awareness, but it turned out that the whole world wanted to be aware of this story,” Erekson said.

Erekson is writing a book about his experiences with TEKSWatch, which he expects will be published in 2012. With the new social studies standards being implemented in fall 2011, the CHTL’s focus has shifted to helping teachers master the topics in the updated curriculum, which include religion and the founding fathers, conservatives in the 1980s, and the role of the Federal Reserve.

Kelley Akins, who is pursuing her master’s degree in history, has been involved with the center since 2009. She said it has provided her with a wealth of information to take into the classroom.

“It is a forum for teachers,” she said. “It is helping us become the best teachers we can be by taking these standards into the classroom and showing us how to make sure that our students are leaving with a wealth of historical knowledge.”

U.S. History Teachers Learn New Standards

U.S. History Teachers Learn New Standards

Source: Laura L. Acosta, UTEP Newsroom, 6/20/11

With the Texas State Board of Education’s decision last year to adopt new social studies standards starting this fall, U.S. history teachers from across the state gathered at The University of Texas at El Paso last week to work with scholars who could help them master the most important topics in the new curriculum.

Keith Erekson, Ph.D., assistant professor of history at UTEP, leads a discussion during the Texas Humanities summer institute on June 15. Photo by J.R. Hernandez, University Communications.

Nearly 50 middle school and high school U.S. history teachers participated in “The Making of Modern America: 1877 to Present,” a summer institute sponsored by The Center for History Teaching & Learning (CHTL) at UTEP and Humanities Texas.

The four-day teacher institute introduced teachers to new ways of teaching U.S. history from the Reconstruction Era to today.

“We have tried to the best of our ability to focus on areas where the standards have changed so that teachers can work on those areas because in many cases those teachers haven’t taught the new topics before,” said Eric Lupfer, Ph.D., Director of Grants and Education with Humanities Texas. “We want to make sure that they are ready to prepare their students for state assessments.”

Attendees participated in lectures and workshops under the direction of U.S. history scholars who are at the top of their field and who also are skilled at working with teachers, Lupfer said.

“All good teachers want to stay up-to-date with their subjects,” said Keith Erekson, Ph.D., assistant professor of history at UTEP and director of the CHTL. “The summer institute provides a remarkable opportunity for social studies teachers in El Paso to meet, interact with, and learn from leading historians.”

Among the 11 scholars were Pulitzer Prize finalist H.W. Brands and UTEP faculty members Erekson, Michael Top, Brad Cartwright and Maceo Dailey Jr.

During the afternoon workshops, teachers spent 25 minutes with each scholar discussing their morning presentations and learning how to interpret the material for students.

“It’s very dynamic and very interactive and the teachers appreciate that,” Lupfer said.

Lisa Marroquin, a world history teacher at Permian High School in Odessa, Texas, has attended two summer institutes at UTEP. She said each time she has learned new approaches to teaching which have helped her connect with her students.

“I love the new ways of thinking because sometimes when we stay in our little click we tend to start thinking a certain way,” she said. “When we hear other people’s opinions and ideas behind it, it just opens it up to a new world.”

Humanities Texas, formerly the Texas Council for the Humanities, is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It conducts and supports public programs in history, literature, philosophy and other humanities disciplines.

The institute is one of six summer institutes that will take place this month at leading universities throughout Texas. This is the third institute held at UTEP since 2004.

Other participating universities include UT Austin, Texas A&M International University, the University of Houston, Texas Christian University and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Teaching the Teachers

Summer Institute 2011

Source: Victor Calzada,  El Paso Times, Saturday, June 18, 2011, 6B

Irvin High School U.S. History teacher Tara Bell-Lopez, right, reviews historical literature during Friday’s “The Making of Modern America, 1877 to Present” presentation at UTEP. The session, sponsored by the Center for History Teaching and Learning at UTEP and Humanities Texas, introduced 46 area teachers to new ways of teaching U.S. History from Reconstruction era to today. The  event began June 15th and concluded Friday.

[Note: seated at the table are (l-r) Mark Levitt of Coronado High School, Laura Strelzin of Franklin High School, Dr. Michael Les Benedict of The Ohio State University, Isabel Mora of Valle Verde Early College High School, and Tara Bell-Lopez of Irvin High School. Complete information about the institute is online.]

In the News: A Walk Through History

A Walk Through History: UTEP effort highlights Hispanics’ significance

By Ramón Rentería / El Paso Times

Posted: 07/07/2010 12:00:00 AM MDT

URL: http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_15451513
[Photo] David Romo, center, talked about the Mexican Revolution during a tour of Downtown El Paso Friday. Romo and a group of El Paso teachers were at the Camino Real Hotel. (Victor Calzada / El Paso Times)

 

EL PASO — As far as historian David Romo is concerned, the streets of South El Paso represent a living textbook that can help students understand the complexities of the Mexican Revolution of 1910.

“The role of El Paso in the revolution by any criteria should be part of not only the El Paso school curriculum but the national curriculum,” Romo said. “Unfortunately, it’s mostly ignored by the textbooks.”

Romo, author of the book “Ringside Seat to a Revolution,” recently escorted teachers from El Paso, Austin, Chicago and Los Angeles on a walking tour of revolution-era sites on South Oregon Street. This was part of lectures and workshops co-sponsored by the University of Texas at El Paso’s Center for History Teaching and Learning, El Paso Library and El Paso Museum of History.

Concerned that the Texas Board of Education is neglecting the historical significance of Hispanics in social studies textbooks, UTEP scholars are teaching schoolteachers practical ideas on how to inject the history of the Mexican Revolution and the borderlands into the public school curriculum. “The important role that El Paso played in the Mexican Revolution was history they never taught me in school,” Romo said. “I hope this is a first step to changing that.”

Various events have been planned this year and into 2011 in El Paso and Juárez to commemorate the Mexican Revolution’s 100th anniversary. Various historians and scholars have criticized the Texas Board of Education for adopting a controversial social studies curriculum in May that some suggest puts a conservative stamp on history textbooks. Some El Paso historians accused the elected state panel of minimizing the role of Hispanics in state and national history.

“What some people might call micro-history or local history is tremendously important to try to get a sense of what is going on today, such as immigration, violence across the border, people seeking refuge in El Paso and the profit that people are making on this side from the suffering across the border,” Romo said. “Even though it’s not taught as part of a standardized test, it’s crucial history and it shouldn’t be excluded from the curriculum in our schools because then you just propagate ignorance.”

Along South Oregon, one of the most prominent streets associated with the Mexican Revolution, Romo pointed to various buildings where revolutionaries, counter-revolutionaries and spies plotted strategy and where El Paso merchants often struck deals on smuggling arms and supplies into Mexico.

Romo pointed also to a building where “Los De Abajo” (The Underdogs), the first novel about the revolution, was written in exile.

“We’re not just looking at old buildings,” Romo said. “This is kind of interactive. You can actually touch the buildings where history took place.”

Nancy Rodriguez and Cornel Smith took pictures from atop the Camino Real Hotel in downtown El Paso Friday. They were taking part in a tour which will provide them information to be able to inject information from the Mexican Revolution into their history and social studies curriculums. (Victor Calzada / El Paso Times)

Revolutionary leader Francisco Madero established his revolutionary headquarters in 1911 in the Caples Building in Downtown El Paso. A few months later in May, hundreds of El Pasoans watched from rooftops as Madero’s troops, led by Francisco “Pancho” Villa and Pascual Orozco, battled federal troops in Juárez.

Sergio Guerrero, a world history teacher at Eastwood High School, recalled that some of his Mexican ancestors came to El Paso because of the revolution’s unpredictable violence.

“It’s very important for students to understand what took place here and the important role El Paso and Juárez played,” he said. “Sometimes, teachers have to throw in their own flavor, their own salsa into history, their own stuff outside of the textbook because that makes it more interesting for students.”

For Nancy Rodriguez, a history teacher at Americas High School, teaching effectively sometimes depends on finding the right hook.

“My Mexican-American history class is an elective, so I have autonomy in that I can use all sorts of sources,” Rodriguez said. “But I’m really excited about this, another tool. I want students to be hooked in a more personal way.”

[Photo] Participants in a Mexican Revolution history tour walked through Downtown El Paso Friday. (Victor Calzada / El Paso Times)

UTEP history professor Samuel Brunk reminded teachers the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) was the first big social revolution of the 20th century. “It’s hard to make sense of the revolution no matter what vantage point you take because it’s a complicated historical puzzle,” Brunk said. “It also doesn’t make a lot of sense to end the revolution in 1920 when the fighting ends because part of the revolutionary process is the change it produces.” Keith A. Erekson, an assistant professor of history at UTEP and one of the summer institute organizers, was optimistic that handling original sources in the library vault, standing on the roof of the historic Paso del Norte Hotel (now Camino Real) and talking with experts had excited teachers about the topic.

“Our overarching goal was to provide teachers with the inspiration and resources to teach students about the Mexican Revolution in particular and the international connections between the U.S. and Mexico in general,” Erekson said.

Yolanda Chávez Leyva, a UTEP historian and writer, told teachers the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian and other organizations across the United States and Mexico plan various exhibits to commemorate the Mexican Revolution.

“El Paso has this incredible legacy of buildings tied to the revolution that no other city can claim,” Leyva said.

Ramón Rentería may be reached at rrenteria@elpasotimes.com; 546-6146.

 

El Paso highlights

1893: Victor Ochoa, a Mexican-American living in El Paso, launches a revolutionary movement against the Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz.

1896: Diaz banishes healer Teresita Urrea after she inspires uprisings along Mexico’s northern border. She settles in El Paso in exile.

1906-1908: Brothers Ricardo and Enríque Flores Magón plot an anarchist movement in El Paso and later plot to take over Juarez. Both plans fail.

1909: U.S. President William Taft meets Diaz in El Paso.

1910: The revolution starts Nov. 20 with insurrections in northern Mexico. Thousands flee to El Paso and the United States.

1911: Revolutionary leader Francisco I. Madero establishes his offices in Downtown El Paso. His troops later defeat federal troops in Juarez as hundreds of El Pasoans watch from rooftops.

1911: The U.S. sends troops to the border fearing a spillover.

1913: Venustiano Carranza’s supporters (the Constitutionalists) set up headquarters in the Mills Building in El Paso.

1915: Mariano Azuela writes “Los De Abajo” (The Underdogs), the first novel about the revolution, in El Paso.

1916: Francisco “Pancho” Villa supporters attack a train in Santa Ysabel, Chihuahua, and kill 17 Americans, including Asarco employees.

1916: Anglo residents in El Paso attack Mexicans in a race riot outside the Majestic Theatre.

1916: Villa’s forces raid Columbus, N.M., in March.

1916: U.S. General John J. Pershing leads 10,000 soldiers into Mexico but does not capture Villa.

1919: Villa is defeated at the last Battle of Juarez.
Source: UTEP Department of History.

 

TEKSWatch featured in Public History News

Texas Adopts Controversial Social Studies Standards
Carrie Dowdy | dowdyc@iupui.edu
Public History News 30, no. 3 (June 2010), 19
http://ncph.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/2010-June-Newsletter.pdf

Months of debate and pleas from historians, civic leaders, and members of the public to delay a decision were not enough. On May 21, the Texas
State Board of Education (TSBOE) voted to change the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) state social studies standards. The 9-5 vote
was split along party lines, with Republicans in the majority. Among those who testified at a public hearing on May 19 urging the board to delay
the vote were NAACP President Ben Jealous and former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige. The TEKS standards, signed into law in 1998,
provide a curricular framework for the nearly five million K-12 students in Texas.

In January 2009, the process began to update the TEKS social studies standards for the first time. Panels of subject review committees,
comprised of teachers and school board representatives, who suggested changes to the 1998 TEKS standards, and a panel of expert reviewers
(four professors, one minister, and the founder of WallBuildersTM), presented recommendations to the TSBOE in the fall of 2009. By January
2010, the board, which has the ultimate authority to change and approve the standards, began moving beyond the recommendations of the review
committees with amendments of its own.

Historians and other educators from across the state of Texas created TEKSWatch (https://organizations.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=64604),
a network of volunteers, to fight the adoption of the new standards. NCPH member Keith Erekson, who is assistant professor of history at
the University of Texas at El Paso, is the organization’s director. TEKSWatch and other critics accuse the TSBOE of whitewashing U.S. history, glorifying the founding fathers and ignoring or giving little attention to the more difficult aspects, such as the European conquest of Native Americans, slavery, and the Civil Rights movement, of the nation’s past. They also decry the downplay of the concept of the separation of church and state and the omission or underrepresentation of minorities.

Additionally, critics call the standards a “laundry list” of facts and figures that do not encourage historical or critical thinking skills.
Prior to the TSBOE vote, numerous historical organizations released statements requesting a delay on the vote until further review and changes are made. In a May 11, 2010, statement, the Organization of American Historians declared that, “These amendments promote politically sectarian perspectives and thereby diminish the capacity of teachers to present students with an understanding of the past that conveys the best, most
professional historical research available.” The American Historical Association issued a similar statement on May 18, urging the TSBOE “to take up a further review” of the standards while “incorporating the wisdom already at the center of the Texas History Curriculum and World History Curriculum” and “reinstating the consistency in these matters that an older generation owes to a younger generation.” Over 1200 historians from across the nation
signed a petition opposing the new standards. Six of the nine members of the curriculum review panel that wrote the high school U.S. History standards released a statement expressing their “collective disgust…at the distorted culmination of our work” by the board’s amendments.

It is not clear if the reach of these standards will extend far beyond the Lone Star State. Although Texas has a large share of the nation’s textbook
sales (second only to California), and publishers in the past were inclined to align textbooks sold to smaller states with the TEKS standards, that is
less often the practice today.

In the News: The Mexican Revolution in El Paso

Education News: The Mexican Revolution in El Paso

Kent Paterson Special to Salem-News.com

Jun-09-2010 23:29

URL: http://salem-news.com/articles/june092010/mexican-revolution-kp.php; republished as “Academics bring the Mexican Revolution to El Paso,” Mexidata.info, June 14, 2010; “The Mexican Revolution in El Paso,” La Prensa (San Dieg0), June 18, 2010

Asked about parallels between the migrations of 100 years ago and today’s exodus from neighboring Ciudad Juarez, El Paso Prof. Keith Erekson, says specific causes of the dislocations might be different, the terror and trauma suffered by people are similar.

A view into El Paso, from Juarez
A view into El Paso, from Juarez. Courtesy: sott.net

(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) – The role of the Texas border city of El Paso remains one of the little-known stories of the revolutionary upheaval that erupted in Mexico in 1910. The US city on the Rio Grande was a vital center for many of the plots, intrigues, advances and retreats of different political factions vying for power in Mexico.

Future president and opposition leader Francisco Madero maintained a base in El Paso. Supporters of dictator Porfirio Diaz found refuge in the stately homes of now-trendy Sunset Heights. The feet of Pancho Villa touched the ground of El Chuco, as El Paso is sometimes colloquially called.

“A lot of the activities were planned, organized and orchestrated here in El Paso,” said Keith Erekson, director of the Center for History Teaching and Learning (CHTL) at the University of Texas at El Paso. As Mexico marks the 100th anniversary of her revolution, it’s fitting then that Erekson and his colleagues are sponsoring a teachers’ institute later this month in El Paso aimed at studying, exploring and reliving the Mexican Revolution.

Scheduled for June 24-26, the three-day event will include lectures, interactive exercises and even a walking tour of historical sites led by local author and historian David Romo.

Pancho Villa lived hard and rode fast.

According to Erekson, lectures on different dimensions of the Revolution, including how it affected ordinary Mexicans on a daily basis, will be given by UTEP history professors Yolanda Leyva and Sam Brunk. Mark Anderson, professor of history at the University of Regina in Canada, will also be on hand to talk about Pancho Villa and the media, Erekson told Frontera NorteSur.

A cross-curricular, multi-disciplinary approach will characterize the teachers’ institute, Erekson said. “We’re inviting all K-12 educators,” he added. All sessions and materials for teachers are free of charge. The program is underwritten by Texas Humanities, UTEP’s Teachers for a New Era and the Sid W. Richardson Foundation.

In addition to helping commemorate the 1910 Centennial, the El Paso teachers’ institute comes at another important juncture: Texas’ state board of education recently approved a new public school curriculum after rancorous debate.

Reviewing a draft version of the curriculum circulated for public comment last April, Erekson said he noticed a “huge oversight” in the lack of attention paid to Mexico and Mexican-Americans, a country and a people instrumental in the history and development of the Lone Star State.

An important contribution of the teacher’s institute, Erekson contended, will be to give educators essential tools to create a more grounded and richer learning experience.

“One of the presentations is going to be on putting the Revolution back in the texts.” Erekson said. “We want to integrate Mexico into the curriculum, not add it.”

Mass exodus during Mexico Revolution in 1910. Courtesy: PBS.org

As an example of the real-world lessons teachers can convey to their students, Erekson pointed to the relationships between social and political upheaval and migration.

The UTEP history teacher said El Paso was a sanctuary for people fleeing the 1910 Revolution, even hosting mass influxes of refugees like the 4,000 Mormons who arrived in 1912 and another group of 10,000 people which was housed at Ft. Bliss.

Asked about parallels between the migrations of 100 years ago and today’s exodus from neighboring Ciudad Juarez, in which tens of thousands of people have fled criminal violence for the safety of El Paso, Erekson agreed that while the specific causes of the dislocations might be different, the terror and trauma suffered by people are similar.

The June 24-26 teachers’ institute is part of a series of activities commemorating the Mexican Revolution planned for El Paso during 2010 and 2011.

The CHTL sessions will be held at the El Paso Museum of History and the El Paso Public Library’s main branch.

For more information on the summer teachers’ institute, interested persons can go to utep.edu/chtl or send an e-mail to chtl@utep.edu

  • Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
  • Center for Latin American and Border Studies
  • New Mexico State University
  • Las Cruces, New Mexico

The Mexican Revolution in El Paso

Education News: The Mexican Revolution in El Paso

Kent Paterson Special to Salem-News.com

Asked about parallels between the migrations of 100 years ago and today’s exodus from neighboring Ciudad Juarez, El Paso Prof. Keith Erekson, says specific causes of the dislocations might be different, the terror and trauma suffered by people are similar.

A view into El Paso, from Juarez
A view into El Paso, from Juarez. Courtesy: sott.net

(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) – The role of the Texas border city of El Paso remains one of the little-known stories of the revolutionary upheaval that erupted in Mexico in 1910. The US city on the Rio Grande was a vital center for many of the plots, intrigues, advances and retreats of different political factions vying for power in Mexico.

Future president and opposition leader Francisco Madero maintained a base in El Paso. Supporters of dictator Porfirio Diaz found refuge in the stately homes of now-trendy Sunset Heights. The feet of Pancho Villa touched the ground of El Chuco, as El Paso is sometimes colloquially called.

“A lot of the activities were planned, organized and orchestrated here in El Paso,” said Keith Erekson, director of the Center for History Teaching and Learning (CHTL) at the University of Texas at El Paso. As Mexico marks the 100th anniversary of her revolution, it’s fitting then that Erekson and his colleagues are sponsoring a teachers’ institute later this month in El Paso aimed at studying, exploring and reliving the Mexican Revolution.

Scheduled for June 24-26, the three-day event will include lectures, interactive exercises and even a walking tour of historical sites led by local author and historian David Romo.

Pancho Villa lived hard and rode fast.

According to Erekson, lectures on different dimensions of the Revolution, including how it affected ordinary Mexicans on a daily basis, will be given by UTEP history professors Yolanda Leyva and Sam Brunk. Mark Anderson, professor of history at the University of Regina in Canada, will also be on hand to talk about Pancho Villa and the media, Erekson told Frontera NorteSur.

A cross-curricular, multi-disciplinary approach will characterize the teachers’ institute, Erekson said. “We’re inviting all K-12 educators,” he added. All sessions and materials for teachers are free of charge. The program is underwritten by Texas Humanities, UTEP’s Teachers for a New Era and the Sid W. Richardson Foundation.

In addition to helping commemorate the 1910 Centennial, the El Paso teachers’ institute comes at another important juncture: Texas’ state board of education recently approved a new public school curriculum after rancorous debate.

Reviewing a draft version of the curriculum circulated for public comment last April, Erekson said he noticed a “huge oversight” in the lack of attention paid to Mexico and Mexican-Americans, a country and a people instrumental in the history and development of the Lone Star State.

An important contribution of the teacher’s institute, Erekson contended, will be to give educators essential tools to create a more grounded and richer learning experience.

“One of the presentations is going to be on putting the Revolution back in the texts.” Erekson said. “We want to integrate Mexico into the curriculum, not add it.”

Mass exodus during Mexico Revolution in 1910. Courtesy: PBS.org

As an example of the real-world lessons teachers can convey to their students, Erekson pointed to the relationships between social and political upheaval and migration.

The UTEP history teacher said El Paso was a sanctuary for people fleeing the 1910 Revolution, even hosting mass influxes of refugees like the 4,000 Mormons who arrived in 1912 and another group of 10,000 people which was housed at Ft. Bliss.

Asked about parallels between the migrations of 100 years ago and today’s exodus from neighboring Ciudad Juarez, in which tens of thousands of people have fled criminal violence for the safety of El Paso, Erekson agreed that while the specific causes of the dislocations might be different, the terror and trauma suffered by people are similar.

The June 24-26 teachers’ institute is part of a series of activities commemorating the Mexican Revolution planned for El Paso during 2010 and 2011.

The CHTL sessions will be held at the El Paso Museum of History and the El Paso Public Library’s main branch.

For more information on the summer teachers’ institute, interested persons can go to utep.edu/chtl or send an e-mail to chtl@utep.edu

SOURCE: http://salem-news.com/articles/june092010/mexican-revolution-kp.php; syndicated as “Academics Bring the Mexican Revolution to El Paso,” Mexidata.info, June 14, 2010; “The Mexican Revolution in El Paso,” La Prensa San Diego, June 18, 2010

In the News: UTEP Hosts Humanities Texas Teacher Institute

Arlene Barrios, “UTEP Hosts Humanities Texas Teacher Institute,” El Paso Magazine, June 3, 2010