Certificate in Holocaust Pedagogy

Certificate in Holocaust Pedagogy

The Greenspon Center’s Certificate in Holocaust Pedagogy (CHP) trains classroom teachers and community educators through the skills of historical examination and interpretation to ask questions and think critically about why the Holocaust happened, what it means for learners today, and how we can engage others in our schools and communities to do the same. It will meet the necessary educational standards in NC and complement the recent mandate for Holocaust education in the state by engaging educators in conversations about the new Gizella Abramson Holocaust Education Act.

Who

The inaugural teacher education cohort, slated to begin in late summer 2022, will include select K-12 educators across subjects and grades in the CMSD as well as teachers from schools with a public-private charter in the district. These educators will need to demonstrate a prior commitment to Holocaust and genocide education and commit to participation for at least a semester-long course that results in creating new approaches to teaching and learning about the Holocaust in their classroom or community based on four distinct outcomes, or tracks, of commemoration, cognitive acquisition, peer-support, and leadership, or community engagement.
Who | Certificate in Holocaust Pedagogy

Our 2022-23 pilot programs are tailored for the following audiences:

  • Active classroom teachers who have a background in Holocaust and/or genocide education and demonstrate a working knowledge of Holocaust history.
  • Community educators who work in faith-based orgs, NGOs, state or cultural organizations, or community organizations that demonstrate an interest in learning more about Holocaust education and best practices for teaching others about it in the broader community.

We seek to expand our programs to the following groups in 2023 and beyond:

  • School leadership, policymakers, and administrators with whom we can amplify the impact of individual teacher learning by encouraging school or community-wide commitments to Holocaust education.
  • Advanced Teacher Trainers who have demonstrated interest in advancing their knowledge to support and seek to continue their own learning for the sake of training other Holocaust educators.

What

The Greenspon CHP program is based on comprehensive research from the last seventy-five years of Holocaust Education in the United States. The pedagogical model and curriculum design of the CHP program were specifically developed for the Greenspon Center. They build on prior precedent for what’s working in Holocaust education, as well as to adapt and innovate methods that are not as successful so as to be more responsive to the changing landscape of teaching, especially in a post-pandemic world.

How

The program’s foundations are Pedagogy, History, and Praxis.

Pedagogy: This tenet means that a key component of the program focuses on conversations about the methods and educational philosophies, especially how prior practices and expectations still shape our teaching goals for Holocaust and genocide education in US classrooms and communities today. As part of the CHP program, we have incorporated considerable time for reflection about the educators’ learning processes, the potential educational and real-world applications of their learning, and how educator understandings of the goals of Holocaust education impact their student learners when they get back to the classroom.

History: Being able to demonstrate an accurate understanding of Holocaust history is essential for any pedagogically-sound education program. The curriculum for the CHP program considers learning, re-learning, and re-reviewing Holocaust history as essential for educational excellence no matter how strong their prior historical understanding of the Holocaust may appear because the historical field continues to advance and offer new understandings of how and why the Holocaust happened. Therefore, even though educators in the program will have prior experience in Holocaust education, we will ask them to review their educational knowledge and the sources of their own learning in new ways and with new methods to maintain sustained excellence in the field.

Praxis: This term refers to the applied practice of teaching and learning and the importance that we give to supporting teachers not only in their learning about the Holocaust but in applying it to curriculum development and classroom learning as well. In addition to staying abreast of new research methods in historiography, we will discuss how historical inquiry skills, especially those for perspective recognition and empathy, can serve as critical twenty-first-century skills to interpret information about any event, including contemporary social issues and civic engagement in their own communities.

Fundamental to the program is a mentorship component so that educators not only form their own community as a cohort during the program but also have support as they develop and implement their projects from experts and educators in the field.

Why

This program will:

  • Provide robust historical content based on the latest research in Holocaust studies.
  • Integrate a pedagogically-sound curricular approach for educators that accounts for the needs of the teacher-as-learner as well as the teacher-as-gatekeeper for student learning.
  • Promote discussions about methods to help educators address and connect affective, cognitive, and action-oriented dimensions of learning.
  • Embrace the transformative nature of education in which learning and thinking critically about new subjects helps students and teachers understand themselves more deeply and to act on that knowledge to support or improve their societies in ways they value.
  • Structure conversations about educational theory, practice, and pedagogical research that encourages teacher trainers to be co-creators in the development of Holocaust pedagogy for the twenty-first century.
  • Develop outcomes-based learning goals that hone the skills of the learner-educator in four tracks: 1) Developing and leading programs in commemorative spaces, 2) Transformative learning for community engagement, 3) Historical examination for knowledge acquisition and skills-building, and 4) Learning to serve as an educational peer and resource for others in Holocaust education.
  • Incorporate a strong commitment to the study of Jewish life as a foundational element of learning about the Holocaust and its aftermath, especially through learning about the Holocaust from the perspective of first-person resources, primarily its Jewish victims in their lives, including before the Holocaust and after.

Wherefore

Holocaust education is essential to American society, but it is also at a crossroads in terms of how we can ensure its continued existence and efficacy in American schools. Therefore, in addition to helping educators learn new methods, engage in new educator communities, and learn new information about the Holocaust, the CHP program seeks to establish a place in the field of research and evaluation as well.

Within the program’s development, we will engage with other academics, researchers, and practitioners to help answer key questions in the field, such as:

  • In what ways do prior cultural and educational practices shape our current teaching approaches and what methods are in need of reimagining for the twenty-first century?
  • How can we evaluate the impact that Holocaust education has on combatting antisemitism?
  • In what ways can the field of Holocaust education become more inclusive and better understood so that its relevance is valued by all school communities?
  • Which methods best allow the experiences and voices of Jews and other groups be more foregrounded in our teaching of the Holocaust?

Curriculum Developers and Program Facilitators

This program is being designed in consultation with experts in the field of education and history.
Christine Beresniova, PhD
Christine Beresniova, PhD

Christine Beresniova, PhD

Lead Educational Consultant

Dr. Christine Beresniova is a sociocultural anthropologist specializing in education policy and teacher practice. She is currently the lead educational consultant with Queens University in Charlotte, NC overseeing the development of their first-ever Holocaust education pedagogy program at the Stan Greenspon Center for Holocaust Education and Social Justice. Prior to this, Dr. Beresniova served as the Director of Education at J Street, the Executive Director of the South Carolina Council on the Holocaust, and Education Program Coordinator at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Her book Holocaust Education in Lithuania: Community, Change, and the Making of Civil Society won a notable mention from the Association of Baltic Studies in 2018. She has published articles about education, culture, and public policy in numerous outlets, including European Education, David Magazine, and Tablet. She received fellowships and grants from the Mandel Center for Holocaust Studies at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Fulbright Association, among others. She has a Ph.D. in Education Policy from Indiana University and an M.A. in International Education from the George Washington University. More at: www.beresniova.com

Kristin Thompson
Kristin Thompson

Kristin Thompson

Curriculum Developer

Kristin Thompson is an experienced classroom educator and curriculum designer. She is currently the founding director of Humanus Network, an educational consulting firm dedicated to developing Holocaust and human rights educational resources. Most recently, she designed curriculum for the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas that promoted a deepened historical knowledge of the Holocaust for Minnesota teachers, which she presented at the 2021 National Conference for Social Studies. Prior to this work, she was the Educational Program Coordinator at the Levine Institute for Holocaust Education at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. For over five years, she oversaw the Museum’s flagship teacher training and special education programs, including the annual Arthur and Rochelle Belfer National Conference for Educators, the Museum Teacher Fellowship program, the Conference for Holocaust Education Centers (CHEC), and the Holocaust Institute for Teacher Educators (HITE). During her tenure at the Museum, she developed & facilitated multiple, rigorous programs that annually engaged hundreds of educational leaders from around the globe. She also researched and created the seminal museum-endorsed learning module for teacher training, Oath and Opposition: Education Under the Third Reich, which critically examines the role of teachers during the Holocaust and its applicable lessons for today. She presented this module at Holocaust education conferences around the world, including at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and the University College of London. She holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science, Bachelor of Science degree in Social Studies Education, and specialized licensure in Curriculum and Instruction. More at: www.HumanusNetwork.com
Katie Cunningham
Katie Cunningham

Katie Cunningham

Holocaust Programs Consultant

Katie Cunningham is a veteran teacher with over ten years of service in public schools. She is currently the Holocaust Programs Consultant for the Stan Greenspon Center for Holocaust Education and Social Justice at Queens University and an English Language Arts curriculum consultant for a local school system. Prior to joining the Stan Greenspon Center team, she also worked as an English curriculum specialist, teaching coach, and activities coordinator. In 2020, she was appointed by the Governor to the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust. She completed the Echoes and Reflections Advanced Studies Program at Yad Vashem in Israel in 2019 and participated in the TOLI Seminar at Queens University in 2018. Over the past five years she has also engaged in Race, Bias, Power, and Equity Professional Development and Cultural Proficiency Trainings. She holds a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Secondary Education, a National Board certification in Adolescence and Young Adulthood English Language Arts, and a Principal's License.

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