Below you will find a link to the Teaching Personnel, Planning for Progression Session I ran on 23rd February. Please do feel free to download the materials. I would just ask that any attributions are left in.
This short task got the pupils thinking about how we view the roles played during the Holocaust. The idea behind the lesson was to challenge students perceptions of the Holocaust through the use of character cards and real stories.
Each pupil would have a personal story of someone in some way be linked to the Holocaust. This was an excellent chance to highlight differentiation, as I planned which person would best match a pupil's ability in terms of the complexity of the story. By differentiating in this way, I was able to ensure that students were all able to participate in task. Once they had filled in their worksheet about their person, they discussed them with the other members of their group (again these groups were differentiated).
Pupils were than asked to make a judgement about their person, whether they were in fact a Perpetrator, Collaborator, Bystander or Rescuer. I then instructed pupils to move into one of the 4 corners of the room, which I had previously labelled Collaborator, perpetrator etc... Pupils then had to rank their person against this scale and justify why they were there - something which enabled me to really stretch and challenge all pupils.
Finally the pupils were once more asked to consider Barney Greenman - many pupils had changed their opinion.
Some post-lesson thoughts
The lesson was, overall a success, which was lucky as it was observed by my ITT coordinator! The lesson required a good pace, and quick transitions between tasks, which has been something I have been looking to work on. The pace of the lesson was good, a definite improvement on previous lessons. The pupils were engaged throughout, and the differentiation ensured that the majority of pupils were on task the majority of the time. I am confident that all pupils progressed in the lesson, as I was able to circulate and discuss individual people's stories with pupils throughout.
The pace at the beginning of the lesson could have been improved, perhaps too long was spent on the first task which meant that the plenary task was slightly rushed [might this be a 2 lesson sequence of work? AF].
I would also have like to include some AFL, which could have been done very simply: at the start of the lesson I could have asked 'Who killed Barney Greenman,' and asked the pupils to respond, on a scale of 1-5, of how confident they were they could answer the question. I could have asked this question again at the end.
Today's Fri-deas is more of a follow-up to Darius Jackson's excellent session on teaching the Holocaust. The purpose for this is just to provide you with some extra resources which you might use to address some of the Holocust teaching issues Darius raised. There is a particular focus here on rehumanising the past, avoiding the use of trauma, and respecting the victims.
I have uploaded some summary notes from the session with Darius' kind permission HERE. From a specifically teaching perspective note how Darius' use of the following helped hold that whole four hour session together, much like a sequence of lessons:
Reading & Research
As ever, one of the big issues in teaching any subject effectively is knowing the content and context itself. Darius noted that too often Holocaust teaching has very general purposes and fails to engage properly and historically with the subject. In order you broaden your own historical understadning of the Holocaust you may wish to have a look at:
"The Coming of the Holoaust" by Peter Kenez. I have put a review HERE, but Kenez tries to engage in the reasons for the Holocaust, but also its varied impacts in different European countries. He also has an autobiography looking at his own experience of living with antisemitism in his "Varieties of Fear" HERE. I like Peter's book because it is written from a clear perspective of trying to explain the Holocaust in a manner which goes beyond the Hitler & top Nazis argument.
"The Story of the Jews" by Simon Schama. This is both a book and a TV series - you can find a link HERE. If you know little about the history of Jews and Judaism, Schame is an excellent way into the background of the Jewish experience. This is especially important in seeing the contributions made by Jews to European society.
"Beatrice and Virgil" by Yann Martel. I seem to have lost my review for this one, but you can find a link to another one HERE. It deals with the issue of Holocaust fiction versus history. It is certainly a challenging read. I am still not sure if I think this is brilliant or awful, but would really like your thoughts.
The Holocaust Learning website and Holocaust Learning Project are archiving and cataloging the stories of victims of the Holocaust who now live in Yorkshire. This is a brilliant project and a great way to engage with the lives of victims before the events as well as their lives after. You will find all of Iby Knill's story here as well.
Using film when teaching the Holocaust. This was a session run by Jo Fox at Durham University unpicking how film and popular film might be understood in the context of the Holocaust. The notes are HERE. This is particularly good for challenging conceptual frameworks which hold that propaganda swayed Germans. Jo looks at the comparative failure of the Eternal Jew as a film and a piece of propaganda. Conversely she argues that films like Jud Suss were much more subtle and effective.
In the Classroom
There are obviously some brilliant resources which UCL are making available with regard to the "Being Human?" approach. Here are just a few other resources which you may find helpful as ways into teaching the Holocaust. I am not holding the PowerPoints up as excellent examples, but they may provide a starting point.
Unpicking frameworks about perpetrators: One way into considering frameworks about perpetrators is to look at those who actually took part in mass killings. Karl Kretschmer was an Einsatzkommando. His letters to his family are a way to really consider what is meant by a perpetrator. Using the first letter from the PowerPoint, students tend to assume he is a victim of the Holocaust - something which comes from their existing framework. The lesson then challenges the view and asks why Karl participated. This unpicks notions that Karl was forced to take part by challenging this with evidence. Students are effectively reshaping their conceptual framework about what it meant to be a perpetrator. It is important to note that Kretschmer was not in a concentration camp as well. The PowerPoint including the two extracts from Karl is HERE, some documentation showing what Karl Kretschmer's Einsatzgruppe did is HERE, and some extracts on how much choice people had in participation is HERE and a similar accompanying resource HERE.
Broadening definitions of victims. The story of Hans Frank is one way to engage students with the idea that multiple groups of people were targeted by the Nazis. However it is also a way to begin to understand the unique experiences of disabled victims of the Nazis. You can find the story HERE.
Unpicking frameworks about remembering the Holocaust: This needs to be used carefully but can make a useful way to draw together thinking about the Holocaust. The resource revolves around a real stag tour advert for an "Auschwitz Experience Weekend". The discussion could be taken in any direction but in the example here it has been used to address the issue of what is acceptable in remembering the Holocaust. The resource itself is HERE and an associated PowerPoint is HERE.