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Teaching the Holocaust through the narrative - part I

A basic course in the program: Studies toward a Specialization Certificate in the Didactics of Teaching Teaching the Holocaust

This on-line course seeks to familiarize teachers with the challenges involved in teaching about the Holocaust through Narrative, and to present educational strategies and teaching methods designed to confront these challenges. As we examine text and visual media, we will analyze current methodologies and materials designed to help our students understand and teach this watershed through the thoughts, words, actions, and reactions of those who were there and of those who live in its shadow.


Holocaust literature provides perspectives on myriad themes that engage students, revealing truths and raising essential questions about human nature. It provides adolescent readers with credible models of heroism and dignity even as it compels them to confront the reality of the human capacity for evil. Studying literary responses to the Holocaust helps students:

  • humanize the grim statistics;
  • explore the spiritual and religious resistance that portrays the dignity of people in the face of despair;
  • recognize and examine the different roles thrust upon or assumed by people, such as victim, oppressor, murderer, bystander, resister, and rescuer;
  • examine the “choiceless choices” confronted by Jews and opportunities for choice confronted by the perpetrators.

This course will help you to:

  1. learn key aspects of the Holocaust experience and explore its continued relevance to you and your students;
  2. identify, master, and create the best practices in sharing these essential aspects with the next generation;
  3. become reflective practitioners as you work to:
    • identify age-appropriate materials;
    • identify, design, and implement best practices in checking for understanding, connecting new learning to previous knowledge and interests, providing organizational strategies for learning, and assessing and evaluating students’ learning.
  1. Reading the assigned texts in advance and being prepared to discuss them in our on-line sessions.
  2. Participation in forum discussions (7 Forums)
  3. Assignments (2-3 short written assignments)
  4. Final project
Required Texts:

Shawn, K., Goldfrad, K., & Younglove, W. (Eds.). (2008).The call of memory: Learning about the Holocaust through narrative: An anthology. Teaneck, New Jersey: Ben Yehuda Press.

Course Format:

The course consists of 7 on-line synchronous meetings, every other week. These meetings will be followed by independent work consisting of on-line material, forum discussions and writing assignments.


Assessment will be based on your forum participation (50%), written assignments (25%) and final project (25%).

Course Schedule:

Unit 1: Introduction
Introductions; explanation of syllabus, course content, methods, materials, and expectations; PowerPoint/Lecture: “Teaching About the Holocaust Through Narrative.”

Unit 2: In the Beginning
Forum Discussion
Second on-line lecture
First Assignment

Unit 3: The Gathering Storm
Forum Discussion
Third on-line lecture

Unit 4: Under Occupation
Forum Discussion
Fourth on-line lecture
Second Assignment

Unit 5: Daily Life in the Ghetto (Part 1):
Forum Discussion
Fifth on-line lecture

Unit 6: Daily Life in the Ghetto (Part 2):
Forum Discussion
Sixth on-line lecture
Third Assignment

Unit 7: Conclusion
Forum Discussion
Seventh on-line encounter
Final Project


Application Form