Connecting Educators Through the Teacher Innovation Network

Fri, 10/09/2009 - 12:00am
USC Shoah Foundation Institute launches Teacher Innovation Network.

The USC Shoah Foundation Institute has launched the Teacher Innovation Network, an initiative to build a nationwide community of middle and high school teachers who are committed to the using the testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses in their classrooms.

Teacher Innovation Network members will be able to:

  • Watch and download video testimony
  • Share ideas and lessons using video testimony
  • Access free educational resources
  • Connect online with other teachers who use testimony
  • Arrange a visit to one of the institutions where the Institute’s archive is available
  • Sign up for opportunities to review and/or pilot new educational resources
  • Communicate with the Institute’s educational staff to share feedback and ask questions
  • Learn about upcoming training and professional development opportunities
  • Receive the Institute’s e-newsletters and updates about new educational resources

“Educators who join the Teacher Innovation Network will be ambassadors for the widespread use of testimony in the classroom,” said Sherry Bard, Institute Project Director of Educational Programs.  “We envision an extended community of teachers who engage in meaningful dialogue, exchange resources and information, and work together to create transformative, even life-changing learning experiences for students.”

Learn more about the Teacher Innovation Network Today

Leichtag Family Foundation Master Teacher Program begins with Teaching with Testimony workshop

The Institute recently welcomed a group of Southern California teachers to attend Teaching with Testimony, the inaugural workshop of the Master Teacher Program.

Made possible through generous funding by the Leichtag Family Foundation, the Master Teacher Program is a key component of the Teacher Innovation Network. The program aims to gather a cadre of highly motivated teachers who work closely with the Institute to serve as leaders and advocates of testimony-based education in their school districts and communities.

“We are so impressed by the caliber of the Master Teacher Program and by the phenomenal group of teachers who attended the inaugural workshop,” said Leichtag Family Foundation President Jim Farley. “Through this program, the Institute will provide guidance and support to help teachers have a lasting impact on their students, their colleagues, and their communities by pioneering the educational use of Holocaust eyewitness testimony in school districts across the United States.  The Leichtag Family Foundation is pleased to partner with the Institute by making this program possible now and in the future.”

The weeklong workshop focused on how testimony can enhance education, meet curricular standards in a range of subject areas and grade levels, and inspire dialogue on themes of universal relevance such as tolerance, respect, and personal responsibility.

“When students view testimony, their reaction—it’s amazing,” said workshop participant Jeremy Howard, a U.S. History teacher at Francis Parker Middle School in San Diego. “You get higher level questions, questions that are more insightful. [Students] may incorporate what they’ve learned into something that might be happening in Darfur, in Myanmar, in North Korea…they make a connection.”

“Testimony, used effectively, makes the large, overwhelming tragedy of genocide tangible for students,” said Paige Leven, a teacher of sociology, government, and economics at Roybal Learning Center in Los Angeles, who participated in the workshop. “It can put human faces on the numbers and statistics, which can cause students to emotionally connect to history.”