Imperial War Museums tells the stories of ordinary people whose lives have been affected by war and conflict.
This resource starts with an extract of an interview with a survivor of the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York on 11 September 2001. Janice talks about remembering her colleagues and friends as the first anniversary of the attacks approaches.
Coming to terms with loss, grief, difficult memories and adversity is complex and challenging, this resource provides a starting point for students to explore these themes and the emotions around them.
Content Warning: Before you watch or use this resource, we advise that this content aims to help students explore challenging emotions around loss and grief and features real stories from IWM’s collections of people who have experienced these emotions first hand. This resource features an extract from an interview with a survivor of the 9/11 World Trade Centre attack in New York, 2001.
Content Advice: The film contains references to violence, terror attacks, grief, loss and 9/11
Every face tells a story
Every face tells a story
Janice Brooks worked in the World Trade Centre. These notes provide background information to her story and suggest ways of supporting students’ responses to the film with suggested learning activities.
Download the Teacher Notes to give you all the background information you need to introduce your students to this resource
Watch the film of Janice talking about the Book of Remembrance and the call with Dan’s wife. Give students time to reflect and record their reaction and feelings in response to Janice’s film.
Conversations with people who have experienced war and conflict are at the heart of how IWM approaches its work with eye-witnesses and veterans.
Students could be encouraged to share their thoughts on the film in a conversation with a partner, as a small group or as a class discussion.
Questions could be provided to help students structure their thoughts and responses and to explore the ways of coping with grief that Janice encountered:
- What was the purpose of creating the Books of Remembrance?
- What do you think Janice means when she says that: ‘Every face tells a story’?
- How did Janice sharing her last memory of Dan help his grieving wife?
- Why do you think talking to Dan’s wife also helped Janice to cope with her grief?
- Why do you think being thanked by Dan’s wife helped Janice?
Making a memory book or creative journal can help us to feel supported as we try to understand and cope with our feelings.
It can be a way to record thoughts about a particular person or event or be a starting point to acknowledging and recording our emotions.
The memory book or creative journal could start with Janice’s words ‘every face tells a story’ and looking at a photograph of themselves students could write/ draw some of the stories that their faces tell.
Janice used the Books of Remembrance as a way of responding to her feelings of grief as well as helping her to come to terms with her own shock and trauma.
Students could be supported to think about grief and to describe the different ways that it can be experienced. The impact of lockdown and ongoing restrictions such as social distancing may lead students to experience feelings akin to uncertainty, anxiety and grief. Analyse Janice’s experience of connecting with others, of feeling supported herself and her ability to support others.
Initiate a discussion with students about how they are managing in this time of adversity and social disconnection. These could be recorded in their creative journal along with positive suggestions for ways of coping such as the importance of making connections, of talking etc.
Students could be encouraged to share ideas of the types of support available to them and strategies they use to feel less isolated and supported to talk about their feelings as Janice did. What strategies could they use to remind themselves that they are not alone?