USC Shoah Foundation Institute to Offer
Free Character Education Resource
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 4, 2006
USC Shoah Foundation Institute
University of Southern California
Today, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education released Creating Character, its first Character Education resource, available free for teachers on its web site, www.usc.edu/creatingcharacter. The Creating Character online resource features easy-to-use, standards-based, downloadable lessons and streaming video clips of testimony from the Institute’s Visual History Archive. From a pool of nationally recognized Character Education traits, the Institute chose to address the themes of Courage, Responsibility, Respect, Citizenship, Justice and Fairness, and Perseverance.
The Creating Character lessons are modular and may be used individually or collectively. The first-person accounts of Holocaust survivors and witnesses that are at the core of Creating Character will help students gain a deeper understanding of sometimes abstract values. “We hope Creating Character will be a valuable resource for educators seeking to bring character education into the classroom,” said Douglas Greenberg, USC history professor and Executive Director of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute. “The testimonies contained in Creating Character allow students to see the character traits in action, and encourage them to become engaged with the material at a level and in a fashion that matters to them intellectually and personally.”
Character Education is a national initiative that is increasingly emphasized and incorporated into curricula across the United States. The Character Education Partnership, based in Washington D.C., is a national advocate and leader for the character education movement. “Creating Character is a tremendous resource, unique because of the inclusion of testimonies from the Institute’s archive,” said Paul Weimer, Director, Programs and Partnerships at the Character Education Partnership. “Teachers will be pleased that so much thought has gone into creating the resource in alignment with national standards. The visual history testimonies share stories of triumph and tragedy, and in each story, character is revealed. Creating Character harnesses the power of visual history as a teaching tool for young people.” In addition to its availability on the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s web site, Creating Character will be available from the Character Education Partnership’s educational web site.
Funding to develop Creating Character was provided by the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation and the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation. The Leo Rosner Foundation provided funding to make the resource available online. “The Leo Rosner Foundation is excited to support the distribution of Creating Character to educators, teachers, and students,” explained William Robbins, President of the Leo Rosner Foundation. “We think this free online resource will be a valuable tool that will help students develop core ethical values and become responsible citizens.”
About the USC Shoah Foundation Institute
With a collection of nearly 52,000 video testimonies in 32 languages and from 56 countries, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute's archive is the largest visual history archive in the world. The Institute interviewed Jewish survivors, homosexual survivors, Jehovah's Witness survivors, liberators and liberation witnesses, political prisoners, rescuers and aid providers, Roma and Sinti survivors (Gypsy), survivors of Eugenics policies, and war crimes trials participants.
The mission of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute is to overcome prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry–and the suffering they cause–through the educational use of the Institute's visual history testimonies. The Institute relies upon partnerships in the United States and around the world to provide public access to the archive and advance scholarship in many fields of inquiry. The Institute and its partners also utilize the archive to develop educational products and programs for use in many countries and languages.