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Designing a New Learning Programme

Students at Mile End Senior School, Rickmandsworth, 1940 including Czech Jewish refugee Trude Silman. Image (c) HSFA / the Silman family

During lockdown, our usual work and operations have inevitably had to change. However, we’re making the most of this opportunity to re-design our learning programme for secondary schools, with some exciting new sessions that will be ready to launch for the beginning of the academic year 2020/2021.

In this process, we are being guided by ground-breaking research on the most common misconceptions in students’ knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust and how to address them.

At the same time, we are framing historical content and sources around pedagogical principles aimed at producing meaningful impact.

Our learning programme will be based on four interconnected values:

  • An historically sound, evidence-based approach. This principle has three main ramifications. 1) We work with leading academics to ensure that our programmes use up-to-date academic research, including research into previously neglected experiences and perspectives.  2) The use of real-life narratives, including first-person accounts of survivors, victims and perpetrators, and original sources from our own archive and those of partner organisations such as the Wiener Holocaust Library and Arolsen Archives. 3) We make use of current educational research into students’s knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust, particularly the work of the Centre for Holocaust Education at UCL.
  • An interdisciplinary approach. We believe interdisciplinarity is a powerful tool to enable students to understand how the Holocaust was able to come about:  antisemitism and hatred of minority groups travelled through political discourse, as well as through material and visual culture. The new learning programme with its focus on critical thinking will accommodate the disciplinary requirements of different subjects, including, History, English, R.E., Citizenship, PSHE, Art and Drama.
  • Experiential learning. Our programme will make use of our acclaimed, museum standard exhibition together with group activities in which students will develop their ability to read historical sources including objects, images and texts. This makes learning interactive, maximises learners’ engagement with the past, and stimulates thinking about the present.
  • Inclusivity. Our learning programme will be the place to explore the experiences of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, as well as those of other minorities that constitute the totality of the victims of the Nazi regime. Our use of case studies is based on our extensive collection, as well as recent academic research. We believe that historical accuracy, relevance, inclusivity and empathy go hand in hand. In order to be historically accurate, and to create empathy and relevance, inclusivity is essential.

We are currently accepting bookings for our on-site learning programme from September and are working with the University of Huddersfield to ensure that any on-site sessions will be safe for both our staff and you.  Schools will have exclusive use of the exhibition during their visit and protective measures, such as planned routes through campus and thorough cleaning regimes, will be in place. However, we are also working on plans to deliver outreach sessions into schools in which an expert practitioner will deliver Holocaust education in your classrooms, and exploring alternative ways of delivering our learning remotely. Please contact us to discuss your needs.