The conference was organized by IHRA‘s Education Research Project in cooperation with University of Teacher Education Lucerne (PH Luzern), Switzerland
The Education Research Project of the IHRA
The conference was the concluding event of IHRA‘s Education Research Project. The Education Research Project aims to provide an overview and a mapping of knowledge coming out of empirical research studies about teaching and learning about the Holocaust. The goal is to establish what can really be stated from empirical research about the current state of Holocaust education, taking us beyond anecdotal experiences and programmatic texts, in order to identify the key challenges and opportunities.
A multilingual expert team has collected existing research in over ten languages, and undertaken a scholarly, critical review of a selected number of studies carried out in the field of Holocaust education. This multilingual aspect is a crucial dimension; it allows knowledge transfer and discussion between various regions and countries, as a cross-language and cross–cultural initiative.
A multilingual expert team has collected existing research in over ten languages, and undertaken a scholarly, critical review of a selected number of studies carried out in the field of Holocaust education.
IHRA Conference Report
- One of the general findings presented by the expert team was that dealing with anti-Semitism is not incorporated well enough in the current practices of Teaching and Learning about Holocaust. The results shows that students are not understanding the correlation between anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, and can’t recognize the current anti-Semitism. This is certainly something to take into consideration when designing new teaching methodologies and materials;
- Another conclusion is that there are no ways to truly measure the impact and results of Teaching and Learning about Holocaust in terms of long-term impact on students’ behaviour, perspectives and social values. This, of course, is not the same as to claim that Teaching and Learning about Holocaust does not give any results at all. One of the future tasks in this field will be to research tools and methodologies for better evaluation and long-term follow up in the field;
- Generally high levels of interest and engagement among both teachers and students;
- Teachers are generally self-taught and desire more preparation;
- Many times teachers of language and literature may have more space to fit TLH into their programmes;
- Teachers struggle to navigate tensions between history and memory, and between reason and emotion;
- Teachers have high expectations for the subject, but are not clear about the purpose(s) they are to serve which can span historical explanation, ethics and moral development, emotional engagement, citizenship etc. Teachers often lack assessments to know if they are successful – they may assess the recall of facts, but little else;
- Many teachers teach in isolation from one another and miss the opportunity for peer learning and collaborative curriculum development. This contributes to the ongoing diversity in practice;
- Finally, existing research on Teaching and Learning about Holocaust is obviously just at the beginning, and governments and funding institutions should take into account the need to support future research in the field;
(The findings presented in this article depict only personal conclusions and observations of the author of this text, and are not in any way official conclusions of the conference)
On Wednesday 17 February 2016, Terraforming participated the Networking Post-conference segment titled “Short presentations and discussion of further networks and project proposals”.
Terraforming presented the past project “Memorial Days Lesson Plans” and the new concept for the European Library Network for Teaching and Learning about Holocaust.
We are very happy with our presentation. It was a great opportunity to exchange ideas and get (always welcomed) feedback from international colleagues.
As always, this was a great opportunity for networking and establishing new important contacts.
Thank you IHRA and PH Luzern for very interesting and well organized conference!
Lecture: “The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Education Research Project- aims, challenges and findings’ by Monique Eckmann, PH Luzern and Doyle Stevick, University of South Carolina
IHRA International Research Conference on Education about the Holocaust. 15-17 February, 2016. Luzern, Switzerland.
More videos available on the
IHRA’s YouTube channel
about the conference