Teaching the Holocaust with survivor testimonies. : Survivor testimonies and the absence of victims’ voices in Uruguayan and Argentinian syllabi and textbooks on the Holocaust.
Abstract: The aim of this research is to analyse whether the educational materials available to teachers of history at secondary level in Uruguay and Argentina, are appropriate for the objective of teaching the Holocaust through the emotional engagement of students with the content. More specifically, I argue that witness testimonies, when they are included in the materials and used as providers of meaning and insight, in complement to the historian narratives and not merely as decoration, have the potential to produce effective and durable learning through emotional engagement. This assessment is justified by Kieran Egan’s theory of education, which advances a cognitive development model that identifies stages determined by the tools of cognition that are most effective at the time. The stages corresponding to secondary level education highlight the value and effectiveness a humanized approach rooted in conceptual categories that allow the creation of schemas can have. This research will analyse syllabi and textbooks to verify whether these tools of cognition are engaged, through testimony, to provide meaningful learning. The method chosen to conduct this research is content analysis, which is used to test for the absence or presence of specific codes in texts. The results of this research yielded the conclusion that the materials fail to take advantage of witness testimony to provide emotional engagement, which contributes to the silencing of the voices of the victims in the narrative of the Holocaust.
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