The Olga Lengyel Institute (TOLI) and The Memorial Library – in cooperation with the Bulgarian Ministry of Education, American University in Bulgaria, and the Israel-Bulgaria Institute – organize annual summer seminars for educators from across the country.
Entitled Learning about the Past – Acting for the Future: Teaching about the Holocaust and Social Justice, the seminars aim to enrich the quality of Holocaust and social justice education in Bulgaria. They provide a meaningful opportunity for participants to integrate national and international pedagogical approaches in the teaching of these challenging topics and in conveying the contemporary relevance of the Holocaust to their students.
The inaugural seminar took place in Blagoevgrad from July 26-30, 2015. It brought together 45 high school and middle school teachers to hear from internationally renowned lecturers, interface with survivors, and think creatively and collaboratively about how to teach the Holocaust and the broad issue of social injustice in their schools. Participating educators exchanged ideas, approaches, and challenges with their colleagues, and had the opportunity to engage with new teaching methodologies to help their students approach the study of this difficult topic.
Following the success of the first seminar, TOLI and the Library organized a second seminar from July 24-28, 2016 for a new cadre of 35 teachers from around the country. A program for 2017 is now in the works.
Program Objectives & Methodology
The methodology of the summer seminars in Bulgaria is learner-centered, a teaching model based on the principles of experiential learning and a human rights-based approach.
- Develop teacher awareness of historical and current dialectical discussions concerning the Holocaust and other instances of social injustice;
- Develop teacher understanding of the impact stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination have on the individual, group, and societal levels;
- Develop teacher understanding of Jewish life before and after the Holocaust;
- Increase teacher appreciation for innovative, student-centered teaching methods, including extracurricular activities and partnerships between schools, and other institutions and organizations; and
- Promote a blended approach to Holocaust education and Human Rights education.