Summary of the educational component of the program

Zachor Foundation has been asked to provide the educational component of the project for Political Capital. We have been asked to do research, elaborate, develop and conduct a pilot educational program, that would be implementable on a larger scale.

In order to develop a possibly most useful program and recommendations for future implementation we have set up the following structure:

  1. needs analysis – research among in-service teachers
  2. action plan for developing sample materials  - teacher workshop 1
  3. development of teaching material
  4. piloting the developed material – student workshops 1-3
  5. evaluation and formulating recommendations for next steps – teacher workshop 2

1. needs analysis – research among in-service teachers

Zachor Foundation organizes regular teacher professional development programs. We have decided to do some research among teachers attending our programs regarding their need for educational materials that target the topic of antisemitism specifically. We had 11 such seminars in the first half of 2014 (2 in Budapest, 8 in various towns across the country and 1 for teachers working in Hungarian language schools in cross-border Subotica, Serbia).

During these regular trainings of ours we present and discuss methodology and specific teaching materials regarding Holocaust and anti-bias education in an interdisciplinary setting.

During these trainings we devoted time to discuss with teachers their experiences regarding antisemitism and discrimination among their students and what they would find helpful on a practical level. (Method: group discussion)

2. action plan for developing sample materials

After the training sessions we organized a workshop for some of Zachor Foundation’s expert teachers a teaching material developers (10 experts) to analyze the findings. We included in the analysis the findings of Political Capital’s research about the exposure and liability of young people to extreme views. As a result we found that besides the already existing teaching materials we use in our trainings (e.g. (a) adaptations for Hungary of ODIHR/OSCE Teaching materials to combat antisemitism developed by Zachor Foundation in cooperation with the Anne Frnk House, Amsterdam, (b) multimedia lessons based on video-testimonies of the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive used in Holocaust and anti-bias education) we need to develop some material that specifically deals with the question of antisemitism, that used 21st century methods (visual, multimedia, difgital and inter-active). We also identified the need for some background material developed specifically for teachers about the history of antisemitism. We have come to the conclusion that we need to develop: (a) a sample lesson ready for classroom use; (b) a consize guide on the history of antisemitism.

3. development of materials

  1. In the following phase Zachor Foundation developed two versions of a multi-media teaching material based on video-testimonies of the USC Shoah Foundation. One is a shorter lesson suitable to complete in a double lass period, the other one is a longer module version of the same lesson to be used in special projects if teachers have more time for it. The title of the teaching material is “Where is home for you?”, which is a quote from the video-testimony of Hungarian survivor György Kármán used extensively in the teaching material. The lesson aims to develop students’ critical thinking skills and starts from the contemporary: with documents of contemporary antisemitic phenomena and includes press analyses. It then ties the topic with the past through analysis of video clips from the testimony thus connecting past and present and allowing students to think in a more layered and complex way.
  2. Having worked together with an educator, an expert in History, we have developed a guide for teachers about the history of antsemitism (around 50 pages). Such a non-academic background material was non-existent for Hungarian educators. This resource can be used by teachers both as a background reading in itself and it can also accompany the developed lesson and any further developments.

4. piloting the developed material

Based on the expert opinion resulting from the expert workshop, we have decided to pilot the developed lesson in three different school in Hungary before finalizing it. One school was in Budapest and two in rural towns. We wanted to have different types of schools in our pilot, so we included an elite high school, a comprehensive school specializing on Economic Studies and a vocational school. Feedback from piloting teachers on the material was used to shape the lesson.

5. evaluation and formulating recommendations for next steps

A second workshop was organized for the expert working on the project where results from the pilot was evaluated and further plans were set up. Before the pilot started we had decided to develop evaluation questionnaires consisting of two parts. One part focused on the lesson, students were asked to complete it anonymously after the lesson pilot. It included questions about the lesson itself. The other questionnaire was planned to be completed before the lesson and was to capture prejudices, attitudes, etc. We planned to have the same questionnaire completed about a month or six weeks after the lesson so we could get some information about the lesson impact regarding attitudinal change. Unfortunately, we were not fully successful in having the questionnaires completed as in one of the schools where the lesson was piloted the school principal refused to agree to conduct the survey. The teacher was allowed to pilot the lesson but even organizing that was not easy (principal’s consent was required). The questionnaire results and teachers’ feedback show that the lesson we developed was motivating and interesting for students, raised important questions and initiated important discussions. Students found the multimedia component new, which helped their involvement and helped link the topic to current events. The authenticity of the survivor talking about antisemitic experiences and how this resonated contemporary happenings was a central and recurring remark in students’ reflections. Besides interpreting the topic of antisemitism, they managed to tackle questions like memory, or the role of media and propaganda as well.

Based on the findings, the expert workshop put together some next steps recommendations – action plan – for the near future:

  • the final version of the developed lesson should be accessible for educators (either online or through teacher training programs). It will be included into our further teacher education programs
  • further feedback will be collected from teachers using the lesson
  • the use of media elements (video testimony clips) seems to be a crucial part of success. Plans have been made to start further cooperation between Zachor Foundation, Political Capital and the USC Shoah Foundation for the development of an online clip catalogue containing clips from the USC Shoah Foundation video testimonies that are relevant to the topic. This catalogue will serve as source material for teachers wishing to develop their own lessons or activities around the topic.
  • Because of the power of multimedia and digital learning, plans have been discussed to set up a similar partnership around the development of a Hungarian language activity on the topic of antisemitism to be included in the IWitness  online educational platform of the USC Shoah Foundation.

Prepared as part of the project of Political Capital by Zachor Foundation in cooperation with the USC Shoah Foundation.

Report written by Andrea Szőnyi, director of Zachor Foundation for Social Remembrance.





Categories Pilot projects | Tags: | Posted on January 5, 2014

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