UK teachers attend J'lem Holocaust education course

The initiative follows report that some schools in the UK are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim students.

By JONNY PAUL
August 15, 2007 23:29
1 minute read.
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Teachers from across the UK are participating in a Holocaust education seminar organized by the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) and Yad Vashem. The 10-day intensive course began on Saturday night with 21 teachers from across the UK representing a variety of backgrounds and denominations, teaching a range of subjects - including history, English, languages, religious education, citizenship. They were chosen for the course from a large number of applicants based on applications they submitted describing their personal experiences of teaching the Holocaust and what they would get from attending such a course. The initiative serves as a vocal response to the trend, reported in a British newspaper in April, that some schools in the UK are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim students. The teachers will attend academic lectures given by some of Israel's leading Holocaust educators. Subjects include "The universal aspects of the Holocaust vis-à-vis other genocides"; "Nazi racial ideology" and "Jewish identity in a world of chaos." Ephraim Zuroff, from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, will talk about efforts to bring Nazi war criminals to justice, and, on Sunday, a Holocaust survivor will address the group. HET educators are also providing pedagogical workshops for the teachers, with a focus on teaching the Holocaust within the framework of the UK National Curriculum, and participants will have the opportunity to make use of the facilities at Yad Vashem. During their visit, the teachers will also visit historic sights such as Masada and the Dead Sea. "I am really proud that we can facilitate this for UK teachers. Yad Vashem is the leading organization and institute on Holocaust studies, and to bring them here is a real privilege and one that they are relishing," Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said. "The whole experience of learning about such a significant history event in history of the Jewish people, in Jerusalem and in Israel, is having the most profound impact on the participants. "These teachers are determined and motivated to take what they learn from the course to the classrooms in UK schools, and I have every faith that they will do a fantastic job." Established in 1988, one of HET's earliest achievements was to ensure that the Holocaust formed part of the National Curriculum for History in UK schools. Today, the institution continues to play a leading role in training teachers on how best to teach the Holocaust.

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