The examination of pedagogical approaches to teaching controversial public issues : explicitly the teaching of the Holocaust and comparative genocide / Robert A. Waterson.
This study reflects the examination of four teachers and their approach to a specific controversial public issue, namely the Holocaust and comparative genocide. The purpose was to address four succinct research questions which followed a conceptual framework which emerged around these teachers' rationale, methodology, preparation, and characteristics. The qualitative nature of this extensive study allowed for each individual profile to emerge and their voices to be heard, which allowed for the essential discovery of pedagogy. Thorough and consistent methods of data collection guided the development of each profile and allowed for a rich and deep material to constantly compare and contrast. Analysis of this material resulted in the emergence of six themes: (1) Citizenship. Teachers considered the teaching of controversial public issues as an important process for helping students develop productive and active citizenship; (2) Curriculum & Design. The selection of curriculum material was motivated primarily by teachers desire for authentic assessment; (3) Teaching Pedagogy. Each teacher created a learning environment which mirrored their own experiences and specifically their belief in the power to make a difference; (4) Influence of Modeling. Teachers disclosed the power of both personal and professional models and the influence of these individuals in their lives, and consequently in their student's lives; (5) Neoteny. The ability to continue to learn, and to demonstrate this to their students as a life time process was demonstrated by these teachers; (6) Life Altering Experiences. Teachers spoke of different events in their lives which altered their perspectives and made them refocus or re-direct their ideologies, in their professional and personal lives.These four teachers illustrated very different approaches to teaching about the Holocaust and comparative genocide, creating their own unique teaching pedagogy, which was primarily influenced by the modeling of others and their own life experiences. This teaching pedagogy motivated them to create a learning environment for their students that were reflective of their teaching dispositions; with the ultimate goal of helping their students to become better citizens.
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