The Center for Cultural Fluency highlights some recent cultural fluency initiatives by faculty, staff or students at the Mount. We welcome submissions, please fill out the submission form.
Twenty Mount St. Mary’s College teacher education candidates attended a special workshop by Matt Friedman from the Anti Defamation League (ADL) on the topic of teaching about the Holocaust and the history of Anti-Semitism. In the workshop, participants were introduced to the valuable resource: “Echoes and Reflections – A Multimedia Curriculum on the Holocaust”. The workshop emphasized that an effective way to teach about the Holocaust is to provide youth with a context for the stories they encounter. The in-depth curriculum provided free to the Mount candidates (supported by a grant) provided many resources they can use to create this context including a DVD of survivors’ testimonies and a notebook of in-depth lesson planning ideas.
Mr. Friedman modeled a lesson about Ghettoes discussing how society uses the term today as part of everyday language. He then explained that it originated from an old Italian word dating back many centuries. The workshop then dived into the harsh realities of the European Ghettoes in which Jews were forced to live. The workshop attendees were exposed to primary sources that included pictures of the Ghettoes and survivors’ testimonies.
After learning more about Ghettoes, the discussion turned to context emphasizing two popular sources used in classrooms: the movie Schindler’s List by Steven Spielberg and the book Night by Elie Wiesel. Mr. Friedman provided the context for these stories, explaining how Oskar Schindler was an urban businessman who happened to save Jewish people because he needed labor in a factory, and how he died a poor man supported by the people he saved. As for Night’s author, Friedman explained that Elie Wiesel lived in a rural part of Romania and was sent to Auschwitz at the age of 14, during the later parts of World War II. Wiesel survived and went on to be a Nobel Prize winning author and college professor. Friedman explained that these stories become more powerful when the student readers are immersed in the world of these figures from history.
Matt Friedman’s presentation of “Echoes and Reflections” provided an excellent introduction to the materials available for all attendees. The MSMC students left the workshop inspired and supported with excellent resources. As one teacher education candidate wrote after the workshop “I just wanted to say "Thank You" for the opportunity of attending such a great workshop. I invited a colleague of mine who is also a school teacher where I work, and who is currently attending the Mount. We both enjoyed this great experience! We learned many details about the Holocaust and obtained many resources that can be used in our classrooms. Although geared for middle and high school teachers and students, this workshop was filled with rich content and strategies that can be easily implemented in any curriculum and connected to any grade level standard. I can't wait to share this info. with my Principal and other teachers!”
For more information about Echoes and Reflection: http://echoesandreflections.org/
Excerpt from their website: http://www.echoesandreflections.org/learn_about_curriculum/overview.asp
Echoes and Reflections is the result of an unprecedented partnership among three leaders in education: the Anti-Defamation League, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, and Yad Vashem. This resource includes everything teachers need to teach the complex issues of the Holocaust and its lessons for today.
Whether teaching a full semester Holocaust Studies course or including information about the Holocaust in a unit of study on World War II, this curriculum allows teachers to choose as little or as much material as they can cover in a specific time period and still cover the subject matter effectively. Developed primarily for use with high school students, the Echoes and Reflections curriculum has also been adapted successfully to accommodate both younger and older students.
Ten multi-part lessons are provided with a companion DVD of over two-and-a-half hours of visual history testimony from survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. Each of the interdisciplinary lessons is supported with numerous primary source documents, including poems, literature excerpts, maps, photographs, timelines, a glossary, and student handouts.
Close to forty journal assignments are included in Echoes and Reflections. These journal assignments encourage students to reflect on what they are learning, to record their feelings and reactions to the information, and to think about how the material has meaning in their own lives and in society. Journals also serve as a mechanism by which students create their own primary source material.