The Leading Edge of Learning The Foundations of Holocaust & Social Justice Education TCWP, 2014 Corey L. Harbaugh Gobles HS firstname.lastname@example.org
Write down 2 or 3 questions or curiosities you have about the Holocaust.
Do we have an obligation to teach our students the lessons of historical and/or contemporary examples of social justice and injustice? Here is my question:
Do we have an obligation to teach our students the lessons of historical and/or contemporary examples of social justice and injustice? If so, why? If not, why not? QW: What are your thoughts on this? (Please write for three (3) minutes)
Here is what Holocaust Education survey data tells us: 85.54% say we do, at least somewhat 254 teachers, all of whom were vetted by and have received training from at least one national organization in Holocaust content & pedagogy: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum The USC Shoah Foundation The Memorial Library (NYC)
The factor that most influences a teacher’s choices about how to teach the Holocaust and what content to cover (51% of teachers) is that teacher’s Personal Objectives and Commitment to the Subject. But what about the 14.46% who believe we should not teach towards an established social value? What do they think?
Consider these images: • First, just notice the details; • Then, see if you make sense of it– what is it showing; • Then pay attention to your response to it– what response does the image evoke? • 10 seconds each
What did you notice? What did you notice about your own responses to the images? Did any of the images evoke a stronger response than any of the others? Scratch down your thoughts, and be prepared to share…
So, what’s the issue? • I am guilty of Tourist Education: non-contextualized, quick, superficial interactions; • I am guilty of universalizing complex histories; • I am guilty of showing images that evoke specific strong sentiments to transmit and reinforce select, basic societal values; these images can therefore be used as “ruling symbols of culture” (Paul Salmons) to strengthen any political, moral, or social position I care to argue. • What Good Are A Few Cheap Tears?
Here is what Holocaust Education survey data tells us: Q: In which subject area(s) do you principally teach about the Holocaust? 1) English 55.82% 2) History 36.55%
Here is what Holocaust Education survey data tells us: Q: specify the content area of History in which you teach about the Holocaust. 1) American History 27.66% 2) World History 21.99%
Here is what Holocaust Education survey data tells us: The chief pedagogical approach for Holocaust instruction according to teachers in this survey is “Literary or Text Based”: 31.6%
On Wiesel's Night I cannot teach this book. Instead, I drop copies on their desks like bombs on sleeping towns, and let them read. So do I, again. The stench rises from the page and chokes my throat. The ghosts of burning babies haunt my eyes. And that pointing baton, that pointer of Death, stabs me in the heart as it sends his mother to the blackening sky. Nothing is destroyed the laws of science say, only changed. The millions transformed into precious smoke ride the wind to fill our lungs and hearts with their cries. No, I cannot teach this book. I simply want the words to burn their comfortable souls and leave them scarred for life. --Thomas E. Thorton English Journal (NCTE) February, 1990
How do we feel about the objective in Thorton’s poem of leaving students “scarred for life”? Is that our job?
Student questions from my classroom: • What went on in Hitler’shead? Why did he begin the Holocaust? (13) • Why? (8) • Why Jewish people? (9) • What were the initial reactions of German people to Hitler’s ideas? (3) • Why did people start becoming Nazis? • How did Hitler control and change the people of Germany to commit genocide? (6) • What was day to day life like for Jews during the Holocaust? • What happened to the twins during the experiments? (2)
Photo study April, 1933 Nazi government-sponsored German boycott of Jewish stores.
LÖRRACH, GERMANY, OCTOBER 22, 1940 In this photo, citizens of a small town watch Gestapo officers lead Jewish men and women to trucks for deportation from Germany. Children peek from behind the line of deportees while adults witness the event from a balcony above. These Jews of Lörrach were transported to German-occupied France. In 1942, German officials, with French collaboration, later deported most of them to Auschwitz. Few survived.
Consider only the Jewish individuals in the photo. Closely study them, and notice the details that stand out to you, or that you now notice upon closer inspection. Explain the choices and behaviors of these individuals: What are these people doing? How are they doing it? Why are they doing what they’re doing in that way? What do you imagine is going on in their minds? Write for three (3) minutes.
Principles of Holocaust Education:#1: All of our teaching will be experienced by our students through both a specific individual and specific local/community context or filter; their contexts and filters will be different than our own. Individual/group student questions should lead the teaching and learning!
Principles of Holocaust Education:#2: We must build capacity for our students to activate personal context in a positive, formative manner through the process of inquiry; Writing can/should be a key strategy in that process!
New Vocabulary Word Ajaratu (n) --
Ajaratu Comes from the Wolof language; Wolof is one of the West African languages blended into the language of the Gullah people in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
Ajaratu means “a female pilgrim” Q: What kinds of things would you expect to be true about somebody called "a female pilgrim"?
Some New Information In Senegal and The Gambia, where Wolof is the living language, the word Ajaratu is used as a title of respect for a woman has been to Mecca.
Now What Do You Think? Q: How does this new information change what you know to be true or expect to be true about somebody called "a female pilgrim"? Explain.
Schemata Schemata (plural) are embedded one within another at different levels of abstraction. Relationships among them are conceived to be like webs (rather than hierarchical); thus each one is interconnected with many others.
From Madeleine L’Engle "We think because we have words, not the other way around. The more words we have, the better able we are to think conceptually."
Of all the available human capacities, Putting-it-into-words is the most powerful. Thinking-it, Feeling-it, or Seeing-it by themselves, are nothing. It is only when people put what they think or sense or see into words that whatever is there to be thought, felt, or seen comes into play as a force in social life. Social Theory: Multiculturalism and Classic Readings By Charles Lemert
Principles of Holocaust Education:#3: We must develop for ourselves an outcomes-based rationale for engaging our students in a study of social justice and historical and/or contemporary human trauma.