Marriage Customs in the U.S.

Last week we shared with you one of the joys of summer for most educators – taking time to catch up on our reading. This week we celebrate another, love.  Many of us take summer holidays to spend quality time with our partners, friends and family. The summer months also means – wedding season!

This past May global educator, Marva Miles, and her students at Benjamin Banneker High School in College Park, Georgia, explored marriage customs across the country from the eyes of mixed race couples, same gender couples and couples who live and work together. They also took time to interview a lawyer and religious leader as part of their participation in the Marriage Customs and Traditions global project.  Here’s the recently produced Youtube video by Marva and her students documenting what they learned:

I spoke with Marva after viewing the video.

Marva, like all iEARN educators, you have such a passion for your students.

I do! My students range in age from 15 to 20.

When I’m asked what I teach, I reply that I teach students who learn differently.  That’s because I feel I best represent my students when responding in this fashion.  My students are generally identified as special needs students.  I hope this video reveals who they really are – bright, thinking, inquisitive young people, more similar than different from their peers.”

How was this project integrated into your curriculum?

This project was an enrichment exercise stemming from a World History lesson on religions around the world.  We knew that, throughout the world, a person’s faith usually influences and shapes marriage and we decided to expand our study on religions to the institution of marriage.  Since Christianity is the faith that’s practiced by most citizens in the U.S., we looked at marriage from a Christian point of view.  Being that our laws govern the institution of marriage, we thought it would be interesting to explore marriage through our legal system as well.

We framed our project around interviews because we felt it would make our project more engaging and real for those who see it.  The interviews captured the essence of marital relationships and that was our goal.”

What were goals that you had for student learning and how did you assess them?

My goal was to introduce different types of unions to my students with hopes of them discovering some of the elements they deem necessary to have successful, meaningful relationships in their lives.  Assessment for each student’s learning was based on the questions they generated as a group for our interviews  and their individual  responses  to questions I generated from the research material we gathered and discussed on the topic of marriage in America and how it is related to religion and the laws of our land.”

How did your students feel after doing this project?

My students were extremely animated in the entire process of this activity.  They had the opportunity to ask authorities questions that were of personal interest and concern to them.  Some were made to feel a greater sense of ease with themselves.  Others were given hope that problems they are aware of in marital relationships, some very close to them, may be resolved.  Most importantly, they had the opportunity to learn about decisions they can make to help them achieve a healthy, joyous marital union in their lives.  Of course, their spectrum of marriage as we know it in the United States was broadened.”

Marva and her students would love to hear from you!

The Marriage Customs Around the world project is co-facilitated by Marva, Ubayy Arafeh in Palestine and Abdellah Ghazi in Morocco and will start up again this coming September.

** Currently iEARN is preparing to launch our brand new Project Collaboration Centre. New teacher and student registrations will be open in August 2012  Click here for updated information.

For current members, you can communicate with Marva via the Teachers forum.

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