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Holocaust Museum Program Provided Vital Resources, Connections for Indiana Institute

Now is the time to apply for the 2016 Holocaust Institute for Teacher Educators (HITE), a week-long, all-expenses-paid professional development opportunity in Washington, DC, in June. Applications are due February 15!

This year, for the first time, the event is open to interested faculty members from any AACTE member institution. HITE is supported by a long-standing partnership between the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and AACTE. If you or a colleague is interested in applying, don’t delay—complete your application today!

To give a sense of what you might gain from this special opportunity, I invited 2010 participant Steven Carr of Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne to explain the benefits HITE has brought to his program and state. Here is his response:

Indiana’s Holocaust education mandate requires each high school U.S. history course to include something on the Holocaust. Either 5 minutes on Liberation or a 2-week in-depth examination of Nazi anti-Semitism would fulfill the mandate. While any requirement to teach the Holocaust is a good start, mandates alone do not ensure that this material will be taught well. Institutional resources like the HITE program at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum play an essential role in bringing some clarity for how to teach this history both responsibly and with sensitivity.

The museum’s HITE training proved invaluable to helping our university launch one of Indiana’s only academic centers devoted to Holocaust and Genocide studies. These programs helped me personally gain accurate knowledge of this history. One of the first things I realized is that there is no one-size-fits-all method for teaching the material. Intensive discussions with both museum professionals and fellow educators helped promote deeper thinking about how to tailor effective and innovative strategies for teaching this unique history in a variety of educational contexts.

The HITE training also helped us establish and maintain essential human networks, connecting me to museum personnel eager to share its rich and diverse resources, but also to other educators outside Indiana sharing equal passion for effective Holocaust pedagogy. With so many digital resources, including those freely available from the museum, there is still no substitute for being a part of a professional community devoted to thinking deeply about how we all can make teaching this subject matter better.

One of the most important and direct developments to come out of our participation in HITE is our university’s upcoming symposium on Holocaust education this May. The first statewide event devoted to training preservice teachers in effective Holocaust pedagogy, this effort would not have been possible without the many resources available to us over the years through this involvement. If you know of a future Indiana teacher with some interest in Holocaust education, please refer them to ipfw.edu/ihgs for more information.

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Zachary VanHouten

Manager of Programs and Advocacy, AACTE