An Alumni's Letter to the Facing History Advisory Board

Posted by Trent Dickson on January 10, 2017

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A Facing History teacher knows the positive impact the Genocide and Crimes against Humanity course can have on a student, when taught using Facing History and Ourselves methodology, strategies and resources. If you are new to Facing History, or are interested in learning more, one of the most important advocates we have are the students themselves.  The following is a letter from Trent Dickson, Facing History alumni.

Trent Dickson was a student in Ben Gross’ Gr. 11 course, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity in 2012 at Woburn Collegiate Institute. He wrote the below letter to the Facing History Advisory Board sharing how much he learned from the course which Mr. Gross taught using Facing History’s methodology, strategies and resources.

As a teenager, it feels as though people believe you are unreliable, underdeveloped, or even outright stupid. [However], my time in the Facing History classroom imbued confidence within myself and my peers.

Facing History demonstrated that the road to development, however long, requires self-determination and a disproportionate sense of humility. I will make mistakes and I will look like an idiot from time to time. (As I write this, I am locked out of my car in zero degree weather all because I wanted to kindly buy groceries for my family.)

In life, you must take things in stride and smile through the frustration, as it teaches you your limits, as well as expands them. This “frustration” develops a rare degree of confidence.

At a young age, Facing History improved my intellectuality by giving me the opportunity to struggle with understanding myself, and the worlds around me.

Society believes in and invests in structured education as the sole method of learning. Structure teaches a student how to learn, but the unstructured learning provides students  with the what and the why for learning. By opening up learning pathways, youth can engage in confidence-building moments and skills development.


I believe Facing History provides the real-world context that is often glossed over. It increases one's access to the world while improving a student's ability to learn.

Thank you for working together for youth like me.

Topics: Student Voices, Students, CHG

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This is where Canadian Facing History and Ourselves teachers and community members meet to share reflections, scholarship and teaching practices that will inspire, challenge and improve teaching and student learning. Our stories provide a window into diverse Facing History classrooms in Ontario, and invite you into the discussion.

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