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Pedagogy for Instruction

Lesson Plans

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LESSON PLAN
EDUCATOR RESOURCE: LESSON PLANS
Our Lesson Plans provide a unique experience for educators to teach about the Holocaust effectively and interactively. Lessons are organized by topics that represent major themes associated with the Holocaust in an order that is roughly chronological; the modular design of the Lessons allows for adaption and customization to specific grade levels and subject areas. The integration of rich content in each Lesson helps students construct an authentic and comprehensive portrait of the past as they frame their own thoughts about what they are learning, resulting in a deeper level of interest and inquiry. Each lesson includes:
  • Step-by-step procedures
  • Estimated completion time
  • Resources labeled by icons        direct teachers to the piece of content named in the procedures
  • Print-ready pages as indicated by  are available as PDFs for download
For more information, questions or concerns please contact us.
PEDAGOGY PRINCIPLES FOR EFFECTIVE HOLOCAUST INSTRUCTION

In order for students to understand the importance of the Holocaust as a historical event and as part of our shared human story, it is critical for teachers to have a sound pedagogy for instruction. Echoes & Reflections recommends the following “pedagogy-in-practice” principles for teachers to apply to their planning and implementation of a comprehensive Holocaust education program, allowing students to study this complex topic in a meaningful way and to ultimately apply what they have learned to their daily lives.

PEDAGOGICAL PRINCIPLES FOR EFFECTIVE HOLOCAUST INSTRUCTION

1Define terms
In addition to key terms like antisemitism, Holocaust, and genocide, review key terms and phrases necessary to fully understand the content being studied.
2Provide background on the history of antisemitism
Ensure students understand the role that antisemitism played in allowing the Holocaust to occur.
3Contextualize the history
Help students understand what happened before and after a specific event, who was involved, where the event took place, etc; this helps to reinforce that the Holocaust wasn’t inevitable but rather was the result of choices and decisions made by individuals, institutions, and nations over years.
4Teach the human story
While connecting people and events to the larger story, educators should:
  • Translate statistics into personal stories; use survivor and witness testimony whenever possible; emphasizing, however, that survivor voices are the exception.
  • Highlight examples of how victims attempted to retain their humanity in the face of dehumanization (efforts to maintain identity and continuity of life, expression of values/beliefs, forms of resistance).
  • Stress the “choiceless choices” of the victims with limited or no power to escape.
  • Introduce victims’ prewar life/return to life to provide context for their choices, dilemmas, and actions.
  • Focus on small and large decisions made by individuals who had the ability and the opportunity to choose between morally right and morally wrong decisions prior to, during, and after the Holocaust, including bystanders, collaborators, perpetrators, and rescuers.
5Use primary source materials
Enrich students’ understanding of the Holocaust by providing an abundance of print and digital resources from a variety of perspectives.
6Make the Holocaust relevant
Connect what students are learning to contemporary events, while distinguishing between the unique history of the Holocaust and what can be learned from this history.
7Encourage inquiry-based learning and critical thinking
Support students’ sharing of ideas and asking questions of themselves and others.
8Foster empathy
Challenge students to understand people and their attitudes and actions in a historical context using sound approaches and strategies, refraining from the use of simulation activities.
9Ensure a supportive learning environment
Guide students “safely in and safely out” of this study; use age-appropriate materials and always be mindful of the social and emotional needs of individual students.

For additional exploration of effective teaching approaches, please visit our Video Toolbox “Teaching about the Holocaust in Today’s World.”
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