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The question “How do you teach this stuff?” is what brought me to USC Shoah Foundation in 2010 to begin my training and work as a Master Teacher. I was beginning to understand that survivor testimony is the formative center of Holocaust education, that once a student begins to see Holocaust education content through the lens of testimony, the education and the student begin to change in ways that are profound.
education, ushmm, iwitness, Holocaust education, GAM, op-eds / Friday, March 25, 2016
As Hannah, in the novel The Devil's Arithmetic, needed to have a first-hand experience to fully understand the Holocaust; my students must be equipped with first-hand information, too. While they cannot "time travel" as Hannah does, they can hear from survivors to have a greater understanding of the Holocaust.
education, iwitness, Information Quests, op-eds / Thursday, September 17, 2015
In an effort to create a deeper engagement with educators online, USC Shoah Foundation’s educational website IWitness hosts monthly Twitter chats.
social media, Twitter, Educators, iwitness, IWitness Chat, Twitter Chat, op-eds / Tuesday, September 22, 2015
We have ample historical evidence that hateful words can be as dangerous as physical violence itself. German poet, Heinrich Heine said in 1821, “He who burns books will soon burn people.”
Rina Sampath, usc, Intolerance, racism, résistance, op-eds / Thursday, September 24, 2015
“I can’t stand coffee!” she said, leaning forward to me before uttering back to the waitress. “Espresso please!” She giggled a little before telling me that espresso was her little dessert in the morning.
Paula Lebovics, ambassadors for humanity, detroit, Bill Ford, educator, op-eds / Sunday, September 27, 2015
The Visual History Archive contains 53,000 eyewitness testimonies to genocide and mass atrocities. What you might not know is that each testimony is indexed to the minute with over 62,000 keys words in the entire Archive. USC Shoah Foundation commemorates National Archives Month this November by participating in #AskAnArchivist Day on Thurs., Oct. 1, and sharing 10 more unique facts about the Visual History Archive.
AskanArchivist, National Archives Month, visual history archive, op-eds / Thursday, October 1, 2015
When I commenced my PhD journey three years ago at Edge Hill University in northern England, I had little idea of where the journey would take me, both literally and figuratively.
music as resistance, research, Center for Advance Genocide Research, cagr, op-eds, cagr / Thursday, October 8, 2015
A few weeks ago, USC Student Body President Rini Sampath posted on her Facebook page about incidents of hatred and intolerance on campus. A Saturday night after a USC football game, Sampath had been walking down USC’s Fraternity Row when a man leaned out his frat house window and hurled a racial epithet and a beverage cup at her.
usc, Tolerance, rini Sampath, discrimination, op-eds / Monday, October 19, 2015
There is a current controversy about the allegation that the great mufti of Jerusalem instigated the final solution of the Nazis. While there is no doubt that Haj Amin al-Husseini, was a virulent anti-Semite, history shows that the Final Solution was conceived and implemented by Nazis and nobody else.
Haj Amin al-Husseini, holocaust, GAM, op-eds, cagr / Thursday, October 22, 2015
About a year after I joined USC Shoah Foundation, I was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre’s Holocaust Education Week in Toronto. The theme that year was about memory and they had graciously invited me, the new Director of Education, to discuss memory in the context of the Institute’s education platform IWitness and testimony-based education.
memory, blog, op-eds / Tuesday, November 3, 2015
In December 1995, USC Shoah Foundation, then called, Survivors of the Shoah Foundation, held a training session for interviewers in Buenos Aires; bringing together people from different countries of Latin America. The Foundation had just started to collect the survivors’ testimonies throughout the world and was about to start recording testimonies in Brazil.
Aleksander Laks, op-eds / Monday, November 9, 2015
I teach at an Islamic school, and I am in awe of how testimony has opened the eyes and hearts of my students and inspired them to fight injustice. This is particularly amazing considering the Shoah is not even part of the curriculum in many Arab countries. When I asked my class why testimony has affected them so deeply, their response was: “Testimony teaches us that the world isn’t about us vs. them. It is about how WE can make the world a better place by not being bystanders.”
beginswithme, education, iwitness, op-eds / Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Paris. The way we think of that beautiful city has changed. That's what they want. They want us to think about things differently, to use Paris as a symbol of bloodshed and fear, not the one we know and love of liberty and culture. That is the nature of extremism: It tries to change who we are, how we see the world, to change our habits and our patterns of thought, to enjoy our freedoms less, to exert control.
Paris, education, Extremism, résistance, op-eds / Monday, November 16, 2015
Like many of you, I sat in front of my television on the evening of Friday, November 13, 2015 and watched in horror as news of the terrorist attacks in Paris flooded the airways. "Not again," I thought to myself. My heart ached for people whom I had never met and for a city and country thousands of miles away.
MyGivingStory, GivingTuesday, beginswithme, op-eds / Monday, November 23, 2015
If you’ve ever watched genocide survivor testimony from the Visual History Archive and it spurned you to wonder what you can do to help prevent acts of intolerance and inhumanity, USC Shoah Foundation has an opportunity for you this holiday season.
op-eds / Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Poland faces a horrible wave of extremism after the election of a new right-wing government. As an educator and Polish citizen, I am not only scared by this type of radical hatred, but it also reminds me of the past because the same organization that marches on the streets of Polish cities today, organized boycotts of Jewish institutions and forbade Jewish students from studying at Polish universities before WWII.
poland, education, GAM, World Refugee Day, op-eds / Wednesday, December 9, 2015
You’re never too old to learn about cultural diversity. I realized this over the weekend, on the eve of Hanukkah. My mom, a fourth grade teacher, told me about an incident she’d just experienced at a local party-supply store. She was shopping for her annual Hanukkah lesson, in which she briefly teaches her students the meaning of the holiday, demonstrates how she lights our family menorah, and leads them in a spirited game of dreidel. Everyone goes home with a little bag of chocolate gelt, a dreidel and maybe a Hanukkah-themed pencil.
hanukkah, Diversity, Holidays, Tolerance, op-eds / Thursday, December 10, 2015
I found as a teacher that the most challenging task when teaching about the Holocaust and genocide, is how to do it not using material that shocks the students to the point that they do not want to look at the content, study the history or listen to present day issues due to the emotional shut down that can occur.
holocaust, education, iwitness, GAM, op-eds / Tuesday, December 15, 2015
As 2015 comes to an end our education team takes a look at the 10 IWitness activities most assigned by educators.
iwitness, education, 2015, op-eds / Friday, December 18, 2015
As educators, when we go into teaching, we go in with what some might call ideological visions: This concept that we can and will make a difference; this idea that the children we teach will take the lessons we’ve taught and use them to become productive people long after they leave the four walls of our classroom. As we sit here now, reflecting on our most recent efforts to teach the Holocaust in a profound manner that gives justice and honor to the victims of this atrocity, we feel fortunate that such ideologies are being lived in our classroom.
iwitness, IWitness in Action, education, beginswithme, discrimination, op-eds / Tuesday, January 5, 2016
On Jan. 19, 2016, the Organization of Istanbul Armenians (OIA) organized a commemoration for the ninth anniversary of the assassination of prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. It was exactly nine years after my friends and I learned of his murder without fully understanding who he was and what his legacy would mean to us in the years to come.
armenia, Hrant Dink, Armenian Genocide, op-eds / Thursday, January 21, 2016
In January 2015, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Poland with other students from across the country for USC Shoah Foundation’s and Discovery Education’s Auschwitz: Past is Present program. We toured various sites in Warsaw and Krakow, Poland, with teachers and our friend Paula Lebovics, a survivor of the Holocaust. Each point in the trip was remarkable and extremely inspiring. However, the visit to the Auschwitz-Birkeanu Memorial Museum impacted me the most.
Auschwitz70, reflection, op-eds / Monday, January 25, 2016
A person doesn’t visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland and come away unchanged, and I was no exception. The empty barracks, the barbed-wire fencing, the solemn exhibits, the telltale chimneys – all these vestiges left a strong impression. But what struck me most was the sheer vastness of the sprawling memorial to history’s most notorious death camp. Walking through Birkenau with my tour group, I gaped at the emptiness stretching for a mile in every direction – nothing but the crumbling remains of buildings half-buried in snow.
Auschwitz70, reflection, GAM, op-eds / Tuesday, January 26, 2016
In January 2015, I traveled to Poland for the Auschwitz: Past is Present professional development program, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau. This entire experience, was and continues to be a life changing event for me on every level personally, professionally, and academically.
Auschwitz70, reflection, op-eds / Tuesday, January 26, 2016
In January 2015, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Poland with other students, as a junior intern, for USC Shoah Foundation’s and Discovery Education’s Auschwitz: Past is Present program, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
Auschwitz70, reflection, op-eds / Tuesday, January 26, 2016
As the first anniversary of my life-changing trip to Poland is upon me, I take time to reflect on the impact that trip has made on me both personally and professionally. I have learned so much from my experiences as a teacher in USC Shoah Foundation’s and Discovery Education’s Auschwitz: The Past is Present program.
Auschwitz70, reflection, op-eds / Wednesday, January 27, 2016
The multidisciplinary Holocaust Geographies Collaborative research group returned to USC Shoah Foundation and shared their plans for an exciting new project harnessing the power of testimony that will begin this summer.
holocaust, gis, research, georgraphy, Holocaust research, USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, cagr, op-eds / Monday, February 1, 2016
Parks’ story is insightful, inspiring and a powerful education tool for discussing racism, intolerance and the Civil Rights Movement. IWitness includes Parks’ story and many other voices and resources that you could use in your classroom. Discover five resources from IWitness for discussing Black History Month and Civil Rights with your students.
iwitness, education, resources, black history month, op-eds / Monday, February 1, 2016
How do we begin to remember the millions of victims of the biggest genocide in human history? How do we echo the gravity of the world’s loss to students? How do we work to create a meaningful moment that memorializes humankind’s greatest tragedy? In planning a Holocaust unit in conjunction with Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations, these are questions that were prevalent in our minds as we devised a memorial program that paid tribute while emphasizing the need for continued human rights education in classroom’s across the world.
Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, op-eds / Monday, February 8, 2016
Happy Digital Learning Day! Led by Alliance for Excellent Education, the day is an effort to engage students and empower educators through effective use of digital tools. Educators, schools and organizations around the world will be sharing the power of using digital resources in the classroom.
iwitness, Digital Learning Day, Edtech, Digital Citizenship, Digital Resources, op-eds / Tuesday, February 16, 2016