Educators and attitudes : Holocaust education in Orthodox day schools / by Hanita Kass.
The purpose of this exploratory study was to assess the potential viability of Holocaust education for students of grades 5-8 in New York Orthodox day schools.The researcher surveyed educators of grades 5-8 who were employed during the 2003-2004 school years in New York Orthodox Jewish day schools, most of which commemorate Yom Hashoah; all of which teach their students about the Holocaust.She explored two issues: (a) educator support for teaching about the Holocaust to these middle grade students; and (b) the relationship between each of four educator demographics---age, gender, religious affiliation and relationship with Holocaust survivors---and the educators' attitudes (expressed as levels of support) toward teaching 13 Holocaust-related topics to these students.The study is exploratory because there is very little existing literature concerning educators' attitudes toward Holocaust education for middle grade students, and almost no literature regarding the demographics of educators or Holocaust educators in Orthodox day schools.Data for the study were collected through closed-ended questionnaires and analyzed using the SPSS 11.0 computer program.Overall support for teaching about the Holocaust was measured by comparing the valid percentages of the responses. The relationships between each of the four educator demographic variables and the 13 Holocaust-related topics were analyzed utilizing the Spearman Correlation Coefficient.Results from the first part of the study suggested that almost all of the 119 respondents (98% valid), most of whom were classroom teachers, supported teaching about the Holocaust to middle grade students in these schools---regardless of their subject assignments.Results from the Spearman Correlation Coefficient suggested that the personal demographics of the educators did impact upon their levels of support for teaching some of the 13 Holocaust-related topics. There were nine correlations (of weak-to-moderate degrees) between the educators' four personal demographics and their attitudes toward teaching to these students seven of the topics: How Nazi Antisemitism Grew; The Different Stages Related to the Holocaust Through the 1930s-1940s; Jewish Life During the Holocaust; The Jewish Military Resistance; Literature of the Holocaust; Halakhah Pertaining to the Commemoration of the Holocaust; and The Relationship of the Holocaust to the State of Israel.
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