Creating Effective Holocaust Education


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Creating Effective Holocaust Education

  1. 1. Creating Effective Holocaust Education Programs to Reach All Students Carrie A. Olson Denver Public Schools Kepner Educational Excellence Program Gloria M. Schwartz Memorial Keynote
  2. 2. Thank you! • Chair- Elaine Culbertson • Vice Chair- Christopher Gwin • Secretary- Jennifer Goss • Treasurer- Samantha Patty • Education Director- Rebecca Aupperle
  3. 3. Carrie’s Guidelines 1. Do no harm 2. Know your students 3. Be prepared 4. Educate yourself about history 5. Educate yourself about literature 6. Question yourself 7. You don’t have to teach it all 8. What’s your rationale? 9. Ask for help
  4. 4. Guideline #1 Do no harm
  5. 5. Guideline #2 Know Your Students
  6. 6. Guideline #2 Know Your Students • Who are your students? Age? • What is their background knowledge? • Public school? Private school? Religious school? • What are they learning from your teaching?
  7. 7. Guideline #2 (continued) Know Your Students • What considerations need to be taken into account regarding community in which the children live? • Have the students had direct or indirect exposure to a genocide? Racism? Persecution? • What are expectations and knowledge of the families for Holocaust education?
  8. 8. Guideline #3 Be Prepared • Students’ reactions • Families’ reactions • Colleagues’ and administrators’ reactions
  9. 9. Students’ Stories • Claudia’s question • Jessica’s history teacher • Juan’s text message • Danny’s teaching his class Ricky’s Story
  10. 10. Family Reactions “What are you teaching my child?” Espino/Rivera Family “My sister said I need to learn this” Trust in you as their child’s teacher
  11. 11. Colleagues & Administrators Principals Teachers sharing stories of growing up in the Southwest (“No Mexicans or dogs allowed”) Isabel and Mrs. Johnson “Do I need to give them my ‘Holocaust’ talk?”
  12. 12. Guideline #4 Educate yourself (history)
  13. 13. Guideline #4 Educate yourself (history) • Pre-1933: Jewish life in Europe before the Holocaust, the aftermath of World War I, the Nazi rise to power. • 1933-1939: Dictatorship under the Third Reich, Early Stages of Persecution, The First Concentration Camps • 1939-1945: World War II in Europe, Bystanders, Perpetrators, Nazi Policy, Murder of the Disabled (Euthanasia Program), Persecution and Murder of Jews, Ghettos, Mobile Killing Squads (Einsatzgruppen), Expansion of the Concentration Camp System, Killing Centers, Additional Victims of Nazi Persecution, Jewish Resistance and Non-Jewish Resistance, Rescue, United States, Death Marches, Liberation • POST-1945: Postwar Trials, Displaced Persons Camps and Emigration • Antisemitism: present day and historic; racism, prejudice, bystanders, etc. • History of genocides (
  14. 14. Guideline #5 Educate yourself (literature)
  15. 15. Guideline #5 Educate yourself (literature) Good literature… • is developmentally appropriate. • has illustrations, art, and photographs in good children’s books are appropriate in content, tone, and relation to text. • is rooted in historical context and reflects historical reality. • present limited, recognizable human experience.
  16. 16. Guideline #5 (cont.) Educate yourself (literature) Good literature… • highlights, rather than marginalizes, the Jewish experience and particular Jewish responses during the Shoah. • brings students back from the Holocaust era into the reassuring present. • have the potential to motivate students to examine their own lives and behaviors, promoting opportunities to explore universal issues and themes evoked by the unique stories of the Holocaust. • Offers flexibility in the classroom (Shawn, 2001, p. 141).
  17. 17. Guideline #6 Question Yourself
  18. 18. Questions… • Why are you teaching the Holocaust? • What books are you using? Why not other titles? • What movies do you show? Why? Do you show the whole thing? Why or why not? • Whose point of view do you teach? Why? Why don’t you include others? • When do you teach it? Why? What ages? Why? • Do you have a survivor talk? Why or why not? • What does it mean to teach the Holocaust successfully? How do you know?
  19. 19. More questions… • What are your own opinions about the Holocaust? • What is your own area of interest? How does that play out in the classroom? • How do you react to students who don’t react how you were expecting? • How do you react to bullying, prejudice, antisemitic and racial slurs, not only in the classroom but outside of the classroom as well? How does all of this affect how you teach? Or does it? Should it? Can you separate this? Should you?
  20. 20. Guideline #7 You don’t have to teach it all
  21. 21. Guideline #7 You don’t have to teach it all • No single class, syllabus, reading, etc. will provide students with all they need. • Inspire students to further their own education and ask their own questions. • Holocaust education requires careful, deliberate planning but you don’t need to cover everything.
  22. 22. Guideline #8 What’s Your Rationale?
  23. 23. My Guiding Question Why are you teaching about the Holocaust to these students at this time using these materials?
  24. 24. What’s Your Rationale? Why do you teach about the Holocaust? – Who are the students you are teaching? – What do you want them to learn? Why? – Do you teach it to all your students? Why or why not? – How do you teach it? Why? – What materials/resources do you use? Why?
  25. 25. Guideline #9 Ask for Help
  26. 26. Conclusion Effective Holocaust Education is Possible!
  27. 27. Teaching for Understanding and Transformation “… Toward that end, we strive to help students grasp the complexities of our subject matter and use the information that we share with them in meaningful and creative ways. We work to ensure that students will engage fully in mastering the content of our lessons in thoughtful and personally meaningful ways. As our reward, during our most effective moments, we get a glimpse of our students being deeply transformed by their learning experiences in a way that facilitates their becoming full and active participants in the world today…” (Ritchhard, R. & V. Boix-Mansilla, 2004).
  28. 28. Thank you!