2019 Martha Ross Teaching Award

Mr. Stanley receives the Martha Ross Teaching Award
Posted on 10/21/2019

The Oral History Association established the Martha Ross Teaching Award to recognize a distinguished primary or secondary school teacher involved in educational outreach at the pre-collegiate level who has incorporated the practice of oral history in the classroom in an exemplary way. The Martha Ross Teaching Award is presented biennially in odd-numbered years. This year’s award was presented to Chris Stanley at the OHA’s 2019 Awards Ceremony held at the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Dr. Davis P. Cline, Awards Committee Chair and Lead Interviewer and Research Scholar for the Civil Rights History Project of the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, asserted that “The committee was very impressed with your materials and dedication to teaching and oral history and the many ways in which you have incorporated oral history into your pedagogy.”

Dr. Natalie Fousekis, OAH President and Director of the Center for Oral and Public History at California State University said, “A short time ago his students also worked to produce a documentary film on the history of clambaking throughout New England. The aim of the film was to explore, from different critical perspectives, how this unique culinary folkway has shaped a variety of political, cultural, and social factors in New England’s local history. A large part of the project required students to develop probing, analytical questions, and interview individuals who keep the tradition alive. The students gorged themselves on the colorful stories served to them as they collected oral histories by several local bake masters.  The project culminated with students’ active involvement in the production, baking, and serving an authentic New England clambake. She went on to cite additional evidence from Mr. Stanley’s 22 years as a teacher. She quoted from Father Phillip Salois, President of the Vietnam Veterans of America, nomination letter saying that, “Mr. Stanley is responsible for shedding a powerful light on the Vietnam War – an important element of American history merely glossed over in today’s high school curriculum. He managed to bring the Vietnam War alive for the entire student body at Ponaganset High School. She also quoted PHS Senior, Emily Williams, who wrote in a reflective essay, “There are a few occasions where I’ve felt such a strong community bond in my school; it could only be described as a family.  What began as a small class project ended in an event that honored Vietnam Veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice. The moment was shared by over 800 students, scores of Vietnam Veterans from all over New England, grieving families and strangers who simply stood in silence as a way of healing the invisible scars of America’s most controversial war.” Dr. Fousekis concluded her introduction of Mr. Stanley by saying, “it is clear that he has met the following Criteria for the award:

  • The teacher has developed an innovative philosophy or strategy for the use of oral history; and/or successfully implemented an existing strategy for doing oral history with students; and/or used oral history in print or other format to enhance learning.
  • The teacher’s work or approach is a model for the use of oral history in education.
  • The teacher has demonstrated familiarity with both oral history scholarship and the literature relating oral history to educational practice.
  • The project or curriculum reflects appropriate standards for historical research and interpretation, oral history interviewing, preservation of completed tapes (and transcripts, where applicable), and presentation.
  • The oral history project or curriculum has a civic or community component.

Mr. Stanley also received the 2019 Veterans of Foreign Wars Teacher of the Year this past June. 

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