Understanding Our Approach
At Facing History and Ourselves, we give students the tools to become active, thoughtful, and responsible citizens, who engage critically with the world around them. We do so by providing students with opportunities to engage with the complexities of identity, to explore how difference can influence our treatment of others, and to reflect on the impact and consequences of our choices and actions, alongside core curriculum content. This learning, which encourages students to understand their interconnectedness with others and their individual agency, is supported through a range of activities and teaching strategies that develop students’ critical reading and thinking, negotiation, collaboration, and active listening skills. These strategies work to promote democracy in the classroom, creating a safe space where difficult conversations can be had and where students can learn to disagree constructively. Students are thus provided with the tools to participate in their communities, so that they can bring about the changes they would like to see and help create a kind and compassionate society.
Using This Unit to Help Us Understand Ourselves and Our World
Teaching Holocaust and Human Behaviour leads students through a unit of study that examines the catastrophic period in the twentieth century when Nazi Germany murdered 6 million Jews and millions of other civilians, in the midst of the most destructive war in human history. Following our unique methodology, students take a parallel journey through an exploration of the universal themes inherent in a study of the Holocaust that raise profound questions about human behaviour.
Throughout the unit, students will pay special attention to the choices of individuals who experienced this history as victims, witnesses, collaborators, rescuers, and perpetrators. This approach to teaching about the Holocaust helps students make connections between history and the consequences of our actions and beliefs today – between history and how we as individuals make distinctions between right and wrong, good and evil. As students examine the steps that led to the Holocaust, they discover that history is not inevitable; it is the result of our individual and collective decisions.
This unit is designed to be used in Year 9 of Key Stage 3. We have indicated in places where activities can be scaffolded to address different literacy levels and we trust that teachers will continue to adapt activities and resources to best meet the needs of their students.