Undergraduate students' perceptions of their Holocaust and genocide education / by Carol Berry Hurwitz.
A two-phase dissertation research study on undergraduates' perceptions of their Holocaust and genocide educational experiences was undertaken at a private university during the Spring of 2004. The first phase consisted of a survey administered in 15 classrooms with 295 students from the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Business and Management. The second phase consisted of four focus groups with 12 participants from the same student sample which discussed selected questions of the survey in further depth.The most valuable Holocaust and genocide learning experiences described by students were Holocaust survivor accounts, movies, videos, and television, and visits to Holocaust and genocide museums, memorials, and exhibits. "Schindler's List" (Spielberg, 1993) was the movie seen by the largest number of students (65%). Next most valuable experiences were classroom discussions and books. Anne Frank (Frank, 1952) and Night (Wiesel, 1960) were the most likely Holocaust books to have been read. The majority of students had obtained good to excellent Holocaust educational preparation from middle-school to high school, but had not received sufficient Holocaust or genocide educational opportunities at the university level. When asked which 20th century genocides they desired to study further (top three choices of 12), more listed the Jewish Holocaust than any other genocide, followed by Native American genocides and African American genocide and slavery.Students see the Holocaust and genocide as both interesting topics and relevant moral issues they would like further opportunity to study in their university education. Three clustered item scales were developed statistically from survey questions: one labeled Educational Relevance reflected an α of .82, a high moderate outcome. Eighty percent of the surveyed students indicated willingness to take a university course on the Holocaust and genocide. The study also revealed that students had a well-developed sense of moral accountability from their upbringing and education including university experiences. This translated directly into personal ethical behavioral outcomes such as students standing up for another person in a situation of prejudice or intolerance. But, students perceived that their Holocaust and genocide educational experiences only slightly assisted them in preparation for preventing future genocides.
Record last modified: 2018-05-18 16:19:00
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