LEARNING HISTORY THROUGH “HAMILTON”

Encore: July 02, 2020

See how students are getting more than a history lesson from this  Broadway spectacular.  We’ll hear from James Basker, President of the Gilder Lehman Institute and Dr. Barbara McKeon, the Head of School at the Broome Street Academy.

Aired on October 5, 2017, December 26, 2018, August 16, 2016 and February 3, 2020. 

TRANSCRIPT

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO THIS METRO FOCUS SPECIAL EDITION, BEYOND HAMILTON.

WE'LL JOURNEY ACROSS TIME BEHIND THE MUSICAL TO EXPLORE THE LIFE, LOVE AND LEGACY OF OUR NATION'S FOUNDING FATHER, FROM HIS CONTRIBUTIONS TO POLITICS, EDUCATION AND THE GREAT WHITE WAY.

WHICH IS WHERE WE BEGIN TONIGHT.

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS CAN NOW GET A FRONT ROW SEAT TO HISTORY IN THE MAKING.

♪♪

SEVERAL LOW INCOME POPULATION S ARE GETTING TO SEE HAMILTON.

THE INTERACTIVE STUDY CURRICULUM THE STUDENTS LEARN BEFORE ATTENDING THE SHOW.

IT'S ALL PART OF THE SUCCESSFUL HAMILTON EDUCATION PROGRAM THAT'S MAKING HISTORY AS A NEW TRANSFORMATIVE TOOL TO EDUCATE NEW YORK CITY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS.

JOINING ME TO TALK ABOUT THIS MARVELOUS EVENT IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE GUILDED INSTITUTE.

ONE OF THE SCHOOLS CONNECTED TO THE PROGRAM, WELCOME TO THE TWO OF YOU.

I'LL ASK YOU FIRST, HOW DID THIS WONDERFUL IDEA ALL COME ABOUT?

I THINK IT BEGAN IN THE BRAIN OF LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA.

HE'S ALWAYS WANTED STUDENTS TO BE PART OF THIS EXPERIENCE AND FOR THIS SHOW TO REACH LARGE NUMBERS OF STUDENTS.

FROM LIN AND THE PRODUCERS OF THE SHOW, AND THEN ROCKEFELLER, IT ALL CAME TOGETHER IN A BEAUTIFUL WAY.

WE SUPPORT K TO 12 AMERICAN HISTORY TEACHING AND LEARNING IN AMERICAN HISTORY, WE EMPHASIZE DOCUMENT BASED LEARNING IN HISTORY, NOT TEXTBOOKS AND MEMORIZATION, BUT KIDS BEING HISTORIANS AND WORKING WITH PRIMARY SOURCES TO UNDERSTAND HISTORY IN A HANDS ON WAY.

THIS CURRICULUM GREW OUT OF THAT PRINCIPLE WHERE KIDS LONG BEFORE THEY SEE THE SHOW PARAPHRASE IT FOR THEMSELVES AND DO RESEARCH TO CREATE A CHARACTER OR EVENT IN A CREATIVE WAY.

FROM THIS DOCUMENT BASED LEARNING, THEY GO TO CREATIVITY.

THEY DO A SONG OR A RAP PEACE OR POEM OR DRAMATIC SCENE.

THIS IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THE EXPERIENCE -- THEY REALLY DIG IN WHEN THE SHOW HAPPENS.

SOMEBODY WHO HAS TAUGHT FOR SO MANY YEARS AND IS SO INVESTED IN THE LIVES OF THE STUDENTS.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST REACTION WHEN YOU HEARD ABOUT THIS PROGRAM?

I GET CHILLS WHEN I THINK ABOUT IT.

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT STRUCK ME THE MOST WHEN I HEARD ABOUT IT WAS THE INTERACTIVE PEACE, THE FACT THAT HISTORY WAS BEING MADE FOR STUDENTS.

NOT AS A RESULT OF THE TEXTBOOK.

THE BEAUTY OF THE CURRICULUM IS THAT IT SIDE BY SIDE WITH LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA'S WORDS WERE RON'S WORDS.

THE STUDENTS WERE ABLE TO SEE THIS IS IT HOW IT WAS WRITTEN, THIS IS HOW LIN-MANUEL INTERPRETED IT, THIS IS HOW I CAN INTERPRET IT.

THERE WAS A PROGRESSION ON WHAT WAS SPOKEN ABOUT IN HISTORY CLASS TO WHAT I SAID.

THE RUBRIC THAT IS ATTACHED TO THE CURRICULUM HAS HISTORY AS ART AS ONE OF THE MEASURES.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

JUST AS JIM WAS TALKING ABOUT, I CAN PERFORM HISTORICALLY, I CAN BE PART OF HISTORY WITH MY PER 230R78 ANSWER.

I'M GOING TO BE MEASURED BY THAT.

NOT JUST, DO I KNOW THE DATES?

GIVE ME AN IDEA OF SOME OF THE THINGS YOUR STUDENTS DID HERE AS PART OF THIS CURRICULUM THAT THE GROUP PUT TOGETHER.

A NUMBER OF OUR STUDENTS AUDITIONED, IF YOU WILL, TO PERFORM ON STAGE AND THE FACULTY ACTED AS THE PANEL OF JUDGES, WE HAD AUDITIONS, CALL BACKS, WE REPLICATED THE THEATER PROCESS FOR THEM IN SCHOOL.

THEY EACH HAD TO COME UP WITH THEIR OWN CREATIVE IDEA.

SOMEONE DID A MONOLOGUE ON COMMON SENSE.

THE TWO STUDENTS THAT WERE CHOSEN DID THE WHISKEY REBELLION FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE FARMERS.

OFTEN TIMES I WONDER WHY IT IS OUR STUDENTS ARE NOT AS FAMILIAR WITH HISTORY AS YOU WOULD EXPECT THEY MIGHT BE.

WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS IN.

WELL, YOU KNOW, WE WORK WITH K TO 12 SCHOOLS ACROSS THE COUNTRY 37 WE SEE A LOT OF THIS DEFINING MISSION, TO MAKE HISTORY MEANINGFUL AND ENGAGING.

AND THE FOUNDING ERA, BARBARA MAY OR MAY NOT AGREE, IT'S BEEN THE CASTER OIL OF HISTORY.

TAKE IT BECAUSE IT'S GOOD FOR YOU.

YOU NEED TO KNOW.

YOU MAY NOT WANT TO KNOW, BUT YOU NEED TO KNOW.

KIDS ARE ACTIVE LEARNERS, THEY'RE PART OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS, AND WE'VE SEEN KIDS BECOME INVESTED REALLY IN A KIND OF POSITIVE WAY.

WE'VE SEEN PEOPLE BE PHYLLIS WHEATLEY OR ONE OF THE BLACK CHILDREN OF THOMAS JEFFERSON, AND GIVING VOICE.

ENTERING INTO THESE FIGURES IMAGINATIVELY, AND SORT OF TAKING OWNERSHIP IN A WAY I'VE NEVER SEEN STUDENTS DO BEFORE.

HAMILTON WAS THE ONLY DELEGATE FROM NEW YORK.

KNOWING HE DID THIS AND HE DID THAT, AND THE WORLD IS THE WAY IT IS.

PROVIDING SUCH A WONDERFUL SENSE OF EMPOWERMENT.

THE WORK THAT THEY'RE DOING, AND BARBARA McKUHN, FOR YOU, WE NEED GREAT TEACHERS AND YOU ARE ONE, AND WE'RE GLAD YOU'RE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE THIS WITH YOUR STUDENTS.

THANK YOU BOTH SO MUCH FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US.

THANK YOU, JACK.

BE WELL.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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