Deepening the Practice of Teaching the Holocaust: The New England Satellite Seminar at UMass Amherst
Conducted with the support of The Olga Lengyel Institute (TOLI) and the Western Massachusetts Writing Project, this seminar brings together teachers from across New England who are looking to deepen their practice of teaching the Holocaust, other genocides, and social justice issues. Participants will take an inquiry-based, multi-disciplinary approach to their study of the Holocaust and more recent genocides. They will use writing as both a reflective practice and a vehicle for engaging with texts and film in order to understand how stories can inspire resistance, remembrance, and reflection on tragic historical events. As a learning community, teachers will collaborate to analyze and reflect on questions of morality, ethics, and social justice. In addition to teacher-facilitators, local scholars and authors who have used writing to explore and understand atrocities, their causes, and their impact will present to the group. Teachers will return to their classrooms with the tools they need to engage students in meaningful study of these difficult issues, and to help them develop critical thinking skills, deepen their writing, and see themselves as agents of change who can have a positive impact on the world around them.
Cara Crandall, an English Language Arts teacher in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, has been an educator for 25 years. She has taught about the Holocaust and social justice throughout her career, which includes her leadership work through the Holocaust Educators Network. She attended the Memorial Library New York Summer Seminar in 2013 and has co-led the New England Satellite Seminar since 2015. In March 2016, Cara participated in TOLI’s bi-national seminar on Holocaust education in Innsbruck, Austria. She received her PhD in Language, Literacy, and Culture at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in the spring of 2016. Cara recently published two articles that examine adolescent literacy practices and critical pedagogy.
Paula Mercier is the assistant principal at Kearsarge Regional Middle School in North Sutton, New Hampshire. She previously taught English for 16 years, with a focus on social justice and Holocaust content. Paula also serves on the Leadership Team of the New Hampshire National Writing Project. She participated in the Memorial Library New York City Summer Seminar in 2010 and has co-led the New England Satellite Seminar since 2015. Along with her co-leader, Cara Crandall, Paula participated in TOLI’s bi-national Holocaust education seminar in Innsbruck, Austria in March 2016.