What risks do we run in reading fiction texts alongside the survivor narratives? How can we use these texts to better understand the events of the Holocaust?
What is most important when deciding whether to use graphic content to teach the Holocaust? Meets goals for the lesson Does not require parent permission Students will not get upset Does not show any dead/mutilated bodies Appears in USHMM exhibit or online Approved by department chair or principal Creates historical empathy Reinforces widely held beliefs/truths Provides important evidence of the past
Can events during the Holocaust be utilized to show that similar things occur today without making either event seem trivial?
How do we best meld together teaching about the Holocaust with discussions about other Genocides and current conflicts around the world without diluting the importance of the Holocaust?
How do we compare genocides, yet not relativize or set up scales of comparative suffering?
Pedagogical Dilemmas When Teaching The Holocaust How do we account for and address the moral and historical complexity of the Holocaust How do we choose and evaluate materials for teaching about the Holocaust In what ways are fiction and non-fiction documents trustworthy sources for learning about the Holocaust? What challenges to teaching the Holocaust are created by potentially graphic content? What are appropriate ways to connect the Holocaust to other genocides and to modern society? How do you teach such complex events in a limited amount of class time?
How do we choose and evaluate materials for teaching about the Holocaust? In what ways are fiction and non-fiction documents trustworthy sources for learning about the Holocaust?
Film as a unique historical “text” Potential risks or drawbacks of history movies: Conflating imaginary and real people/events Seeing the past only through current values (presentism) Movies as unique kind of historical document Content knowledge concerns
Film as a unique historical “text” How can history movies be used educationally? Purposeful and connected to broader learning goals Tied to learning activities beyond just watching Used to build “historical film literacy”
Framework for Uses of Film (I) From “Teaching history with Film” by Alan Marcus, Scott Metzger, Richard Paxton, and Jeremy Stoddard Developing Empathy Caring (about the past and for its consequences) Perspective Recognition (identifying past views and values)
Framework for Uses of Film (II) Developing Analytical or Interpretive Skills Primary Source (document contemporary to the period) Secondary Source (document about a past period)
Framework for Uses of Film (III) Raising Controversial and Historical Issues Contemporary Controversial Issues (linking past to present) Historical Issues (linking present to past)
Framework for Uses of Film (IV) Bringing the Past to Life Visualizing the Past (recreating/representing past eras) Film as Narrative (storytelling for a particular perspective)
Why to never use The Boy in the Striped Pajamas to teach about the Holocaust.
Less violence “Easier” to watch Students can relate to the main characters
Historically inaccurate Narrow in perspectives presented Misleading
Criteria for Choosing Films to Teach About the Holocaust Adherence to the Historical Record Minimal use of fictional elements Reliance on historical evidence and scholarship when creating the film The ability to develop history empathy Historical figures are represented accurately and shown to be complicated multi-dimensional figures The film depicts alternative perspectives on history in contrast to what students might otherwise see in their textbooks or regular lessons
The political, social, and ideological values reflected in the film do not overly distort the historical narrative and/or can be effectively used as part of the activities with the film. Other resources are available to use with the film The film clearly supports the goals of the lesson The genre of the film is appropriate Criteria for Choosing Films to Teach About the Holocaust
Schindler’s List (1993) Europa Europa (1990) The Pianist (2002) Defiance (2008) Amen (2002) The Counterfeiters (2007)