Introducing Woven Teaching

By Jessica Bylo Chacon

Practical help for teaching ethically & effectively

Woven Teaching was founded on the premise that other people matter.  To this end, we provide high quality and curated information, strategies, lessons, unit planning and other resources for history teachers and those working with historical topics.  Our materials aim to combine best practices, common core compliance, and themes of social responsibility. We support grassroots and local organizations in places trying to move beyond a legacy of violence, and we partner with like-minded organizations to support teachers with quality lesson plans with a human rights focus.

Other people matter.  This is why Woven Teaching exists

We want a world where human rights are valued and integrated into the everyday evaluation of issues and news by all citizens.  Woven Teaching is an organization that envisions a world where students engage in critical thinking, historical contextualization, and the application of human rights to past and contemporary issues.  Our mantra is:  “Practical Help for Teaching Effectively and Ethically”. 

We want to help alleviate the pressure on teachers by supporting them with training, curriculum and information.  We passionately believe that studying social justice is the best way to interest students and is crucial to creating responsible global citizens.  We know that education is an essential component of breaking cycles of violence, and collaboration amongst organizations with similar visions is the best way to further our mission of being a lightweight, cost-effective and focused organization that strives to educate a globally-minded, socially-responsible citizenry.

Content integration, standards compliance & critical thinking

There are many excellent anti-bias and anti-hatred organizations in the education realm, most notably Teaching Tolerance, the ADL and historical-memorial organizations like the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  However, few of these are dedicated only to education.  Of those that are, fewer have curriculum modules that can be easily integrated into the wide range of curriculum teachers are required to cover in class.  Even less common is an emphasis on critical thinking and essential skills for success in academic and work life.  Most often, this leads to only certain teachers employing the topics and methods of human rights education in their classes, often at the detriment of required and tested topics and skills.  

Woven Teaching is unique because we teach human rights as an integrated part of both skills and content in mandated history curriculums.  Teachers do not have to potentially sacrifice state requirements in order to include human rights education in their classrooms.  Instead, learning and engagement are enhanced by turning the historical lens towards the personal and group experiences that have helped create the societies we navigate today.   Justice, fairness and rights are topics that adolescents and teenagers are drawn to.  Their interest in these topics opens the door for exercises in the critical thinking, exposition and cooperative learning skills that are central to a solid human rights curriculum, ensuring that students are not only more aware of the world around them, but are more capable in all learning and working situations. 

Education is where we must start

A health professional once told me that their community hygiene program was so successful because it started with training the preschoolers.  When they learned how important hygiene habits were, those tiny children encouraged their parents to adopt those habits too, in the way that only children can.  Those children also grew up to train their own kids to have good hygiene.  In that way, hygiene-caused health problems were incredibly reduced in the region, reducing the number of sick days from work and school and leading to a healthier overall economy.

Education may not be the silver bullet to all the world’s problems.  But it is our most powerful and cost-effective weapon.  Education is the critical first step to attaining the goal of a more peaceful and prosperous world, one in which dialogue replaces name-calling and where finding solutions replaces scapegoating.  Training teachers to raise up generations of youth that are literate in human rights and historical context, skilled at critical thinking, and able to clearly articulate with solid reasoning the importance of equal application of rights to all is our mission.  After all, no human is more human than any other, and if humanity is to thrive, we need to be effective teachers of contextual, critical thinking as well as human rights.