Carrollton High teacher David Bryson has been teaching the history of 9/11 for 10 years, connecting the event with students.
But he has to take a different approach now to how he teaches about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“I was actually living in Utah when this happened and I remember everything distinctly, exactly as it occurred, specifically those first two hours,” said Bryson. “This, being the 10th year of doing this, as I watch my students I see a change. I watched my students who actually were there at school and going into classes after watching this. They had a realm of emotional connection to the event, to now where students were either not born or were babies.”
Bryson had to think about how he could take something that is now history and teach it in such a way that students could make a connection.
“That is the real learning point,” Bryson said. “Using this event to make the connections of learning real empathy. In doing this, we are using different sources from the internet and magazines, so they can research about what 9/11 is. Adults already know what happened. However, our students have to research it to know what happened that day.”
Bryson said that this is another tool to build students' reading skills and writing skills to improve literacy.
“This is a twofold,” said Bryson. “It can teach them the emotional connect, that they are not a part of, which could make our world a better place. In order to do that, we are using the tools of reading and writing, also the use of technology, to improve literacy which is our schools push.”
Bryson said he always begins his lesson about 9/11 with a video. The video he shares with his students is about a young boy who is learning about the death of his mother from his father. The father tells his son that the boy's mother was in one of the World Trade Center towers. The young boy then comforts his father and tells his dad that they could get a new mom.
“I begin with this video to try and show my students what the boy does not understand at such a young age,” said Bryson. “I begin with feeling and understanding empathy with that event, then I go from there.”
Bryson said Tanner Community Wellness Coordinator Phillis Head will speak to his classes about her experience of 9/11. Bryson said that he will join multiple classes at the school to hear the story and to teach the students about the tragic event.
“Half of my 10th graders were not born and have no recollection,” said Bryson. “My 11th graders, and even a lot of our 12th graders, are the same way. It is interesting to think that our entire population of the high school had no memory of this event, or little to nothing. Now all that they know is what they learned in school.”
Bryson said that while teaching students about 9/11, he is encouraging them to do their own research.
“This helps them learn about what is shared on the internet and what one could determine as real news or what we call now 'fake' news which is the same as knowing what is a reliable news source and what is not a reliable news source.”
Bryson said students will observe multiple sources and be able to put the story together. While checking out the multiple sources, students will develop a mindset of what all could be shared on the internet that may not be true.
“We want our 10th grade world literature students to make real-world connections,” he said. “We are inviting other classes to listen to the story to try and teach all our students about why this is something we remember each year.”