While it may seem odd at first, an English teacher has been granted a fellowship to study American history. Buffalo Grove High School's Ami Relf is among the 25 teachers that will take part in a week-long seminar entitled "Slave Narratives in American Literature". The seminar will be held in late June at Yale University, in New Haven, CT.
Based in New York City, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a non-profit organization with the goal of improving history education. The Institute has awarded more than 500 fellowships since it's founding in 1994.
Why an English teacher, you may ask? "My goal is to add African American literature, specifically slave narratives, into my classroom," said Reif. "I want to make my students thinkers and learners outside of Buffalo Grove's community, which will prepare them for a multicultural society."
"I want to make my students thinkers and learners outside of Buffalo Grove's community, which will prepare them for a multicultural society."
Relf's goals are a perfect fit for the Institute. Their Teaching Literacy through History (TLTH) program is designed to provide rigorous lessons that develop students' reading, writing, and analytical skills.
The seminar Relf will attend this summer will be presented by Yale professor Dr. David Blight and will allow participants to read slave narratives in an effort to understand the transition from slavery to emancipation. Blight has authored numerous works about the time period and also serves as a book reviewer for the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and other newspapers.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute has made the following promotional video available to explain more about themselves.