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TEACHING HISTORY: An instructor’s approach as history is being written

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX47) -- While we often learn about history from books, the reality is we're living through history every day.

Some moments, like the past few months being more impactful than others.

Rochester Community and Technical College History Instructor Chad Israelson

Rochester Community and Technical College History Instructor Chad Israelson said students will be better able to engage in the class material because they are witnessing history firsthand.

"To me it's going to be beneficial as a teacher because the students are gonna be able to relate easily to it," he said.

The quest for real systemic change got a boost from George Floyd dying at the hands of police.

"You can't pretend like the last few months haven't happened," Israelson said. "These are issues that absolutely have to be addressed in American society."

Those issues are now being addressed through police reform, the re-branding of various products, and the removal of controversial historical statues.

"They were put up, many of them to send a message during the 1950s about civil rights in a very negative way obviously. So that's how I'm gonna answer it," Israelson said. He also noted, the timing of the Washington, D.C. NFL team changing its name after decades of controversy.

MLK III being interviewed by Ubah Ali on June 4.

Martin Luther King III noted during a June 4 interview the differences between how mixed demonstrators are now compared to the makeup back in the 1960s.

Israelson said he is looking forward to having meaningful conversations with students when classes resume.

"We'll look back at this and say most likely we moved into an era," he said.

An era he says will help people understand where we came from and where we are headed.

"History is meaningless unless you're using it to describe the present," Israelson said.

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Ubah Ali

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