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Vieiraville: Where History Comes Alive

There’s a lot of history with Michael Vieira. Entering his 34th year as an educator in the Diocese of Fall River, Vieira has spent 28 of those years at Bishop Connolly High School as lead history teacher and mainstay of its history department. His classroom, affectionately known as “Vieiraville,” is the hub of Vieira’s engaging lessons where he brings history and politics to life for BCHS students.

“The most fulfilling experience is seeing the students actually happy to come to Vieiraville and willing to learn,” says Vieira. “Watching them gain a sense of how important the study of history is is just so rewarding.”

Vieira’s classes are marked by lively discussions between himself and his students, who learn to think critically and engage in dialogue about historical and political events that shape the present and the future. Based on the Socratic method of teaching, Vieira’s interactive style and probing questions help students delve deeper into the subject matter as they explore their own underlying opinions.

“The Socratic style of teaching has not only helped me, but many of my fellow peers, learn to create arguments and use our knowledge to back up our claims,” says BCHS senior Brandon DeFaria. “[Mr. Vieira] works on engaging everyone in the conversations. There is no wrong answer in his class. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and must back up those opinions with sufficient evidence.”

With advanced degrees in political science, U.S. history and public affairs, Vieira is a seasoned historian, holding further certifications in Holocaust studies and health care ethics, as well as authoring numerous articles for scholarly journals. Most notably, Vieira has served as a national College Board AP Reader for the past 23 years, scoring students’ Advanced Placement history tests from high schools throughout the country. Vieira says his role as AP Reader has been the “best professional development” for teaching AP courses and has made him a better educator. Vieira’s students have reaped those benefits, achieving higher AP scores that surpass state and national levels in U.S. History, American Government and AP Seminar. He takes pride in his students’ accomplishments and acknowledges the many successes earned through their own “hard work and dedication.”

Vieira’s students are likewise appreciative of their teacher’s impact on their academic goals. “His class has prepared me a lot for college, especially his AP courses,” says DeFaria. “I’m ready to take that next step because of Mr. Vieira and how he’s helped me.”

Vieira credits the students who have stepped into Vieiraville and the culture of Bishop Connolly for keeping him in the classroom for so long. He describes this “sense of mission” as key to fostering an environment of transformative learning.

“I marvel every day how our students accept each other, help each other, and seem truly happy at BCHS,” says Vieira. “This is what makes teaching the greatest job in the world.”

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