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Teaching The Holocaust to year 5 and 6...opinions.

Discussion in 'Primary' started by samstb, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. Hi all hope you had a good Christmas.

    I was just wondering what are people's opinions on teaching The Holocaust to year 5 and 6 children?

    I am asking because our school are having a Holocaust survivor in the first week back. It has been organised by myself because it is my MEd thesis topic.

    Any constructive opionions much appreciated.

    S xx
  2. I can't fully answer your question, but I once was left the story, "Rose Blanche", as a story within the literacy lesson, on supply. I'd recommend the story, in which a young girl discovers a concentration camp on the outskirts of her village. I see you can get it second hand around £4:

  3. slippeddisc

    slippeddisc New commenter

    I personally think you have to be truthful with this topic and I think missing the halocaust out when teaching about WW2 is like teaching the topic without mentioning Hitler. It was such a massive part of the war. I don't think it's a problem for the children to learn about hard or sad things. These things happened to their grandparents and greatgrandparents. I don't see a problem with the children feeling upset at this. Not everything in life is sunshine and rainbows!
  4. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Did anyone suggest that?
    I agree that there's nothing wrong with children learning about terrible things.
  5. Spanakopita

    Spanakopita New commenter

    A rather poor reason for organising it IMO. It makes the children seem like guinea pigs.
  6. I've used Rose Blanche with both year 4 and year 5 children. Both year groups were intrigued by the book. Lots of the children would ask to read it during quiet reading times.
  7. As a Jew, brought up in a Jewish School learning about the Holocaust is always a focus. I would say yes teach it as it is something that is real, it did happen, there are the concentration camps and the evidence that it happened and it should not be denied. If I was you I would not go to deep into all of the topics, Anne Franks is a good way of doing the Holocaust also the Rose Blanche book is a good stimulus. I feel the best stimulus I have found if you can get it is a book called I Have Lived A Thousand Years! This book is a diary like Anne Frank but goes into detail very cleverly about what went on in the Holocuast without going into too much gory detail. Holocaust Survivors are always a very interesting route to go down and some stories are told so unbelievably that it can really help children learn what went on. There is a book produced by DK education called Holocaust: The Events and Their Impact on Real People.
    This book is absolutely unbelievable and is the perfect way to help teach the Holocaust to school pupils. I hope all of this information helps you, if you have any questions private message me and I can give you more specific things that I have created myself last year in my first year of teacher training that I would do to teach this difficult, emotional topic to school pupils.
  8. We teach children about The Holocaust as part of a cross curricular unit - Anne Frank, the Nazi Occupation of Europe and the attitude towards art/music which was considered 'degenerate' by the regime. Never underestimate the capacity of 10 or 11 year olds - at this age they are articulate enough to express themselves clearly whilst yet not at the age when they prefer to keep their opinions to themselves for fear of appearing 'uncool'.
    Our Y5/6 classes are always utterly engrossed in the topic. There are often tears, for instance when we watch the Ben Kingsley version of Anne Frank or read Rose Blanche. We hide very little from them (apart from details about medical experiments).
    There is also a sense of profound outrage that such irrational beliefs could be adopted by a seemingly rational nation. We have P4C sessions which focus upon images or writing - e.g. Niemöller's poem. Our kids always arrive at the conclusion that it is all too easy to be swept along in the tide, afraid to stand up for the truth and they can link this to the demonisation of minority groups in the UK today. There is a truly inspirational book about the role of Denmark - 'Number the Stars', which I read in order to emphasise that many people - and even a nation, in this case - have the strength of character to put themselves in danger on behalf of others when it would be easier to look the other way.
    Playing Mendelssohn (considered degenerate) and Wagner (acceptable) side by side always provokes incredulity - how can the greatness of works of art/music/writing/architecture be dismissed because the State tells us they are produced by the 'wrong' people?
    And the quality of the writing that our children produce - last year they produced front pages describing Kristallnacht which could have been written by KS3 pupils. When children are engrossed in something, they absolutely come into their own.
    Often when they leave, at the end of Y6, they say that this topic was the one which they most remember. Some have even returned to bring me leaflets and souveniers from the Frank museum.
    When I taught in a Jewish school in London, there was a sense of profound loss when introducing this topic. Naturally, most families were touched by the events of this period as was my own, in Poland. However, my current C of E pupils are no less respectful and interested.
    I think that The Holocaust SHOULD be taught in upper KS2. There is so much to be gained, on so very many levels.

  9. I just want to give you a bit of background: I teach in a BNP area so I wanted to see whether the kids being exposed to the moral teachings that The Holocaust has to offer might just make some small difference in their lives. I want them to see what racism, prejudice and discrimination can do. So yeah, guinea pigs, whatever! If I can, by some small miracle, influence them in a positive way by making them my guinea pigs.... then great. I would like to know how you are meant to do a research based MEd without using the children? The children know about it, the parents know about it, the head knows about it and my redbrick university are backing and funding it....so tell me how do we know if a new scheme will ever work without first trailing it? APP was piloted in my school, were the government using the kids as guinea pigs too? I really don’t know why people feel the need to make these comments!!! Go on find some silly grammar or spelling error to point out, because that’s what happens on here isn’t it. Ha ha........

  10. And there is no more vivid example with which to do this.
    Good luck with your M.Ed. Let us know how your research unfolds.
  11. Thank you very much. I do get upset by negative comments on here. SO thank you for the positive ones.

    S x
  12. If you are saying this then why is not taught within the topic of World War 2, as it took place during that time and can be done as 1 lesson. I think in some ways it is disregarded within the curriculum as people are still not sure it took place. It did and should be taught as part of the curriculum.
  13. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    Surely it does get taught as part of the WW2 topic. Otherwise you are missing out a fairly huge part of the war.

    As for people not being sure it took place . . . .well, I'm lucky enough never to have met anyone so stupid to make that comment.
  14. Interesting nugget to spark a discussion might be that WW2 was fought over territory, not over human rights abuses.
    I think that when the Blitz/evacuees (the focus I remember from Primary school) and the Holocaust (something I remember from KS3 only) are taught together, children put them together in their minds. It seems only logical that if somone is committing atrocities that they should be stopped. A lot of children I came across held the idea that concentration camps were responsible for WW2 beginning rather than a parallel to it.
    It is a difficult subject to teach, but I think it's important that children have an awareness of it; they don't need an in-depth understanding of the grisliest details though.
  15. That is what I am saying, the in depth horrible bits don't need to be taught, but if you look at my initial comment there are ways of teaching this topic without going into the horrible bits, but it should be taught at KS2. I learnt it then and in KS1 as well as in secondary.
  16. This is a very interesting discussion.
    Last year i taught a year 6 class where the majority of the boys where very interested in war and in Hitler. I was very surprised that despite the fact that they had done a WW2 topic in year 4 many of them saw Hitler as a hero!
    I felt very strongly that this should not continue so we did a mini topic on the Hitler, his beliefs and the holocaust. Many of the children were shocked and in some cases took a while to believe that their 'hero' was no such thing.
    As for me, i couldn't believe that chilren who had done a ww2 topic would not have learned about this aspect but on closer discussion realised that they had focussed almost entirely on the home front, evacuees and rationing!
    This is not what education is about - education is about research and finding all revelent facts not about avoiding difficult issues.
    Good luck with your topic and with your research.
  17. Thanks for all the comments.

  18. The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is an amazing book and film, but please be aware that the film version is a 12, I don't know how it works but I would assume you will need parental permission for them to view a film that has been classified above their age, or does it not matter if it's for educational purposes?

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