Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Holocaust Memorial Day 27 January: Resources

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Holocaust Memorial Day 27 January: Resources

Article excerpt

History teacher Tamsin Leyman on how a two-day CPD course from the Holocaust Education Development Programme has changed the way she teaches.

I have taught the Holocaust to Year 9 pupils for the past six years and organised annual five-day trips to Poland. Pupils always had a huge emotional reaction to Auschwitz, but the continuing professional development (CPD) course provided by the London University Institute of Education's Holocaust Education Development Programme has made me re- evaluate these visits. We now spend more focused time in Krakow, looking at areas where once-vibrant Jewish communities have been totally wiped out.

I do not think we, as a history department, had a clear rationale about what we were trying to teach; because the Holocaust is such a sensitive subject it is easy to become scared about getting it right. But the CPD course helps you to set up enquiry that is historically accurate and to present the Holocaust as an unprecedented event that redefined the face of Europe. We felt we should teach it as clearly as we teach any other area of history.

I now spend about four of the 12 lessons looking at the vibrancy and diversity of Jewish life in Europe before the war. Students are given time to consider the legacy of the Holocaust, both for individual survivors and in terms of the void created by the loss of six million lives. Without this comparison, I think there is a danger of making Jews seem like two- dimensional victims.

One of the most common questions asked by pupils is: "Why didn't people fight back? …

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