Linda Hardin brings history alive for her students and for those efforts has been named a 2007 Richard T. Farrell Teacher of Merit during National History Day awards ceremony at College Park, Maryland. The award included a $1,000 prize.
Hardin, a teacher at Tanglewood Middle School in Greenville, was recognized for her dedication to the National History Day (NHD) program. Her project was sponsored in part by a grant from SC Humanities. Hardin has great success using National History Day in historically lower performing schools. Tanglewood School is a diverse school with a student body made up of 55 percent African American, 30 percent Caucasian and 15 percent Hispanic students. Hardin incorporates NHD into her work with English as a Second Language students. Students conduct research about their personal history and culture while learning English to communicate their findings.
"Recent standardized testing at our school shows that National History Day is an effective instructional tool for developing reading and research skills for my students," said Hardin. "National History Day allows us to experiment with language through our study of history. We translate, analyze and debate in several languages and dialects. My students perfect English pronunciation and attain confidence in communicating complex ideas."
Hardin has traveled with students to the low country to interview veterans at a Democratic stump meeting and learn about political leaders like Strom Thurmond and Ben Tillman. Her students go beyond the text book and actively seek oral interviews to supplement their research. One group of students tracked down Jesse Jackson and got him to walk in their neighborhood and regale them with stories of civil rights battles and memories of everything from sit-ins to the Greenville African-American History Museum.
"We are delighted we can help support the National History Day in South Carolina, and particularly excited when one of our participants is recognized, " said Randy Akers, executive director of SC Humanities. "Projects such as this impact students and help them understand how the humanities influence our past, present, and future."
SC Humanities is a nonprofit state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is governed by a statewide volunteer board of directors, with its office in Columbia.