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Ukrainian Consultant Represents USC Shoah Foundation at Education Roundtable

USC Shoah Foundation’s consultant in Ukraine Anna Lenchovska shared the resources of USC Shoah Foundation at a roundtable discussion for educators at the Ukraine National Museum’s Memorial to the Victims of Holodomor in Kyiv on April 7.

Lenchovska joined over 30 educators for a discussion about how children should be informed about genocide and other complicated historical events in Ukraine. They discussed how the information could be presented so that students understand the modern relevance of past events and also find the lesson interesting and engaging.

The majority of the participants agreed that the existing official teaching materials do not correspond to the needs and interests of students.

During the discussion, Lenchovska stressed the need for students to develop critical thinking, for teachers to introduce a human dimension into history lessons and to use a competence-based approach instead of knowledge-based. She shared with the group her nine years of experience working with USC Shoah Foundation and the Ukrainian educational resources developed by the Institute.

Anna Lenchovska at the roundtable“Ukrainian teachers need comprehensive educational materials about complicated moments of history, that bring human dimension, stories of ordinary people, and let students reconstruct events and develop empathy by watching video testimonies of eyewitnesses,” Lenchovska said.

Lenchovska and other educational experts in Ukraine continue to host teacher trainings about the Institute’s multimedia educational guide Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933:  The Human Dimension of the Tragedy, which uses testimony to illustrate both the general history of the famine and the personal stories of survivors who lived through it. It includes testimony clips, historical documents, literary works and a step-by-step lesson plan for educators. It was approved for use in secondary schools by the Ukraine Ministry of Education and Science.  

Pain of Memory is a three-part module that accompanied the “Holocaust by Bullets: Mass Shootings of Jews in Ukraine 1941-1944” traveling exhibit from 2007. Presented by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in partnership with Mémorial de la Shoah, Yahad-In Unum, and the Ukrainian Embassies of Israel, France, Germany, and the United States, the exhibition is based on the work of Yahad-In Unum and its President, Father Patrick Desbois. Yahad-In Unum conducts research and documentation of mass shootings that took place in Ukraine, Belarus, and Poland; the organization has collected testimony from more than 2,000 witnesses to these massacres and identified hundreds of mass graves, many of which were previously unknown.

Finally, Encountering Memory is a lesson guide that accompanies the USC Shoah Foundation-produced documentary Spell Your Name. Working with the guide, video clips and testimonies, teachers and students will develop skills of historical research and interpretation of complex, controversial historical events and understand the need to confront xenophobia and discrimination in today's world. Encountering Memory is composed of 11 lessons, each covering a different theme, including “How could the Holocaust happen?” “How can a person confront genocide?” and “Totalitarianism.” It was written by Oleksandr and Mikhail Voytenko and funded by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

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