Sunday, October 04, 2009
As with other key stages, emotional engagement is necessary to challenge mindsets. The rigour of historical methods of enquiry is essential, but not powerful enough in themselves to necessarily overcome prejudice and stereotyping. Emotional engagement forms a significant partner in the structuring of activities. The use of local history, reconstructions, a focus on child labour and making deliberate links to the present is how one history department seeks to hook pupils' personal engagement.Boiling it down, after establishing your authority as a 'teacher,' the first task is to set the agenda: Don't raise the question of whether it is/was right for UN commissioners to divide another people's land, just simply give your
As part of the teaching of Arab-Israeli coursework at Abraham Moss School in Manchester, students take on the role of UN commissioners given the task of dividing Palestine in the late 1940s. They are reminded of the horrors of the Holocaust and the likely impact on world opinion. The students also consider how the survivors of the Holocaust would respond to the question Why did I survive? and how that might have impacted on the desire for a Jewish state. A timeline of events and information about who lived in the area and attitudes of different organisations, states and peoples are provided to help pupils consider the division of land. Given the predominance of Muslim pupils in the School and the existence of potential anti-Jewish sentiment or ignorance of Jewish culture, this task presents a complex challenge. The results are very interesting. The vast majority of students partition the land evenly between Arabs and Jews, even though the Jewish population was far smaller, and they establish Jerusalem as a neutral zone. The reasons pupils give for their decisions vary, but they are predominantly associated with the following: issues of fairness, acknowledgement of the suffering of the Jews in the Holocaust, a recognition that Jews had lived in the region for centuries before the Arabs, and a desire to find a solution where both sides could live in peace.
See also: The "General Eisenhower Warned Us" Hoax
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