This is for teachers in the social science classroom and meets some of the common core standards that fall under the ELA realm for social science. The topic of this book is the Holocaust and genocide.
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Cab Be Useful As Part of Larger Lesson on Genocide
I study genocide, so I was curious to see what the author put together for her own and other students. Teaching the concept and history of genocides past and present to chidren is a difficult challenge and must be done thoughtfully with great care. To that end, I appreciate the activity Jamie Nash-Mayberry presents here to get her students thinking and drwaing connections to what they learn.
It should not be used as a stadalone lesson but, rather, an activity that builds upon a series of previous lessons explaining what genocide is, as coined by Raphael Lemkin, as well as a historical overview of World War II and the Holocaust. I imagine this was the author’s intention... to build upon prior lessons and encourage reflection.
To that end, it is nice to see the use of Nazi propaganda illuminating Stanton’s 8 Stages of Genocide. This will help student’s connect the ways in which genocidal architects in a Nation State attempt to prime their populations for the permanent elimination of a manufacured “enemy”. Attempts to brainwash the general population into believing they have a common enemy whose intention is to destroy all the “good” people who are the "true citizens" of the State is a hallmark of genocide. It allows people to falsely view mass murder as a form of national self-defense, a necessary evil to save all that the “enemy” would destroy.
Students can see examples of propaganda in relation to the 8 Stages of Genocide, and the audio by Nash-Mayberry is great for helping students understand how to observe, reflect, tie-in to what they learned about the Holocaust and Stages of genocide, and engage in a bit of analysis and critical thinking. So, clearly, the lesson is best for mature learners who can handle it -I’m thiniking high school kids, but possibly a grade or two below if done at the end of an intensive series of lessons on WWII and the Holocaust.
A good follow-up to this lesson for older students would be to examine the purpose behind States creating and encouraging “enemy” imagery. What role does “enemy" imagery play in genocidal propaganda? Can students find and compare examples from several different genocides to see how they function similarly in the context of Stanton’s 8 Stages of Genocide? How does this help us understand the evolution of genocide? How does this help us consider early identification of impending genocides before murders occur? What are the implications for preventing emergent genocides or the re-emergence of genocide in countries with histories of cycles of genocide? How can people and society recover after genocide and overcome polarized ideas of the “enemy” -what are the implications for peace building? These are all good talking points for students.