Institute News

Rwanda Hosts Its First-Ever IWitness Teacher Training

IWitness teacher trainings have been held in countries all over the world; now, Rwanda can add itself to the list.

Twenty-three teachers from eastern and southern Rwanda are gathering  Friday and Saturday for the training at Kigali Genocide Memorial Center (KGMC), led by KGMC Aegis Trust staff and USC Shoah Foundation IWitness staff. The training is part of the second phase of the IWitness in Rwanda project, a joint effort between USC Shoah Foundation, Aegis Trust and KGMC that is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

IWitness is USC Shoah Foundation’s award-winning educational website. It contains 1,356 full-length testimonies of survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and Rwanda Tutsi Genocide. Teachers may register their students for the site and assign interactive activities that allow students to engage deeply with the testimonies. IWitness also includes a built-in video editor for students to create their own video projects using the testimonies.

Teachers interested in attending the IWitness training submitted letters explaining some of the reasons why they wanted a tool for teaching genocide. Their responses ranged from a desire to learn more about the Rwanda genocide and acquire new strategies for teaching it to their students to wanting to motivate their students to speak out against atrocities.

“I want to sharpen children’s minds and help them grow into useful and responsible citizens ready to fight divisive thinking and genocide ideology,” one teacher said.

At the training, teachers will learn how to navigate the IWitness website, assign activities and use the video editor. They’ll also discuss the challenges and possible psychological implications of teaching genocide. Teachers should leave the training with an understanding of the pedagogy behind IWitness and the confidence and skills to integrate it into their curriculum.

Following the training, the participating teachers will be asked to pilot IWitness in their classrooms. These pilots will be evaluated to measure the cognitive and conative impact with particular attention to the platform’s ability to increase critical thinking capacity among students and affect the development of their attitudes and values.

The goal is to host more trainings throughout the country and eventually conduct IWitness pilots in at least two classrooms in each district.