Independent thinking

The Centre for Holocaust Education is the only specialist institute supporting teachers in the classroom with the best in contemporary research.

Through CPD, resources and our Beacon Schools we help teachers to deepen students’ understanding of the Holocaust so they can think for themselves.

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UCL Centre for Holocaust Education fully supports IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism. image

UCL Centre for Holocaust Education fully supports IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism.

We are resolute in our commitment to challenge and address antisemitism in all its forms and manifestations.


A model of independent learning

Our lesson 'Being human?' is a perfect tool for nurturing independent learners, incorporating a variety of learning styles. It helps teachers to:

1 Take account of pupils' prior thinking

Uncover preconceptions

Individually, pupils suggest what kind of people they think were the killers and collaborators, bystanders and rescuers.

This tends to reveal a range of stereotypes and misconceptions, from mad, evil monsters to heroes.

2 Focus on evidence

Test the ideas

In small groups, the pupils test their prior thinking and expectations against a range of historical case studies, examining the situations faced by real people.

They discuss and debate the dilemmas and decisions, beliefs and motivations of people in the past.

3 Embrace complexity

Expectations versus evidence

Contrasting their research findings to their prior expectations, pupils discover that the past is far more complex, nuanced and troubling than they had imagined.

They see how easily ordinary people - not monsters or psychopaths - can become complicit in genocide.

More on independent learning

How much do you know?

  1. If a German soldier refused an instruction to kill Jews, then most likely they would be…

  2. What is the approximate percentage of Jewish children in occupied Europe who were murdered during the Holocaust?

  3. In 1933 the total population of Germany was 67 million. What percentage of the population was Jewish?

  4. Of almost half a million Jews sent to the Nazi camp Belzec, what percentage survived?

  5. Which of the Nazis’ victims were the first to rise up in armed urban resistance against their oppressors?

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“The most challenging, inspiring and useful CPD you will ever do.”

Jane, Head of History, Bolton