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11 April 2018

Interactions – Education with Testimonies

A new educational resource was launched this week pushing past 'best practices' by demonstrating 'next practices' in Holocaust Education.

This week Volume 4 in the series Education with Testimonies officially launched at the Austrian Embassy in Berlin, Germany. Modestly titled, Interactions: Explorations of Good Practice in Educational Work with Video Testimonies of Victims of National Socialism the publication offers readers a truly international perspective on the complexities and practicalities of using recorded testimony with a diverse range of learners.

It is the culmination of a cooperation between Austrian – based Erinnern.at and the German Foundation EVZ  and features contributions from Austria, Germany, Canada, England, Israel, the Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, and USA among others. I feel honoured to have my writing included in this volume whose roots extend back to an international conference organized and facilitated by Erinnern.at in January 2017 which comprehensively grappled with the issues – both challenges and opportunities – that result from using recorded testimony for educational purposes. My contribution deals with the use of  of recorded testimony excerpts  for English Language Learners (ELL) programs. It is a program I developed in my work at the Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre and is conducted by our educational team at Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada – or LINC schools as they are commonly known – in Toronto. The program combines pedagogical methods for language acquisition with citizenship education, focusing primarily on the integration experiences of Holocaust survivors in Canada. It is through this lens that newcomers learn how and why Holocaust survivors immigrated to Canada, how they learnt English as well as new customs, and integrated in the fabric of Canadian society while maintaining their own sense of identity.

Having now read the entire collection of articles, I can say that the methods and practices discussed in this publication go beyond simply being “good” practices for teaching about the Holocaust. Rather, they are examples of “next” practices in education that will excite and inspire educators to try new and innovative approaches ensuring that the voice of the survivor remains a core component in Holocaust education.

This is an ideal book for teachers and educators to read over the summer months and they are certain to find many examples that can be utilized in their own classroom or educational setting. Print copies of the book- edited by Werner Dreier, Angelika Laumer, and Mortiz Wein – will be available from booksellers, but it is also available as a no-charge download in PDF format thanks to the vision of the editors and publisher.  Make this one of your must-reads for summer 2018!

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Carson Phillips, Ph.D.

Written byCarson Phillips, Ph.D.

Carson Phillips holds a Ph.D. in Humanities from York University, Toronto, Canada and is Managing Director of the Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre. He served as a Canadian delegate to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance from 2009-2014 and currently continues as an advisor to the Funding Review Committee. In addition, he is an adjunct faculty member in Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Gratz College, USA.

He is the recipient of numerous scholarly awards including the 2013 BMW Canada Award for Excellence from the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies. His research interests focus on post-Holocaust conceptualisations of gender, Väterliteratur and cultural representations of the Holocaust in screen and visual culture.