“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” How many of us have heard this quote or a variation of it? Sayings like these are repeated so often nowadays that they have lost meaning. People will complain, “I don’t need you to lecture me, I already know all this,” “The past is the past, leave it behind where it belongs,” or a blatant dismissal from those who are so cemented in the now, that they refuse to see the truth right in front of them.
Topics: Student Voices, Choosing to Participate, Armenian Genocide, Students, Facing History and Ourselves, Holocaust Education, Rwanda, Student Work, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, Equity in Education, Facing Canada
A collaboration between Facing History and Ourselves and the Azrieli Foundation's Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program, first posted on Azrieli Memoirs' Blog page.
Words referencing mass atrocities of the past, such as fascist, racist, Nazi, genocide and Holocaust, carry deep historical meaning, yet these words are often misused in reference to contemporary events. Using these words too casually not only diminishes the meaning of the words themselves, but also diminishes the events that the words represent. In this blog post, we look to remember the meaning of the term genocide and the conditions that drove a lawyer named Raphael Lemkin to coin this term to describe a horrific crime — a crime that prior to 1944 lacked a name and legal repercussions.
We work with so many amazing educators who give their students exceptional learning experiences. For this blog, we sat down with history teacher and 2017 Governor General's Award for Excellence in Teaching History Award winner Rob Flosman to find out what he has learned about engaging students and communities in learning history through building a classroom museum, the Waterdown Museum of History.
Topics: Innovative Classrooms, Museum Studies, Holocaust Education, Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grants, Canadian History, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, classroom lesson, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, CHG
The students in my Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity course gained new and meaningful perspectives on what life was like for those targeted for extermination by the Nazi regime by creating a unique and innovative art exhibition that explored the lives of young victims of the Holocaust.
As an educator I often wonder what students remember once they have left my classroom. It is my hope that when they leave they take with them critical thinking skills, the ability to engage in difficult conversations, and a deeper understanding of how we are all connected - in the past, present, and future. Through all of my various attempts to learn from my students what they are getting out of their Facing History and Ourselves class, I have found that the best way to find out what students are learning is to ask them.
Each year, at the end of our grade 11 elective Facing History and Ourselves course, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, we take the time to reflect on our learning and ourselves. This year a group of students from my classroom chose to participate in a reflective interview process in lieu of their final journal entry assignment, and agreed to share their reflections.
Below, as inspired by the popular blog Humans of New York and the Facing History project, Humans of the Woodlands, you'll have the chance to glimpse into the classroom learning and life of a few of my Facing History and Ourselves students.
Topics: Choosing to Participate, Identity, History, Holocaust Education, Memorial, We and They, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, legacy, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, Holocaust and Human Behaviour, Inside a Genocide Classroom, Social Justice, Personal history, reflection
In 2013, Waterdown District High School teacher Robert Flosman applied for and won a Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grant to create a Museum of History in his classroom as a way to engage students deeply and differently in the study of history. In November 2014, he wrote a post for this blog describing his museum. One year later, Rob has more to tell us about the museum Facing History and Ourselves’ grant made possible.
At the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s final report, the call to educate all Canadians about the treatment and legacy of the Indian Residential Schools was loud and clear.
Facing History high school teacher Cheryl Payne-Stevens embarked on this important (and daunting!) task with her students and shared her experience with us:
One of the questions that we often struggle with as teachers, and even more so as teachers that cover issues of genocide, is How do we even begin to understand something that is so far removed from most of our personal experiences?
On November 6, 2014 Facing History and Ourselves co-presented an evening with Professor Dr. James Waller, discussing the role of Nazi doctors in the persecution of gay men during the Holocaust.
Explore the culture, psychological, and social factors that drove Nazi policy against gay men and justified, in the minds of Nazi doctors, their perpetration of such atrocities.
“Ms. Payne, we are so privileged to witness these survivors’ stories. We must do something with this knowledge.”
Such a mature and poignant statement. This is what we want from all of our students: Not to be passive listeners, but to contemplate and then choose to participate.