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The Holocaust and the Human Experience - 21st Century Learning

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

McCall Goughneour has been working at Nazareth Prep for three years and taught the Holocaust as a civic action unit for ninth grade learners in Cultural Literacy. Students read the book Night by Elie Wiesel and had semester-long discussions about human justice, how to remember the living and the dead and how not to become a bystander in society.

While the Holocaust can be an extremely difficult subject to teach, it creates bridges that link humans together through empathy and experiences. This past Summer, McCall was lucky enough to participate in a teaching program geared towards the Holocaust and the 21st Century using some great resources like Facing History and Ourselves (facinghistory.org). This website not only has first-hand experiences from survivors but readings, activities and a surplus of teaching material for educators.

The week consisted of various topics and speakers that included, but not limited to: analyzing Nazi propaganda and Hitler's first radio address and connecting it to 21st century media literacy, considering bystander awareness (when is it possible to say something? when is it too late to say anything?), American responses to the Holocaust (what did America know, how did they understand it and what did they do with it?), reflecting on what combination of information, knowledge and empathy lead to action, analyzing newspaper articles from Pittsburgh that documented events in Germany, Holocaust remembrance in Germany, Poland and Israel and first-hand accounts from survivors.

Hearing from Holocaust survivors, Gabriella and Bob pictured below, was McCall’s favorite part of the Summer Institute week--- “It’s hard to imagine that they’re not many survivors left. This is how we can keep history alive and remembrance alive; by telling their stories.”

McCall intends on bringing a lot of learning to her classroom thanks to this week long experience, especially her Creative Arts elective where students will be diving into a multitude of genres and exploring them through reading, writing, art and making.