Presented by Tom White, Coordinator of Educational Outreach for the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies:
Why do we need to teach the Holocaust? What moral messages do we convey? What do students actual learn? The task of educators is to make historical topics relevant to their students. How does one make the Holocaust relevant to students today? How should teachers approach this extremely difficult topic in an appropriate way? The Holocaust must be taught in a multidisciplinary way as a human story taking place in modern society - one human being to another - by neighbors, in the same civilization. This workshop explores ways to humanize the experience of the victims and perpetrators in order to motivate successive generations to recognize an ethical responsibility to respond to prejudice and hatred. This presentation illustrates how to connect students to the victims as human beings; putting people above statistics; how to explore everyday life in the ghettos; how Jews fought dehumanization by confronting moral dilemmas; the choice many survivors made to choose life and continuation over despair and violence; proper contexts; suggested appropriate lessons and use of film; and the burden and responsibility of representing trauma. Specific attention will be given to the use of imagery. What kinds of images are appropriate and in what context? A fundamental approach will be to discuss the limits and goals of teaching about the Holocaust while teaching students how to maintain a moral core. The methodological considerations can be applied to any social studies or English curriculum.
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