Holocaust education is taught all over the world to learners of different ages and backgrounds. Educators take different perspectives, approaches, and meanings from the Holocaust, and make them important and relevant to the lives of their students today. Many of the students who have already studied in The Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies, and students that will be part of our degree program in the future are preparing to enter the field of Holocaust education, or come to study in our program with the goal of further developing their skills as Holocaust educators. Learning how to be an effective Holocaust Educator takes hands on experience. The Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies was proud to offer the first year of our Holocaust Education Internship.
The aim of this internship was to build an academic community of students under the supervision of esteemed Holocaust educator Madene Shachar, who together would explore various approaches and perspectives toward Holocaust education and create a six part Holocaust education program that fit their own collaborative view. After researching the existing approaches and lesson plans for Holocaust education, the internship group began to define their own learning goals, rationales, and objectives that they had for their specific group of learners.
Six of our students participated in this internship program. It is with great pride that we share their some of their reflections and experiences.
As a novice Holocaust educator, I am particularly interested in using music as well as drama and theatre techniques as methods for educating about the Holocaust. The internship gave me the unique opportunity not only to explore the educational value and effectiveness of integrating those methods into the Holocaust education but also to develop and conduct lessons that utilised music and drama as tools for teaching and learning about the Holocaust . As a result of the theoretical insights as well as the practical experience that I gained during the internship I feel more confident and well equipped to devise and conduct effective and engaging lessons on the Holocaust.
This internship was very hands-on and practical. It provided me with a good picture of the know-hows of the teaching process. When I go back to the Philippines, I will have to present a lesson plan that I developed to different schools and/or universities. Accordingly, the internship offered me the experience I needed in doing so. Questions such as “what was appropriate to teach?” “What methods are effective?” and most importantly “What precisely do I want the students to learn from the whole lesson?” were largely explored through this internship. Brainstorming creative lesson plans and the actual teaching with my colleagues, as well as witnessing how the students’ outputs reflected a good understanding of each lesson led me to gain a great deal of knowledge and experience in the field of Holocaust education. I came out of the experience equipped with the confidence, which I did not have before, of being capable of teaching about the Holocaust and making it a very meaningful experience for the students.
I plan on being a teacher, and through this internship I hoped to gain some insight and experience on how to effectively teach such a tough subject to children. After many weeks brainstorming with the group and working together on lesson planning, I feel much more comfortable with the idea of creating engaging and age-appropriate lessons about the Holocaust in my future teaching career.
As part of the International MA Program in Holocaust studies we have had the opportunity for hands on experience. I participated in the engaging and powerful internship at the Nofim elementary school. The interns developed and implemented an interactive and educational series of lessons for 6th graders. We chose the theme, “Children in the Holocaust”, and focused on personal stories. Concentrating on personal accounts allowed us to untangle the masses and focus on the individuals. Using this method was a powerful way to teach the events of the Holocaust allowing the students to empathize with the individual eyewitness accounts and to attempt to understand the complexities of Holocaust history, including the scope and scale of the events. The 28 sixth-graders who participated in the program had the opportunity to explore, discuss, encounter and internalize in their own level of development some issues that children had to face while living through the Holocaust. We made sure to incorporate life before the Holocaust as well. Personally, it was a meaningful experience to create, teach and witness the attentive response of the students. The overall experience was rewarding, including the teamwork between the interns and the development of the curriculum. We worked tirelessly, but it was worth every minute.
~Anat Leviteh Weiner
“This internship provided me with the understanding of how to teach and design effective, responsible, and relevant Holocaust education. Teaching such a tough subject matter to learners of different ages needs to be done in such a manner that it is both meaningful to their lives today, and maintains the duty to the past. This internship opportunity provided me with two different and meaningful learning processes. Throughout the first part of the internship, I was involved in an academic community of Holocaust educators in which we combined and exchanged ideas and approaches toward teaching the Holocaust to middle school students, and created six lesson plans. During the second part of the internship, we gained valuable classroom experience while teaching our six lesson plans to students at the Nofim School in Haifa. I gained an extremely valuable foundation and understanding of how to approach Holocaust education, and I am certain I will build on this foundation in my future career. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be involved in such a meaningful internship program.”
Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program? You can find the application and more information at our website: http://holocaust-studies.haifa.ac.il/