At distinguished Hungarian University, USC Shoah Foundation introduces concept of “learning moments” found through survivor testimony

Tue, 03/26/2013 - 12:17pm

On March 19, USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education gave a presentation about education based on Holocaust survivor testimony to more than 100 students, faculty, and staff of the University of Szeged, one of Central Europe’s foremost institutions of higher learning.

Andrea Szőnyi, the Institute’s Senior International Training Consultant and representative in Hungary, presented at the university’s Juhasz Gyula College of Pedagogy following an invitation by Csaba Jancsák, Assistant Professor of the Applied Social Studies Faculty; organizers included the editorial staff of the history and social-sciences publication Belvedere Meridionale and its Oral History Working Group.

Szőnyi introduced the university community to the Institute’s work and focused on the use of survivor testimony in education. “When students watch these stories, they try to connect the survivor’s experiences to their own lives—to such issues as family, love, bullying, and survival,” she said. “The Institute’s educational materials help students experience ‘learning moments’ that correspond to the development of critical thinking skills and notions of accountability and social responsibility.”

“One comment that really stood out to me came from a person who said that in Hungary today, history education mostly focuses on dry facts,” Szőnyi continued. “She said that testimony’s biggest strength is that it can make students realize that history happens right now, that it happens to people.”

Largest regional daily newspaper, Délmagyarország, featured an article about the program (Hungarian-language only), available here.