Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)

Program

Educational Leadership

Date of Award

5-2004

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Nancy Dishner

Committee Members

Stephen G Fritz, Russell F. West, Louise L. MacKay

Abstract

Teaching the Holocaust is a challenging task. Not only do educators have a responsibility to impart the historical information surrounding these events, but issues of humanity are also an important part of the lessons. As of 2001, Holocaust education has been mandated by at least 6 states in the United States. At least 11 others, including Tennessee, have task forces or commissions responsible for promoting Holocaust education and providing professional development opportunities and materials for teaching such units. It is conceivable that additional states will enact legislation requiring Holocaust studies.

The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore methods of teaching Holocaust education in a variety of subject areas to secondary students in grades 7 through 12, as implemented by recipients of Tennessee's Belz-Lipman Holocaust Educator of the Year Awards. These individuals have been recognized, through an application and committee selection process, as outstanding and successful teachers in this field. The researcher interviewed 17 of the 39 award recipients from across the State of Tennessee to determine commonalities in the resources, materials, and instructional methods used by the teachers. The participants included 4 males and 13 females, representing language arts (8) and social science (8) teachers from the middle school and high school levels. One participant taught a class in which students could obtain credit in both academic areas.

The findings of this study included the importance of teacher training in this area; participants spoke of regularly attending sessions offered by reputable Holocaust organizations. This study also found commonalities in resources and materials used, such as specific titles of poetry, literature, and movie selections. Additionally, instructional methods such as group discussions, writing assignments, student project activities, and assessment strategies were frequently discussed. The importance of personalizing Holocaust history was emphasized throughout the study. The results indicate that students and teachers benefited from these lessons.

While the findings of this study significantly contribute to the field of Holocaust education in Tennessee, the need for additional research is also addressed. To ensure successful, meaningful, pedagogically sound lessons, attention to this topic must be an on-going endeavor.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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