Institute News

Educators convene in Hungary and Poland for training on using genocide-survivor testimony in lessons

USC Shoah Foundation has launched its annual Teaching with Testimony in the 21st Century program, a one-year professional development program for educators that begins with a six-day seminar for educators.

The program, which is offered in Hungary and Poland, centers on the educational use of testimony preserved in the Institute’s Visual History Archive, which contains 55,000 video interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides.

Each July, teachers and professors from across Hungary gather at the Central European University in Budapest, an access point for the Visual History Archive of the USC Shoah Foundation, to learn about teaching with survivor testimony and how to implement these programs into their own curriculums.

Early this month, 17 educators – middle and high school teachers, as well as university professors – from across Hungary gathered for the seminar in Budapest, while 13 Polish educators convened in Warsaw.

Eventually, the educators will create their own testimony-based projects: lessons, IWitness activities or IWalks (testimony-based local history walks).

In the second phase of the program, over the next schoolyear participants will pilot their developed projects with their students and will present them to their colleagues and other professional audiences.

The third and final phase will consist of a concluding follow-up seminar in June of 2019. Here, teachers will spend three days professionally exchanging the ideas that they have formed. Teachers and professors will have the opportunity to present their projects and to share their experiences of educating with this material.

Throughout the week of the training this month, educators developed the skills necessary to teach with testimony, as they learned about the Institute’s IWitness and IWalk programs, the pedagogy and methodology of educating with testimony as well as the vast Visual History Archive available for use. Based on the knowledge gained throughout the training the teachers and professors are now going to develop their own testimony-based projects and activities, all while consulting with the Institute’s Head of Programs for International Education, Andrea Szőnyi.

Since the program’s inception in 2012, Teaching with Testimony in the 21st Century has graduated nearly 150 Master Teachers, each of whom has become proficient in their implementation of testimony into curriculum.