Students and Teachers Developing IWalks in Hungary

Thu, 12/03/2015 - 5:00pm

Five more IWalks are in development in Hungary as part of a new initiative led by teachers who have graduated from USC Shoah Foundation’s Teaching with Testimony in the 21st Century professional development program.

Teaching with Testimony in the 21st Century (TWT) is a two-year program in Hungary, Poland, Ukraine and Czech Republic that introduces local educators to the methodologies of teaching with testimony from the Visual History Archive.

During the TWT program in Hungary, led by Senior International Training Consultant in Hungary Andrea Szőnyi, the teachers go on an IWalk developed by USC Shoah Foundation. On an IWalk, participants visit a local historic site or neighborhood while using tablet devices to watch testimony clips from the Visual History Archive in which Holocaust survivors describe their experiences there. USC Shoah Foundation has published or piloted IWalks in two locations in Budapest and three locations in Czech Republic.

Szőnyi has launched a program to enable five teachers who have graduated from TWT and their students to create IWalks for their own towns in Hungary. These IWalks will be piloted in spring and finalized by May 2016.

As part of this program so far, Szőnyi has led workshops in Budapest for TWT graduates and their classes from Miskolc, Békéscsaba and Szeged to introduce the students to IWalks and prepare them for creating their own IWalk about their hometown. The students will also learn how to be peer-guides so they can lead other local students on the IWalk they will create.

The students who have participated in the program so far were especially inspired by the IWalk and the prospect of introducing local history of the Holocaust this way to their own school and community. They commented:

"This is a milestone in the history of Hungary that everybody should know about."

"It teaches us to face what man is capable of doing with other human beings just because their origins."

"We need to know it because many people were persecuted and it is important for us to know that we should not distinguish and judge people because of their religion or anything else."

Educators regularly comment that the IWalk is a highlight of the TWT program and could help make history come alive and feel relevant for their students. Once the local programs have been finalized, there will be teacher trainings organized in the five participating towns for local educators.