Guidance to lesson materials

We have created a series of lessons around the novel After the War. These lessons are aimed at students in Years 7 and 8, across a range of subjects: History, RS, SMSC and English. They enable teachers to support and guide their students through the novel, gaining historical knowledge and understanding of the experiences of ‘The Boys’ during the persecution and murder of Europe’s Jews in the Holocaust. They also provide opportunities to explore a number of the themes raised in the novel such as the resilience demonstrated by these child survivors and the role of faith for example. All of our lessons draw upon extracts from the novel and the testimony of a number of ‘The Boys’.

  • Extracts from the novel are used throughout the lesson materials. The relationship that the reader has with the central characters will encourage enquiry, students will want to learn about the historical context in which Jewish children across Europe were persecuted and their families murdered. Also by including short extracts of the novel throughout the lesson materials we hope to help teachers to promote reading for pleasure with their students.
  • Survivor testimony is also used all of the lessons. The author of After the War used this to inform his characters and their experiences and its inclusion throughout these lessons gives students the opportunity to see those persecuted by the Nazis as individuals, with lives and families before the Holocaust. Where extracts from testimony are used in the History lessons for example, the name, place and year of birth is given for each Boy, students will then be able to locate a number of these birth places should they wish to on the accompanying map. Access the map to accompany these materials on the Map page.
  • Learner centred approach – All of our materials encourage student enquiry and reflection as they grapple with this difficult history and some of the complex and challenging questions that it raises. It is important that students are able to have time and space to reflect upon this material and feel safe enough to ask questions.
  • Multidisciplinary approach – These materials provide opportunities to adopt a multidisciplinary approach to teaching and learning about the Holocaust in your school. The Holocaust raises important moral, theological, and ethical questions that students can explore in a range of subjects, drawing upon different areas of expertise.

Research informed – These materials have also been informed by our research, to ensure that we deepen knowledge and understanding of the experiences of The Boys and challenge some of the common misconceptions and misunderstandings that we identified in our 2016 student research. Access our research briefings here.

Online adaptation

All of our lesson materials are designed to be suitable for face to face delivery in the classroom or for online teaching and learning. Our lesson plans are written as a guide, recognising the expertise of teachers in adapting materials to suit both their specific contexts and the needs of their students. Each lesson includes a PowerPoint containing clear instructions, stimuli and discussion points. These are available to use during synchronous online teaching regardless of the preferred platform for delivery. Each lesson also includes extracts of testimony, extracts from the novel and contextual information and resource sheets. These could be shared with students as an asynchronous learning activity or as extended student self-directed learning opportunities.

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