Toward a pedagogy of the Holocaust : perspectives of exemplary teachers / David Hays Lindquist.
The study examines practices by which knowledgeable and experienced teachers of the Holocaust make fundamental decisions regarding the treatment of the topic in their classrooms. It considers four components (rationale, methodology, content, and dilemmas and issues) involved in developing and implementing meaningful courses of instruction about the Holocaust. The study's six informants are Fellows of both the Mandel Teacher Fellowship Program of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Teacher Fellowship Program “The Holocaust and Jewish Resistance,” sponsored by the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors. They represent different genders, personal backgrounds, levels of formal education, content areas of expertise, grade levels of instruction, and geographical locations. Each informant was interviewed extensively regarding the four components, with their responses being compared to and contrasted with relevant articles from research literature about the teaching of the Holocaust. Findings indicate that Holocaust education focuses on the event as a study of human behavior and as a force for contemporary social change. It is moving toward an increasingly central role in contemporary education because it generates high-level interest on the part of students, leading them to demonstrate sophisticated thinking processes while considering important themes. Effective methodologies for teaching the Holocaust require attention to the power of language, the contextualization of the event within modern history, and personalization. In developing curricula, teachers must select materials that are historically accurate and comprehensive while ensuring sensitivity in the use of graphic depictions of devastating circumstances. Participants discussed unique challenges that educators face in teaching the Holocaust as a result of community and institutional pressures, the existence of the denier movement, matters of age-appropriateness, the Jewish perspective, and the intensity with which teachers approach the subject. Based on these findings, teachers should: (1) be aware of the complex nature of the subject and the teaching environment; (2) limit potential problems by becoming highly knowledgeable in both the history and the pedagogy of the subject; (3) establish well-defined rationales for teaching the subject; and (4) serve as advocates for Holocaust education in their schools and communities. In so doing, they will be able to present a topic that is highly complex and emotionally charged to students in a manner that is sound historically and pedagogically.
Record last modified: 2018-04-24 16:01:00
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