Program Helps Durham Students Hone Writing, Research, Presentation Skills
Were America’s Japanese-American internment camps considered a military necessity or a product of racial bias?
Middle and high school students from Durham Public Schools puzzled over the answer last week as they discussed immigration and its history in America during a session at the Hank & Billye Suber Aaron Young Scholars Summer Research Institute at Duke.
The free program – in its fourth year at Duke -- offers an educational enrichment experience to enhance their writing, research and presentation skills.
During their three-week session students met at the Nicholas School of the Environment to design and prepare original research presentations that focus on policy issues affecting inequality. The program material is selected by the teaching faculty in collaboration with scholars at Duke’s Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity, which hosts the institute.
“This is my fourth year teaching in the program and every year I’m drawn back. The research the students do is so powerful and profound,” said institute educator Raymond Beamon. “One of the things that I really enjoy about the program is students have the autonomy to research any topic they would like to cover. It excites me to see students have such inquisitive minds and execute their research in a way to help educate others.”
During this session, the classroom that was once silent filled with the echoing sound of a propaganda video about the internment camps of the 1940s. The video was a part of Beamon’s lesson to teach students about immigration then and now.
After watching the video, Beamon created a group participation activity. With the assistance of another educator and student interns, Beamon asked his students to separate into two groups.
“If you think the Japanese-American internment camps were (A) military necessity go stand on the left side of the classroom,” Beamon said. “If they were (B) a product of racial bias stand on the right side.” Students separated instantly.
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