Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Holocaust teacher training June 13


Valencia professor Paul Chapman will be one of the presenters at the 2016 Teachers Institute. He will be leading a discussion about pluralism in the modern world.

In May 1994 the Florida legislature passed a statute requiring all schools to provide specific Holocaust education to their students. The statute states that it should be taught "in a manner that leads to an investigation of human behavior, an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping, and an examination of what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purposes of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society and for nurturing and protecting democratic values and institutions."

Implementing this mandate has proved challenging. Tight school district budgets, an increasing emphasis on standardized tests, and other pressing concerns have made it difficult for classroom teachers to adequately fulfill this requirement.

The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida helps address this need with a comprehensive Teachers Institute on Holocaust Studies each June. This year's institute will be held Monday through Friday, June 13 through 17, at the Holocaust Center in Maitland. The registration is $100, which covers the cost of materials and lunches for all four days. An early registration fee of $75. is offered until June 1; some scholarships and subsidies are available.

The goal of this Institute is to train educators to teach the Holocaust responsibly, and to use this history to teach about prejudice, racism and bigotry. Even experienced teachers benefit from the institute's information and material that provide both in-depth knowledge of Holocaust history and mastery of the most effective teaching strategies. Educators are able to share their knowledge with their students, and can use their expanded information to inspire students to think about the power of each person to create a more just community.

This year, the Institute's 21st year, attendees will have access to information, strategies and resources tailored for elementary, middle and high school curricula. Emphasis will be on providing educators with professional development so they can increase both their skill and their confidence in teaching about how the Holocaust developed over time in the heart of a civilized and cultured society, and the lessons that must be learned in order to make "never again" a continuing reality.

A particular focus will be on the state mandate and on strategies that not only meet the legislature's goals, but also help teachers to make sure that their Holocaust lessons will fulfill the requirements Florida's revised education standards and fit into the broadest range of course offerings.

Written evaluations from teachers attending the institute in the past show a very high level of satisfaction with their experience. Not only has it provided them with practical training and teaching strategies, it has also inspired new ways to have a lasting impact upon their students.


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