Final Performance Report
Holocaust-Genocide Studies Reconsidered:
Workshop for Teachers (Grades 4-12) in Rural Western Washington State Schools
- Dr. Ray Wolpow, Associate Professor of Education
- Kristin Michaud, Graduate Assistant
- Natalie Johnson, Graduate Assistant
Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington
Do not quote, cite, or reproduce without the written permission of the author. Contact Ray Wolpow to arrange permission.
Table of Contents
- Participants and Contrast Group
- Data Collection Instruments
- Collection of Data (Measures)
- Quantitative Analysis
- Qualitative Analysis
- Continuation of Project
- Appendix A: Grant Documents
- Appendix B: Copies of Evaluation Instruments
Believing it is especially imperative that young people achieve a deeper understanding of the consequences of cultural ignorance, social intolerance, and violence motivated by bigotry, a group of teachers and school administrators (grades 6-12) from seven different public schools and one independent school in three rural counties received funding for NEH Humanities Focus Grant WCEAAH, Holocaust/Genocide Studies Reconsidered (Participants). Funds from this grant were used to provide stipends for project personnel, consultants and participants, and to pay the costs of books, supplies, services and travel (as described in the abstract of the grant application)
Workshops were designed to meet three broad practical and theoretical objectives: 1) Familiarize teachers with key issues in Holocaust and genocide studies and identify opportunities and methods for integrating Holocaust and genocide-related materials into the curriculum effectively and appropriately. 2) Identify sources available to enhance teacher effectiveness and to stimulate student learning and research. (Primary and secondary materials in various media: film, literature, history, music, painting, etc.). 3) Develop effective interdisciplinary approaches to teaching the Holocaust and genocide and seek ways to explore common features among and parallels between past and current episodes of genocide.
Priority was given to the following topics and issues: 1) the cases for and against drawing parallels between the Holocaust and other episodes of genocide; 2) the strengths and limitations of using fiction, non-fiction and artwork in the study of the Holocaust and genocide; 3) the lessons to be ascertained from Holocaust survivor testimonies and the interrelated problems of memory, representation, and testimony in the personal accounts of survivors; 4) the courage/reasoning of those who risked their lives to save the oppressed, the fate of non-Jews in the Holocaust; and the role of non-Nazi perpetrators. See Workplan Chart for specific topics, speakers, texts, and activities.
Survivor testimony, oral, video and text was carefully woven into the seventy-two hours of study. Participants heard testimony and engaged in dialogue with six survivors of the Holocaust. Two survived the death camps: Buchenwald and Auschwitz. Three were hidden children: Poland, France, and the Netherlands. One had escaped Germany just prior to the Kristallnacht but not before tragic loss of family. Three of the five are scholars: a professor of political science, a professor of French language and culture, and a professor of psychiatry. Of the three other survivors one is an award-winning public school teacher, the other a successful businessman who founded a Holocaust education resource center, and the third a social worker that helped bring war orphans to America at the end of World War II.
Participants also read extensively from testimonial literature. Special attention was given to Eli Weisel's Night, and the drawings and poems of the children of Terezin compiled by Hana Volavkova in her book I Never Saw Another Butterfly. All was in English with the exception of French testimonials read, interpreted, and discussed by the teachers of world language. In addition to the above, participants read or viewed the testimony of survivors who were Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, Roma and Sinti, and homosexuals.
Video testimony by surviving Tutsi women who were survivors of violent rape and witnesses to genocidal slaughter by the Hutu in Rwanda provided an additional context for testimonial study.
The Importance of Evaluation
An Educational Resources Information Database (E.R.I.C) search dating back to 1969 revealed only limited tangential empirical and anecdotal data on the efficacy of workshops on the topics of our 13 months of study. Given the significance of empowering secondary teachers to integrate Holocaust/genocide studies into their teaching of the humanities, this report will give priority to ongoing scholarly evaluation of the outcomes of our encounters with scholars, challenging readings, and facilitated discussions.
Participants of the NEH focus group included seventeen 6-12th grade educators from seven different schools in two rural counties in Northwestern Washington. Educators’ content areas included English (world and American literature and composition), social studies (history, economics, geography) foreign language (Spanish and French), and English/social studies block. At the time of the commencement of the workshops, none of the participants taught a semester-long class dedicated exclusively to Holocaust history or Holocaust literature. Nine taught lessons that included the Holocaust within established units. The other eight had not yet taught the topic and were interested in becoming knowledgeable enough to do so. For the purpose of evaluation, three of the seventeen participants did not meet the minimum requirement of 36 hours and therefore data from those participants is not included in this evaluation (n1=14). Of these, eleven were female and three were male.
A contrast group comprised of eleven educators teaching the same content specific courses as the NEH focus group participants was created for the purpose of evaluation (n2=11). Members of the contrast group demonstrated interest in participation in the occurrence of future workshops on Holocaust/ genocide studies. The members of the contrast group were drawn from the same pool of educational institutions as the NEH educators (treatment group). Seven members of the contrast group were female and four were male.
Three data collection instruments were utilized.
- Self- Efficacy Expectations Survey: A survey designed by Tellyohann et al. (1996) was modified to measure participant self-reported expectations for teaching efficacy in the areas of the goals and objectives delineated in our proposal. Teljohann’s instrument of measurement demonstrated acceptable construct validity and reliability in its measurement of the effects of in-service workshops on the self-efficacy of teaching health by teacher-participants. Like Telyohann’s instrument, our 15 survey items were given a five-point Likert-type format, ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree, with a 5 representing the highest score of self-efficacy. One question was reverse-scored for analysis purposes.
- Content Mastery Essay Questions: This instrument required respondents to respond to a series of 13 essay questions that required cognitive knowledge of key figures, concepts, events, and theories in Holocaust/genocide studies; ideas and procedures to integrate Holocaust/genocide studies into the curricula; and elucidate upon their perception of the importance of Holocaust/genocide studies to their own educational and personal lives as well as to the lives of their students.
- Reflective Assessment: This tool asked participants to review the purpose of a Humanities Focus Grant, as described on page 5 of the NEH application packet, review the goals and objectives of our Holocaust/Genocide Studies Workshops, described in the proposal, and then provide direct feedback to NEH personnel on the success of the seminar.
Data from the first two data collection instruments were analyzed quantitatively. Data from the second collection instrument was also analyzed qualitatively. Data from the third collection measure will not be published. However, further information can be requested by contacting the Director of the Northwest Center for Holocaust Education, Ray Wolpow.
First, we will describe the procedures and results from the quantitative analysis of the first two data collection instruments. Then we will describe the procedures and results from the qualitative analysis of the second instrument.
The Self- Efficacy Expectations Survey and the Content Mastery Essay Questions were administered to both the participant and contrast groups at the end of the seminar. Only the workshop participants completed the Reflective Assessment. Participants from both groups were allowed to complete the tasks either in class or at home and were given the option of using personally compiled notes from Holocaust or Genocide seminars as well as books or articles that were marked during their participation in a Holocaust or genocide related workshop. The participants were instructed not to use any materials from which they had to read for the first time. After completion of the requested assessment measures participants mailed, emailed, faxed, or hand-delivered their responses.
NEH focus group participants’ and the contrast groups’ answers to essay questions were scored according to a rubric adapted from the Ideas and Content section of the Six Trait Writing Analysis (Spandel, 1996), an assessment tool created by the Northwest Regional Laboratory. Answers to the essay questions were scored on a five point scale. Scores ranged from 0 to 5 and were graduated into units of .25. Scores of 0 were given only when there was no attempt to answer the essay question. Total scores ranged from 0 to 65.
The scoring process was conducted by the two graduate students both of whom had participated in graduate level courses that included instruction and utilization of this scoring method prior to the study. The scoring procedure was adapted from recommendations made by Jentzsch et al. (1991). To increase inter-rater reliability, the raters scored all of the essay responses independently. The following steps were utilized: (1) Raters became familiar with the criteria for the rubric. (2) Raters read the entire selection of writing samples to become familiar with the range of writing context. (3) Raters scored essay questions, referring to the rubric criteria frequently to ensure that the ratings remained constant throughout the scoring process. Upon completion of independent scoring, the raters’ scores were compared. The rating results showed scores that matched or stayed within a .5 range per essay question. When scores were not matched, researchers used the mean of the two individual numbers as the final score.
Total Scores for the Self- Efficacy Expectations Survey and the Content Mastery Essay Questions are presented in Tables 1 and 2, revealing that the majority of scores for the contrast group were lower than those of the treatment group on both measures.
|Table 1: Total Scores
for NEH Group Participants
|Table 2: Total Scores for Contrast Group Participants|
|Teacher ID #||Efficacy Scores||Content Scores||Teacher ID#||Efficacy Scores||Content Scores|
Individual scores for the contrast and participant groups were compared using the Mann-Whitney U Test. The Mann-Whitney U Test is a non-parametric statistical test that can be used to determine whether there are significant differences between two populations. Both tests indicated statistical significance, with a U value of 0 for the content mastery and a U value of 20 for the self-efficacy scores (critical U value=25). This finding indicates that the range and rank of scores was not due to chance.
Further, the Spearman Rank-Difference Method for calculating the correlation between two variables indicated a strong correlation between self-efficacy and content mastery scores across groups at .01 (Rs=.629). These findings suggest that a correlation exists between measures across groups.
The difference between groups on the self-reported efficacy measure is more clearly illustrated in Figure 1, where modal scores for each of the fifteen self-efficacy questions comparatively show the differences between groups. For most questions, the mode score was lower for the contrast group. This indicates that teachers who have not completed 36 or more hours of Holocaust or genocide related workshops self-report lower efficacy. The range of modal scores for the participant group was 4-5 and for the contrast group, the range was 2-5.
Figure 1: Modal Scores on Self-Efficacy Test for Questions 1 through 15
The data was further analyzed by a t test, in order to compare the values of the participant group against those of the contrast group. On all but two of the fifteen questions we found a significant difference.
Thus far, analysis indicates the NEH workshop participants have significantly higher scores in self-reported efficacy. They believe that they can do a good job of teaching students about key issues in Holocaust/genocide studies and their self-reported efficacy is closely correlated with their knowledge of the content.
The correlation between the self-efficacy and content mastery scores across groups holds profound implications for those who fund and/or provide study opportunities on Holocaust/genocide topics. The data suggests that educators like those in the contrast group, who for reasons similar to their peers teach or wish to teach about the Holocaust and genocide, may not be equipped with adequate knowledge and understanding of the subject without a comparable NEH study opportunity. This is reflected by both the correlation of their scores from the Spearman Rank-Difference Method and the overall lower scores indicated by the ranking Mann-Whitney U Test (U=0). The distinction between groups was quite clear, as the highest 14 content mastery scores were all from workshop participants. We hypothesize that the correlation between self-efficacy scores and content mastery scores found within both groups implies that the teacher’s improved confidence is grounded in real knowledge of Holocaust/ genocide studies.
The modal self-efficacy scores further suggest that educators in the NEH focus group believed more strongly that they could do a good job teaching Holocaust/genocide topics, knew the necessary step to teach Holocaust concepts effectively, and understood Holocaust/ genocide studies concepts well enough to be effective in teaching this subject to their students.
As mentioned earlier, all but two of the fifteen questions yielded significant difference (p = .05). One of the two questions was question 8 (p= .077), which read, “Given the opportunity, I believe that I could effectively work with a colleague to develop interdisciplinary approaches to teaching about the Holocaust and related genocide issues.” The other question was number 12 (p= .12), “I believe I can do a good job of teaching students about hate crimes (past and present.)” It is speculated that this is due to sampling error. It is possible that question 8 elicited high responses from both groups because it reflects an answer that is socially desirable. It is hypothesized that the wording of the question did not only address self-efficacy of the individual but also the ability of participants to work with colleagues. In the case of question 12, it is hypothesized that the difference between groups was less pronounced due to lower self-reporting by the NEH focus group participants. It is possible that their scores reflect the NEH focus groups’ recognition of present day opposition to controversial issues, such as homosexuality. We suspect that through discussion at the seminars, participants may have developed a reluctance to cover this sensitive topic because of potential risk for creating controversy amongst fellow colleagues, administrators and/ or parents.
The participant group demonstrated, through the authorship of a series of extensive essays, that they possess the cognitive, affective and methodological knowledge necessary to implement such instruction. The next step of this assessment process seeks to determine the specific content knowledge participants identified as most important to successful Holocaust/genocide curriculum construction and instruction.
To accomplish this end, three members of the evaluation team conducted an extensive qualitative analysis of the sets of thirteen essays written by the participants. The essays were open coded, categorized, diagrammed and axially coded. From these results assertions were generated.
A concise research question, condensed from the seminar learning objectives, was constructed to guide the analysis:
What key issues/concepts and corresponding methods/sources did participants identify for successful Holocaust/genocide instruction – grades 4-12?
Answers from all fourteen sets of thirteen essays were open coded and categorized. Open coding is "the process of breaking down, examining, comparing, conceptualizing and categorizing data" (Straus and Corbin, 1990, 61). Following the directions of Glesne and Peshkin (1992) we posted our research question, cut from copies of the essays those segments of the text that were germane and then pasted these cuttings onto 5”x 8” index cards (p 128-9). Reference numbers were written on each card. Many hours later we literally shuffled our formidable stacks of cards and then sorted them into piles of like concepts, issues, methods and sources.
Often we had difficulties differentiating between the attributes between two piles of cards. When this occurred we assigned category labels often using phraseology from one or more of the cards. Once the stack was labeled we listed properties/exemplars from that stack so as to further define its category. For example:
Outliving the Nightmare
- Difficulties encountered by survivors trying to tell their story.
- The role of the teller and listener
- The importance, for teller and listener, of remembering
In the end we constructed schematic diagrams of the concepts, issues, methods and sources in each stack of cards thereby summarizing the corpus of information within.
Strauss & Corbin (1990) define axial coding as "a set of procedures whereby data are put back together in new ways after open coding, by making connections between categories (p.96).” Prior to generating assertions, we juxtaposed schematic diagrams of each of our categories to determine interrelationships and relationships between each category. Having thus “put back together” the essential content of the essays as a whole we utilized the "leap to narration" method (Ericson 1986, 151) to construct the following assertions.
The key issues/concepts and corresponding methods/sources the participants identified for successful Holocaust/genocide instruction – grades 4-12
Assertion One: Students must learn the scope of the Nazi plan for murder. They must also develop personal connections with the real people that each of the documented names, numbers and groups represent. Furthermore, students must understand the roles assumed by those who persecuted as well as those who suffered. Student understanding of how each individual was selected for persecution, and of how others choose to either become resisters, persecutors or bystanders, has implications for students’ current day roles with their fellows.
Assertion Two: From studying the history and literature of Holocaust and other genocide from text, survivors, and/or video, students must learn of humanity in the darkest of times, of the banality of goodness as well as the banality of evil. They must learn that the consequences of these times live in the hearts and souls of survivors and their families for the rest of their lives.
Assertion Three: An understanding of the mutual process of remembrance, of the role of the teller as well as listener, has the potential to add depth to student comprehension of literature, history and language. In so doing students may learn that remembering the stories and history of this time provides context for the angst, courage and joy they experience in their own lives.
Assertion Four: Students must learn the role of the media as a primary tool for perpetuation and reinforcement of the apathy and hatred needed for complicity with atrocity. Such understanding has implications for young people as citizens in a media-centric society like our own.
Time and space do not allow a careful weaving of quotations into a narrative that would properly elaborate on the assertions. However, participant quotations are provided below to ground each of the assertions in the words of the participants. Quotes are attributed to individuals by noting the writer’s ID# as well the page number of the essay from which the quotation was drawn. (For example: 1:4 is teacher ID# one, fourth page of submitted essays).
Students must learn the scope of the Nazi plan for murder. They must also develop personal connections with the real people that each of the documented names, numbers and groups represent. Furthermore, students must understand the roles assumed by those who persecuted as well as those who suffered. Student understanding of how each individual was selected for persecution, and of how others choose to either become resisters, persecutors or bystanders, has implications for students’ current day roles with their fellows.
“Incorporating art, music, literature and film allows students to better see the people that played a part in this event as more than just numbers and names. It gives a face and a personality to the victim, the perpetrator, the rescuer, resister, survivor or bystander. Helping students see the human side of each of these people will also bring home the reality that this event happened in the 20th century…” (3:14).
“The topic [of the Holocaust] raises questions that transcend any particular discipline…The key to maximizing student learning is to integrate the information/history with the moral questions of the nature of humans and evil. If teachers can balance these two with a connection to contemporary life and personal application, then a difference can be made for young people…” (5:19).
“[Students must be helped to]… understand that a genocide is an attempt to eradicate an entire race of people…to lay to waste a larger whole…A religion, a cultural heritage, a historical past was sent up in flames and these people [who speak to our classes] are the survivors of that experience” (4:4)
“It is important…for students to realize the ease with which humans persecute other humans, because it provides historical context for the outbreak of laws revoking Jews’ civil rights. Armed with historical context, students can study the wave of the anti-Semitism and how it reached a fevered peak” (2:5).
“If one sees perpetrators as monsters capable of extraordinary evil, the student exempts himself and his community/society/nation from such capability. The essence of understanding the banality of evil is to recognize the possibility of your/your society potentially victimizing others” ( 5:17).
“Many Jews ‘survived’ the Holocaust without ever stepping foot in a camp…as Henry Friedman so effectively demonstrated, anyone who spent time without food, medical services, camped in darkness, engulfed in mental anguish and guilt, anyone who lasted under awful circumstances is a true survivor” (7:5).
“A more complete definition of survivor must include those who have intimate relationships with the actual survivor. In this sense, those who lives with survivors are potential victims of the atrocity, even though they did not live through the experiences themselves” (11:5).
“Students need to understand that Jews were not the only victims/targets of the Holocaust. This point is essential to the study of the issue because people tend to distance themselves from any group targeted for discrimination/persecution by saying to themselves ‘that could happen to me because I am not a _______.’ When students begin to see that the Nazis targeted Jews as well as other religious and racial minorities, marginalized groups such as disabled people, gypsies, Roma and homosexuals, and that the only proof the SS needed to send a person to their death was the suspicion or appearance that one belonged to a targeted group, we begin to understand that anyone could be targeted, any one of us” (10:6).
“The Rwanda incidents seemed intensely personal and individualistic in nature—rapes and mutilations that seemed to offer the same sadistic pleasure that police battalions and Einsatzgruppen and the Nazi guards derived from their horrific actions” (6:12).
“’The duty of Christians is to use the weapons of the Spirit to oppose the violence that they will try to put on our consciences…Loving, forgiving and doing good to our adversaries is our duty.’ This excerpt sums up who Trocme was. For him there was simply no choice, a reoccurring theme throughout this seminar, but to act to oppose violence” (7:3).
“While it is clearly not OK to call someone “nigger” in class, the word “fag” is used daily in high school classrooms and hallways and too many students (and some faculty) remain guilty bystanders” (10:6).
“Society’s most marginalized, most vulnerable became victims of the Third Reich. It is significant in our day and age to recognize that marginalized groups still exist and are treated unjustly. One of these groups is the homosexual. Certainly a holocaust is not happening, yet marginalizing is occurring” (5:9).
From studying the history and literature of Holocaust and other genocide from text, survivors, and/or video, students must learn of humanity in the darkest of times, of the banality of goodness as well as the banality of evil. They must learn that the consequences of these times live in the hearts and souls of survivors and their families for the rest of their lives.
“His story (Wiesel’s) is so human in that he struggles with issues of self-doubt, the inability to forgive and forget, the stark images of horror which have remained forever locked in his mind, and the ignobility that can fall on a person when sheer survival is always chewing at the elbow. Wiesel’s account of his time in the camps is so direct, so poignant and so faithful to the human impulse to survive [that students]…as readers can understand the underlying impulses” (4:2)
“Seeing the footage of Rwandan women facing their rapists in the courtroom and seeing the ovens in Auschwitz helped me see how people could live with evil as part of their everyday lives” (2:12)
“Teaching students not to hate is a very important part of Holocaust/genocide curriculum…Bonhoeffer’s ideas of the perpetrator, victim, bystander, and righteous Gentile provides students with a better grasp of the different roles people took as the Jews were made to obey the laws of Hitler” (8:1).
“Studying Bonhoeffer allows for discussion of resistance and of Christian involvement, two issues most high-schoolers do not think about when they are introduced to the Holocaust. His writing brings up a disturbing but interesting point---There were not innocent bystanders. This opens a door to serious debate and learning” (7:2)
“Dante placed sloth on a level in his Inferno; turning away from a moral responsibility would find you a fiery seat in the after life. Bonhoeffer’s differentiation between ‘cheap grace’ and ‘costly grace’ clearly help to define what we should expect of ourselves” (4:1).
“Bonhoeffer insisted on keeping the State out of the Church….In the U.S. we often talk about the separation of [the two]….not only does that involve keeping religion out of State-run organizations, but also to keep the State out of religious organizations” (2:1).
“Trocme’s courage is a wonderful springboard to discussions on rescue and resistance, and more specifically to the concept of the banality of evil. I have already begun discussing these ideas with my students and am both disturbed and delighted with the conversations we have had” (7.3).
“After viewing horrific scenes from “Condemned to Live” I was emotionally numb…I didn’t know how to react. Those women were so removed from my world, or I from theirs…. This is the tip of the banality of evil iceberg. When we are so far removed from the evil it is much easier not to be moved by it” (7:7).
“It is essential for students to bestow gratitude on the good during this atrocity rather than focusing solely on the evil which can be a glorification of those which most would categorize as heartless” (12:11).
“The resisters offer an alternative to the ‘heart of darkness;’ perhaps by studying them I can begin to understand how goodness and strength of character can be harnessed in my daily moral challenges and struggles…and help my students see similar possibilities” (6:2)
“Dr. Krell made me acutely aware of the fact that those who survived the Holocaust were not done in 1945. As the title of Tim O’Brien’s The Things That They Carried suggests about the Vietnam veteran, the psychological and spiritual damage of the Holocaust goes on for the survivor…” (5:10).
“There is no peace [for Holocaust survivors], only a quest to discover a means to outlive the nightmare. Even their children have become victims once removed” (14:3).
An understanding of the mutual process of remembrance, of the role of the teller as well as listener, has the potential to add depth to student comprehension of literature, history and language. In so doing students may learn that remembering the stories and history of this time provides context for the angst, courage and joy they experience in their own lives.
“I have seen…how examining art and poetry from victims really reaches kids and sparks amazing discussion and reflection, often with little or no prompting at all…” (3:4).
“The listener also becomes more complete by listening. At some point the listener must ask the questions: ‘How could this happen? Could it happen again? What role must I play as an agent to stop future atrocities?’” ( 5:6).
“We help to heal by being engaged in what was experienced, by being a possibly silent, but definitely involved listener. Not only does this active witnessing provide a vessel for the story, but also we, as the audience, take on the responsibility of knowing and sharing this information. In doing this, we counteract the softening rub of time and the spiteful reinterpretation of history by some neo-historians” (4:3).
“To listen to testimony is to make complete. It is important to impress to students the fact that remembering is a mutual experience- a two way street….Learning from someone’s story enables both [teller and listener] to know they have helped to halt the spread of future victimization” (5:9).
[Students need to understand] “…1) that what survivors have to tell us is hard for them, but that in telling their stories, the healing process continues; 2) that it is more important to listen than it is to know the answers; 3) that sometimes, a survivor might react to a question by snapping out a harsh remark or blankly staring, and that this is often a protective strategy on his/her part – sometimes the answer to that question is too dark or disturbing for our students; and 4) that guest speakers appreciate gratitude, personal thanks, handshakes, etc.” (7:2).
“Just last week, …a liberator of Buchenwald visited my students….I emphasized the honor we must feel that he was coming to our classroom. I also emphasized sensitivity and respect- in the questions we ask and in our body language while he speaks” (6:3).
“Reading excerpts from Wiesel’s Night gives students an attachment, an affective link that is missing from their daily academic work…. Students can identify with Weisel’s struggle with his faith; they are questioning creatures that battle their own doubts on a day-to-day basis. Clearly, Wiesel’s experience is different from teenage angst, but it can be a powerful springboard for studying the Holocaust in depth.”(7: 3).
“After listening to the survivor’s testimony students engaged in a question and answer period. One student asked, ‘Do you hate the Nazis for what they did to you and your family?’ The survivor responded, ‘I don’t hate, because I was a prisoner before and I don’t want to be a prisoner again. If I hate someone I am a prisoner of my own hate.’ After the speaker returned home, students were asked to create thank you notes. The cover to the note was to contain the students’ perception of the theme of the story they had heard. Getting students to state the theme enables them to look beyond what words were said to what those words mean. One wrote: ‘When you hate someone you are a prisoner inside of yourself’” (9:13).
Students must learn the role of the media as a primary tool for perpetuation and reinforcement of the apathy and hatred needed for complicity with atrocity. Such understanding has implications for young people as citizens in a media-centric society like our own.
“In films like “Golem,” “Jud Suess,” and “Triumph of the Will” the viewer sees the Jew presented so falsely, in such a blatant use of propaganda that one can hardly believe what they see. In “Triumph of the Will” Jews are described as dirty, rotten, untrustworthy creatures. Images of rats crawling out of the sewer flood the screen. This is an important lesson for students, because it illustrates how powerful propaganda truly can be” (3:3).
“These images, when combined with print media such as Der Sturmer reinforced and perpetuated anti-semitic images and paved the roads to the death camps” (5:14).
“Film is not a neutral act. Pictures are neutral. Pictures and text are not neutral. Caricatures are NEVER neutral. It is a manipulation of the viewer. The thing about this particular time and subject is that the viewers didn’t see the manipulation” (9:14).
“It is important for students to spot this type of dehumanization [as seen in film and other media] so that they do not fall sway to it in their own lifetimes. This build up is gradual, but it is insidious. People are dehumanized, categorized and insinuation becomes fact…It is important for students to realize…there is a marked progression of building enmity towards outside groups and one of the most effective ways of doing this is through the media...be it newspapers, magazines, or the film industry ” (4:6).
“…students must learn to identify propaganda tricks, which are used to cloud their vision, play up to their prejudices, and offer paths to hatred. If they are aware of these tricks, they will not fall victim to them” (14:3)
“It’s important to point out…that the movies [students] watch do exactly the same thing: Blacks, Asians, Mexicans, etc. fill certain Hollywood ‘niches,’ which are, at times, deadly in their prejudiced view” (6:6).
“We discuss the history of anti-Semitism from ancient Roman times, through the Middle Ages, [and] up to the Russian pogroms of the late 17th century… [However, it is] the portrayal of Jews in film cements the reality of Anti-Semitism in Germany (and Europe) prior to the Holocaust” (7:6).
“In witnessing such films as “Night and Fog”, “The Liberation of Auschwitz”, and “Condemned to Live” human voice and individual plight are reasserted. In an era where we are at times plagued by a glut of information, these films remind us of the sanctity of the human soul and our needed commitment to our neighbor” (4:7).
Careful review of the quantitative and qualitative data provided above, as well as the reflective essays provided below, speaks loudly for the value of this NEH Focus Group Project. As mentioned earlier, the significant correlation between self-efficacy scores and content mastery scores found within the participant group implies that the teacher’s improved confidence is grounded in real knowledge of Holocaust/ genocide studies. Their responses to essay questions provided on pages 10-15 ground the assertions of their intellectual, affective, and pedagogical understanding gained from their work over the last thirteen months.
Conversely, the lack of correlation between the contrast group’s self-efficacy and content mastery scores holds profound implications for those who fund and/or provide study opportunities on Holocaust/genocide topics. The data suggests that educators like those in the contrast group, who for reasons similar to their peers teach or wish to teach about the Holocaust and genocide, may not be equipped with adequate knowledge and understanding of the subject.
Hence, the NEH may look for two parallel courses of action. 1) The results of this project will be disseminated in the form of publications in professional journals and in the works of students who have studied with participant teachers (see Grant Products). 2) The NEH personnel should expect to see a future application to renew this project with new personnel, like those who comprised the contrast group.
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Western Washington University, and a consortium of teachers and school administrators from nearly a dozen school districts in three rural counties, request consideration of a Humanities Focus Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support a series of Holocaust-Genocide Studies workshops to facilitate learning in rural Washington State schools. Funds from this grant will be used to provide stipends for project personnel, consultants and participants, and to cover the costs for books, supplies, services and travel.
The Northwest corner of Washington State is an area undergoing significant demographic and economic changes. Incidents of backlash, growing intolerance and prejudice are occurring locally and appear to be increasing in frequency. In the last two years alone, hate groups burned crosses in front of migrant housing in Whatcom County as well as in front of the home of a bi-racial couple in Skagit County. The organizer of a Holocaust memoriam received several threatening telephone calls and had two trashcans full of broken glass dumped in his driveway. A lesbian student at the Western Washington University was the object of a stone throwing assault. Neo-Nazi literature was mailed to nearly every graduating high school senior in Bellingham. These incidents provide evidence of the intrusion of racist organizations and other hate groups into our area.
Believing that it was especially imperative that young people achieve a deeper understanding of the consequences of cultural ignorance, social intolerance, and violence motivated by bigotry, a group of public and private school teachers approached local university faculty requesting opportunities to immerse themselves in the study of relevant scholarly issues. They are especially interested in an intellectual study of the history of the use and misuse of power, the role of individuals and groups in confronting inhumanity, and tolerance of ethnic and cultural diversity.
In light of the above, educators expressed the belief that teaching and learning about the Holocaust and other episodes of genocide may be of particular value for their students. While larger population centers like Vancouver, Canada and Seattle, Washington do have resource centers that address many of these issues, the isolated nature of rural Northwest Washington present special challenges to educators. The purpose of the proposed workshop, therefore, is to provide teachers with improved knowledge as well as access to interdisciplinary strategies for presenting Holocaust and genocide-related topics to an increasingly diverse constituency in their humanities, world language, English, and social studies classes.
If the project is funded, a series of workshops will be scheduled over a 13-month period, beginning in October 1999 and ending in November 2000. There will be a total of 10 workshops taught by seven university-level scholars and two Holocaust survivors. These sessions will take place in seminar format. Participants will be responsible for recording their experiences in written journals and will produce reports and reaction papers throughout the workshop. The immediate result will be more effective integration of Holocaust– and genocide-related materials and issues into the curriculum. We hope the long-term result will be knowledgeable teachers who can help their students to better understand human social behavior and that the workshops will serve as a model for confronting the potential for increased bigotry in rural Northwest Washington State.
Goals and Objectives: To achieve this purpose, public and private school teachers of the humanities, world languages, English and social studies from nearly a dozen school districts in three rural counties Northwest Washington State, working in concert with a university scholar, have organized a program designed to meet the following practical and theoretical objectives:
- Familiarize teachers with key issues in Holocaust and genocide studies and identify opportunities and methods for integrating Holocaust and genocide-related materials into curriculum effectively and appropriately.
- Identify sources available to enhance teacher effectiveness and to stimulate student learning and research. These sources will include primary and secondary materials in various media: film, literature, history, music, painting, etc.
- Develop effective interdisciplinary approaches to teaching the Holocaust and genocide and seek ways to explore common features among and parallels between past and current episodes of genocide.
Central Issues: The purpose of this workshop is to provide teachers with approaches to integrating Holocaust and genocide-related topics into the curriculum, thus involving their students more effectively in related issues through the study of the humanities. The staff and participants will work with scholars to become content knowledgeable while considering the interdisciplinary approaches and resources needed to present these issues to students in a changing rural setting. To achieve this purpose, our project staff will address a variety of issues in Holocaust and genocide studies:
- the cases for and against drawing parallels between the Holocaust and other episodes of genocide;
- the strengths and limitations of using fiction, non-fiction and artwork in the study of the Holocaust and genocide;
- the lessons to be ascertained from Holocaust survivor testimony in the personal accounts of survivors;
- the courage/reasoning of those who risked their lives to save the oppressed, the fate of non-Jews in the Holocaust; and the role of non-Nazi perpetrators.
Date, Place and Leader of Session
Focus of the Session
Texts, Handouts, and Video
Format and Activities
Session 1: October 1999
(1) Orientation to the project
(1) Atlas of the Holocaust by Martin Gilbert (excerpts)
(1) Questions and Discussions on Nature of the Project.
Session 2: November 1999
(1) Christian Opposition to Fascist policies of the 1930's
Various excerpts from the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
(1) Group Discussion.
Session 3: February 2000
(1) Film and the Holocaust .
(1) History of the Holocaust, by Michael Marrus
(1) Lecture and Video Presentation, Discussion.
Session 4: April 2000
(1) The Holocaust and Children’s Literature
(1) The Sunflower, Simon Wiesenthal
Session 5: June 2000
(1) Survivor Testimony
(1) Film- The Courage to Care
(1) Orientation to the Washington State Holocaust Center in Seattle.
Session 6: June 2000
(1) France and the Holocaust.
(1) Handouts from Contemporary French Civilization.
(1) Lecture and Film Presentation.
Session 7: June 2000
(1) The French Church and the Jews During the Holocaust: Perspective of a Child Survivor.
(1) Various Handouts by the presentors.
(1) Orientation to the Holocaust Museum and Resource Center in Vancouver, BC.
Session 8: June 2000
(1) Non-Jewish Victims
(1) The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War Against Homosexuals, Richard Plant.
Session 9: September 2000
(1) Linkage of the Holocaust to Current Events.
(1) Holocaust Denial, by Kenneth Stern.
Session 10: November 2000
(1) Synthesis of Workshop Value for Teaching Methodology, Interdisciplinary Approaches to this Topic, and Curriculum Development and Integration.
(1) I Never Saw Another Butterfly, Schocken.
(1) Group Discussions
Sessions were facilitated by the co-directors of the workshop, Dr. Ray Wolpow and Susan Redd, who will attend all the sessions, and by visiting scholars responsible for the topics and issues under examination. Scholars and speakers included:
|Dr. Ray Wolpow
|Associate Professor of Secondary Education, Director NWCHE, Western Washington University|
|Ms. Susan Redd (co-director)||Teacher of World Languages , Mount Vernon High School|
|Mrs. Noemi Ban||
Survivor of the Holocaust, Winner of the Washington State Golden Apple Award for Teaching About the Holocaust
|Dr. Manfred Vernon||
Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Western Washington University and Survivor of the Holocaust
|Dr. Walter Seuss||Professor of Classic and World Languages, Western Washington University|
|Rabbi Y. Liebowitz||
Pulpit Rabbi for Beth Isreal Synagogue, author of scholarly articles on teaching the Holocaust
|Mr. Henry Friedman||
Survivor of the Holocaust, President of the Washington State Holocaust Resource Center
|Dr. Hubert G. Locke||
John and Marguerite Corbally Professor of Public Service, (Cancelled) University of Washington Graduate School of Public Affairs
|Dr. Patrick Henry||Professor of French Studies, Whitman College|
|Dr. Robert Krell||
Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychiatry, The University of British Columbia and Survivor of the Holocaust.
|Dr. Rene Goldman||Professor of Chinese History, University of British Columbia|
|(The following staff were added)|
|Toby Sonneman||Author of Shared Sorrow: A Gypsy Family Remembers the Holocaust|
Research Director for the Northwest Coalition for Human Dignity and co-author of Soundtracks to the White Revolutions: White Supremacist Assaults on Youth Music Subcultures
|Dr. Kenneth Fox||Clinical Psychologist, specialty in treatment of adolescent trauma|
|Susan Aarstad||Allen Elementary School||6-7th SS/Eng block||56 hours|
|Jennifer Caldwell||Explorations High School||9-12, Spanish||72 hours|
|Alisa Sachs||Bellingham Middle School||7-8 SS/Eng block||72 hours|
|Jane Clark||Anacortes High School||9-12 English||36 hours|
|David Dickson||Squalicum High School||9-12 History||64 hours|
|Brian Hanrahan||Mount Vernon H.S.||9-12 English||72 hours|
|Treva King||Anacortes H.S.||9-12 English||72 hours|
|Linda Larabee||Allen Elementary School||Principal||52 hours|
|Diane Leigh||Mount Baker Elementary||6th grade||72 hours|
|Mitzi Moore||Ferndale High School||9-12 English||72 hours|
|David Shockley||Bellingham High School||9-12 History||72 hours|
|Becky Stockmar||Ferndale High School||9-12 History||72 hours|
|Alexander Tokar||Explorations High School||9-12 English||56 hours|
|Susan Weingarten||Arlington High School||9-12 French||68 hours|
|Deborah Wright||Mount Baker High School||9-12 English||20 hours|
|Jim Burwell||Anacortes High School||9-12 English||32 hours|
|Richard Glick||Allen Elementary School||6-7 SS/Eng block||28 hours|
Directions: read each statement carefully. Respond by circling the number that best represents our response to the question.
- I believe I can do a good ob of teaching students about key issues in Holocaust and genocide studies.
Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 Agree
- I believe I can do a good job teaching my students how to listen to a presentation by a survivor of the Holocaust.
Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 Agree
- I believe I can identify sources available to stimulate student learning and research about the Holocaust and related genocide studies.
Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 Agree
- I believe I can identify appropriate primary and secondary materials in various media (film, literature, history, music, painting) to do a good job of teaching my students about the Holocaust and related genocide issues.
Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 Agree
- I believe I can do a good job of identifying opportunities and methods for integrating holocaust and genocide-related materials and curriculum.
Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 Agree
- I believe I can do a good job teaching my students about rescuers of the oppressed during the Holocaust.
Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 Agree
- I believe I am able to stimulate students enough on Holocaust/ genocide topics so they will ask thoughtful questions.
Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 Agree
- Given the opportunity, I believe that I could effectively work with a colleague from another discipline in the humanities to develop interdisciplinary approaches to teaching about the Holocaust and related genocide issues.
Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 Agree
- I understand Holocaust and genocide related issues well enough to effectively teach this subject to my students.
Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 Agree
- I know the steps necessary to teach holocaust literature, or history or related artwork effectively.
Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 Agree
- I believe I can do a good job of teaching students common features among and/ or parallels between past and current episodes of genocide.
Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 Agree
- I believe I can do a good job of teaching students about hate crimes (past and present).
Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 Agree
- I believe I understand how problems may emerge when teaching my students about the Holocaust and genocide issues.
Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 Agree
- I believe I can evaluate changes in my students’ knowledge of Holocaust and related genocide issues.
Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 Agree
- Even if I try hard, I will not teach about Holocaust/ genocide issues as well as I teach most other subjects.
Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 Agree
Please respond to the following 13 questions in essay form. Please write your answers on separate pages and attach them to the rear of the question sheet.
You may use and notes that you personally have compiled while attending seminars on the topic of the holocaust and Genocide studies. However, you are asked not to use any reference texts. You may use books or articles that you have marked while participating in Holocaust Studies workshops, however, please do not use any materials from which you must read for the first time.
- Who was Dietrich Bonhoeffer? Explain at least one way in which study of his story and writings contribute to Holocaust/ genocide studies.
- Who is Elie Wiesel? Explain at least one way in which study of his story and writings contribute to Holocaust/ genocide studies.
- Who was Andre Trocme? Explain at least one way in which study of his story and writings contribute to Holocaust/ genocide studies.
- How might you best prepare your students to hear the testimony of a survivor of the Holocaust or other genocidal event?
- Survivors of the death camps are often considered to be “the survivors” of the Holocaust. Write an expanded definition or defend this “narrow” definition of “survivors”.
- What do you think students need to know about the fate of each of the Roma, Senti, and Jehovah’s Witnesses during the Holocaust? Explain why.
- Is it important to learn/ teach about the treatment of Homosexuals droning the Holocaust? Why or why not?
- Explain why mental health providers argue that for survivors, the Holocaust began in 1945.
- Briefly contrast the differing perspectives of Jews and Christians on forgiveness.
- Describe the progression of the portrayal of Jews in German film prior to the Holocaust. Why is this an important concept for students in your classes to understand?
- Define and give example of resistance and rescue as they pertain to the Holocaust and other genocide. Why is this important to include in a unit on Holocaust/ genocide studies?
- Describe how documentary video form the Holocaust and other genocidal incidents (e.g. Night and Fog, Liberation of Auschwitz, Rwanda Video-Witness: Condemned to Live) influence your understanding of the banality of evil.
- given the opportunity to co-teach a unit on holocaust/ genocide studies with a colleague from another discipline from the humanities, how might you integrate the content of such a unit?
(Adapted from Ideas and Content-6 Trait Analysis, Assessment and Accountability Program, Northwest Regional Laboratory, 1996)
Instructions: Answers to the thirteen questions are to be scored on a scale of 1-5 as per rubric provided. Scores may be graduated into .25 units as needed, e.g. 4.25. See attached notes for specific guidelines for questions.
5 The answer contains accurate information in a clear and focused manner. Relevant anecdotes and details enrich the central theme.
A. The answer is narrow and manageable.
B. Relevant, telling quality details give the reader important information that goes beyond the obvious or predictable.
C. Reasonably accurate details are present to support the main ideas.
D. The writer seems to be writing from knowledge or experience; the ideas are fresh and original.
E. The reader’s questions are anticipated and answered.
F. Insight- an understanding of life and a knack for picking out what is significant—is an indicator of higher level
performance, though not required.
3 The writer is beginning to define the topic, even though development is still basic or general.
A. The answer is fairly broad; however you can see where the writer is headed.
B. Support is attempted, but doesn’t go far enough yet in fleshing out the key issues or story line.
C. Ideas are reasonably clear, though they may not be detailed, personalized, and accurate or expanded enough to show
in-depth understanding or a strong sense of purpose.
D. The writer seems to be drawing on knowledge or experience, but has difficulty going form general observations to
E. The reader is left with questions. More information is needed to “fill in the blanks”.
F. The writer generally stays on topic but dos not develop a clear theme. The writer has not yet focused the topic past the
1 As yet, the paper has no clear sense of purpose or central theme. To extract meaning from the text, the reader must make inferences based on sketchy or missing details. The writing reflects more than one of these problems.
A. The writer is still in search of an answer, brainstorming, or has not yet decided what the main idea of the piece will be.
B. Information is limited or unclear or the length is not adequate for development.
C. The idea is a simple restatement of the topic or an answer to the question with little attention to detail.
D. The write has not yet begun to define the answer in a meaningful, personal way.
E. Everything seems as important as everything else; the reader has a hard time sifting out what is important.
F. The text may be repetitious, or may read like a collection of disconnected, random thoughts with no discernable point.
Overall Procedural and Content Scoring Suggestions
- These guidelines are provided to the scorers so that they may evaluate the accuracy of answers based upon the goals and objectives of this NEH Focus Group Workshop .
- Scorers are asked to please document exemplars of parts of essays that explicitly meet guidelines for each level of scoring.
With regards to questions 1, 2, and 3:
- Bonhoeffer, Wiesel, and Trocme should be identified within historical and ethical contexts. This information should be factually accurate.
- The significance of the life story and/ or the author’s writings should be explained within one of two contexts: a. influence of these actions/ writings upon others at the time; b. influence of these actions/ writings on others since that time.
- Conceptual relevance for these understandings, either for learning of teaching about Holocaust and Genocide issues should be addressed.
With regards to questions 4 and 13:
- Both of these questions call upon the writer to reflect upon what they have learned when considering integration of curriculum and instruction. Hence, rubric item “C” accurate supporting details and the first part of item “D”, writing from knowledge or experience, need to be given significant, but not overbearing weight. Details supporting curricula and instruction should be factually accurate.
With regards to questions 5, 8, and 9:
- The fate of the Roma, Senti, and Jehovah’s Witnesses between 1933-1945 should be discussed within historical and ethical contexts. This information should be factually accurate. Reasonable and specific arguments should be presented as to why teachers and students need to understand this information.
- The topic of the fate of homosexuals during the Holocaust is controversial. Holocaust historians and educators are currently arguing whether or not homosexuals were “victims” of the Holocaust. Therefore, question 7 was asked differently than questions 6 and 11. A variety of answers are acceptable providing each is relevant, telling, accurate, and based in knowledge or experience.
- Examples of resistance and rescue need to be grounded historically in the period of the Holocaust or other genocidal episodes. This information should be factually accurate. Reasonable and specific arguments should be presented as to why teachers and students need to understand this information.
With regards to questions 10 and 12:
- Although both of these questions require the writer to address the use of film to promote an understanding of Holocaust and Genocide, they ask for different answers. Question 10 asks the writer to explain how the Nazis progressively used film images as propaganda to portray Jews and other “undesirables.” Question 12 asks for the writer to reflect upon the concept of “the banality of evil” as it is reflected in documentary footage of Genocide. Perspectives, and thus answers will vary. These answers should be read like the others, with higher scores going to those answers that are relevant, telling, accurate, and based in knowledge or experience.
Please read the following goals of the national Endowment for the Humanities for Focus Group Seminars. Please also read the goals for our Focus Group. Then please reflect upon the success of this seminar as a whole, as well s your success as an individual. Write your answers on separate sheets of paper. Attach these papers to the back of this page.
“A Humanities Focus Grant enables a group of teachers, faculty members, or other educators, normally from a school or college, to work together to explore an important humanities topic and to consider plans of action for their institutions…. Humanities Focus Grants can provide support for groups of eight to twenty teachers and administrators to meet regularly with outside scholars to pursue a planned schedule of intellectually challenging reading and discussion and to explore ways to integrate what they have learned into their teaching of the humanities, including history/ social studies, English/ language arts, and foreign languages.” (National Endowment for the Humanities Education development and Demonstration Application Packet, page 5)
Goals and Objectives
To achieve this purpose, pubic and private school teachers of the humanities, world languages, English, and social studies from nearly a dozen school districts in three rural counties in Northwest Washington State, working in concert with a university scholar have organized a program designed to meet the following practical and theoretical objectives:
- Familiarize teachers with key issues in Holocaust and genocide studies and identify opportunities and methods for integrating Holocaust and genocide-related materials into the curriculum effectively and appropriately.
- Identify sources available to enhance teacher effectiveness and to stimulate student leaning and research. These sources will include primary and secondary material in various media; film, literature, history, music, painting, etc.
- Develop effective interdisciplinary approaches to teaching the Holocaust and genocide and seek ways to explore common features among and parallels between past and current episodes of genocide.
(From NEH Focus grant: Holocaust/ Genocide Studies Reconsidered)