A Post-It note from the Programme Director: 9 October

The Autumn Term is marching on and in a couple of weeks our new MOOC ‘Teaching the Holocaust: Innovative approaches to the challenges we face’, opens!

UCL Centre for Holocaust Education and Yad Vashem have come together to create a unique MOOC that offers educators innovative approaches to the challenges presented when teaching about the Holocaust. We start on 26th October and together we’ll explore the history, delve into pedagogical challenges revealed by research, and find practical solutions for teaching about the Holocaust. Teachers from all over the world are joining us for this and so the conversations you engage in and connections you make will have that important international dimension.

You can register here for your FREE place (which are going fast).

I really encourage you to take part and when you do register, don’t keep this great opportunity to yourself! Share the news with your colleagues. It can be as easy as tweeting:  ‘I’ve just registered for a FREE, research-informed #MOOC course from @UCL_Holocaust @yadvashem #FLHolocaustEd Looking forward to getting started… RT’

Thank you – we are keen to get an outstanding group of educators for our first cohort!

During this first week of October two important dates must not go unmentioned.

Monday (5th October) saw the celebration of World Teachers’ Day. This day gives due recognition and praise to teaching professionals. It commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 Recommendations Concerning the Status of Teachers which affirms the life-changing role that teachers play in the lives of children, their families and their communities. This year’s commemoration highlights the leadership and innovation of teachers during the Covid-19 crisis.

We, at the Centre have witnessed this remarkable contribution time and time again through the direct contact we have with teachers and senior leaders of our Beacon School Programme in Holocaust Education and their wider networks. It is no exaggeration to say that teachers have performed miracles over these Covid months in order to get students through exams, support their wellbeing and ensure that no learner is left behind. Teachers have put themselves at risk to do their job of putting students first.

Tony Cole, is one such teacher. His considerable efforts to support his students at a Pupil Referral Unit in Essex during the pandemic were cut short only when he himself, contracted Covid-19. The virus hit him badly and he suffered serious complications. Thankfully, after several months he is nearly back to normal but still suffers from ‘long Covid’. What was so remarkable was that as soon as Tony was through the worst he went straight back to work, giving safeguarding calls and remote help to his most vulnerable students. We wish Tony the very best and all other teachers who are facing similar challenges and going beyond the norm to provide vital support to the students in their care.

The second important date was yesterday – 8th October. It was on this day, 78 years ago, that London-born Leon Greenman and his family were arrested at their home in Rotterdam in Holland.  It marked the beginning-of-the-end for them, as what happened on this day brought about the turning point that eventually led them to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where only Leon would survive.

It was late in the evening and all were in bed (Leon, his wife Else, their two year-old son Barney and Else’s grandmother), when a violent knock on the door woke them. Two men in uniforms worn by Fascist Dutch police entered the house. One shone a torch in Leon’s eyes and ordered him and the family to get dressed and leave their home. They were to be taken away to an unknown destination with other Jewish families arrested that night. Leon tried to resist but it was to no avail. Leon later recalled:

I felt utterly helpless, I was on my own, with no help from my government, no help from God..’.

Leon’s testimony features in many of the student lessons, teacher training sessions and courses created by the Centre including the new MOOC which as stated above, opens on the 26th October and also next week’s 1 hour zoom CPD session with Dr Tom Howard on ‘Legacies of the Holocaust’  –  14th October, at 4.15pm. Please join us.

Booking via: https://www.holocausteducation.org.uk/courses/2020/10/legacies-holocaust/

Have a good weekend

Ruth-Anne

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