Holocaust Education, Anti‐racism and Citizenship

Download Holocaust Education, Anti‐racism and Citizenship

Post on 15-Apr-2017

215 views

Category:

Documents

3 download

TRANSCRIPT

  • This article was downloaded by: [Florida State University]On: 20 December 2014, At: 03:18Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    Educational ReviewPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cedr20

    Holocaust Education, Antiracismand CitizenshipBruce Carrington a & Geoffrey Short ba Department of Education , University of Newcastleb School of Humanities, Languages and Education ,University of HertfordshirePublished online: 20 Aug 2006.

    To cite this article: Bruce Carrington & Geoffrey Short (1997) HolocaustEducation, Antiracism and Citizenship, Educational Review, 49:3, 271-282, DOI:10.1080/0013191970490306

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0013191970490306

    PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE

    Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information(the Content) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor& Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warrantieswhatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of theContent. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions andviews of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. Theaccuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should be independentlyverified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liablefor any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages,and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly inconnection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content.

    This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

    http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cedr20http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/0013191970490306http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0013191970490306http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

  • Educational Review, Vol. 49, No. 3, 1997 271

    Holocaust Education, Anti-racism andCitizenship

    BRUCE CARRINGTON, Department of Education, University of NewcastleGEOFFREY SHORT, School of Humanities, Languages and Education, Universityof Hertfordshire

    ABSTRACT In this paper we assess the potential of Holocaust education as amedium for developing 'maximalist' notions of citizenship among students of secondaryschool age. Particular attention is given to the contribution that such teaching canmake to the realisation of anti-racist goals. Because of the dearth of published work inthe UK on the effects of learning about the Holocaust, we present the findings of acase study of 14 and 15 year olds' perceptions of this aspect of curricular provision.The case study, which forms the empirical core of the paper, was undertaken in 1996.The sample, comprising both males and females from a variety of ethnic backgrounds,was drawn form six secondary schools in South East England. The discussion focusesupon: (i) the impact of Holocaust education on the students' understanding of racism(and, in particular, their ability to recognise and deconstruct stereotypes); (ii) thestudents' opinions on the value of Holocaust education in preparing young people foractive citizenship in a participatory pluralist democracy. We conclude by exploring thepedagogic implications of the study.

    Introduction

    The Holocaust is currently part of Key Stage 3 of the history National Curriculumin England and Wales and, according to a recent survey (Short, 1995), is most likelyto be taught to 13 and 14 year olds at the end of Year 9. Its inclusion in thecurriculum can be justified on a variety of grounds. If taught properly, it can makean invaluable contribution to the general development of the skills, attitudesand dispositions usually associated with 'maximalist' notions of citizenship in aparticipatory democracy (see McLaughlin, 1992). More specifically, it has an import-ant role to play in anti-racist pedagogy. As well as providing an ideal context forteaching about anti-Semitism, the Holocaust can contribute to anti-racist goals byhelping students to understand that ethnic and cultural prejudice and discriminationcan take diverse forms. As Landau (1989, p. 20) has pointed out, Holocausteducation not only as the potential 'to civilise and humanise our students', it has'the power to sensitise them to the dangers of indifference, intolerance, racism andthe dehumanisation of others'.

    This potential, however, has yet to be recognised by many anti-racist educators.In the UK anti-racists, with a few notable exceptions (e.g. Cohen, 1988; Rattansi,1992; Gillborn, 1995), have been criticised for their narrow focus on the issues of

    0013-1911/97/030271-12 1997 Educational Review

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Flor

    ida

    Stat

    e U

    nive

    rsity

    ] at

    03:

    18 2

    0 D

    ecem

    ber

    2014

  • 272 B. Carrington & G. Short

    'colour and class' and, concomitantly, for displaying a lack of sensitivity to ethnicand cultural difference (Modood, 1992). Their overriding concern with colour andclass has also meant a lack of interest in anti-Semitism in general and the Holocaustin particular (e.g. Short, 1991, 1994; Short & Carrington, 1995). Similar criticismshave been levelled against anti-racist pedagogy in North America (see Bonnett &Carrington, 1996). In Canada, for example, Reed (1993) has urged racist educatorsto render problematical 'all forms of racialization and discrimination' and to broadentheir remit to include anti-Semitism.

    Despite its introduction in 1990 as one of the five 'cross-curricular themes' in theNational Curriculum, citizenship education has not been given a high priority byprimary or secondary schools in England and Wales (see for example Fogelman,1992; Whitty et al. 1992; Siraj-Blatchford & Siraj-Blatchford, 1995). The low take-up of citizenship education (and the other cross-curricular themes) can be attributedto two main factors. The first relates to their status, being 'matters of guidance andnot of statute' (Fogelman, 1992, p. 160), while the second relates to the low level ofofficial support given to cross-curricular teaching generally. The latter has, in fact,been derided by a number of highly influential New Right commentators (e.g.O'Hear, 1991), who remain committed to more traditional pedagogic approachesand a curriculum based upon a strong classification and framing of educationalknowledge (Bernstein, 1975).

    A low take-up rate, however, is only part of the problem, for considerablecontroversy continues to surround the official guidelines on citizenship education[e.g. National Curriculum Council (NCC), 1990; Office for Standards in Education(OfSTED), 1994]. Such controversy might be thought inevitable, for the concept of'citizenship' itself is a problematical one, open to a wide range of interpretationsand meanings. It comes as no surprise, therefore, to find that some commentatorshave either roundly condemned the guidance for its minimalism or for buttressingthe status quo (e.g. Haste, 1996, cited in The Times Educational Supplement, 12 July,p. 7; Carr, 1991). Consider, for example, Carr's (1991) criticisms of the NationalCurriculum Council's Education for Citizenship (NCC, 1990). He argued that thedocument 'conspicuously fails to offer any guidance about how the concept ofcitizenship should be interpreted and understood'. As a result, he claimed, 'there isa real risk that "Education for Citizenship" will become an empty slogan and, inpractice, become little more than passive socialisation into the political status quo'(1991, p. 374).

    Other commentators have been somewhat more generous in their appraisal of thepolicy document in question. McLaughlin (1992), for instance, attempts to showthat it embodies both 'minimalist' and 'maximalist' notions of 'citizenship', whichhe defines in the following manner. Citizenship, from a minimalist standpoint, isseen 'merely in formal, legal, juridicial terms', whereas from a maximalist standpoint

    this identity is seen as a richer thing than (say) the possession by a personof a passport, the right to vote and an unreflective 'nationality'. Identityon these fuller views is conceived in social, cultural and psychologicalterms. Thus, the citizen must have a consciousness of him or herself as amember of a living community with a shared democratic culture involvingobligations and responsibilities as well as rights, a sense of common good,fraternity and so on. (1992, p. 236)

    He stresses that the document cannot be read 'in an unambiguously maximalist

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Flor

    ida

    Stat

    e U

    nive

    rsity

    ] at

    03:

    18 2

    0 D

    ecem

    ber

    2014

  • Holocaust Education TTi

    way', for it fails to offer 'a clear and detailed account of its fundamental aims andprinciples' (1992, p. 239).

    Ambiguities are also evident in those sections of the document dealing withteaching about 'a pluralist society'. At first glance, the advice dispensed wouldappear to be predicated upon a maximalist notion of citizenship, for schools areenjoined to teach about such matters as 'the similarities and differences betweengroups and their effects' 'Britain as a multicultural, multiethnic, multifaith andmultilingual society', 'the diversity of cultures in other societies' or 'the origins andeffects of racial prejudice within British and other societies' (NCC, 1990, p. 6).However, an alternative reading is possible, as David Gillborn's (1995) critique hasshown. Admonishing Education for Citizenship for failing to take full cognisance ofthe structural dimensions of racism, he argues that the guidance offered 'is at bestweak and superficial, at worst, a recipe for new racist analyses of cultural differencethat place the "blame" for racism on the alien "newcomers"' (1995, p. 136).

    Similar criticisms can be levelled against subsequent official guidelines, such asthe discussion paper, Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (OfSTED,1994). Yet, while some parts of the paper are clearly congruent with a minimalistview of citizenship (see White, 1994), other lend themselves more readily to amaximalist interpretation. Although the paper does not include any direct referencesto racism, it does advocate giving students the opportunity to explore 'local, nationaland world issues' relating to 'the individual and the communityrights, duties andresponsibilities; war and peace; human rights; exploitation and aid; medical ethics;environmental issues [and] equal opportunities [sex, race, disability and class]'(OfSTED, 1994, p. 14).

    Teaching about the Holocaust can provide a meaningful context for raising anumber of these issues. In particular, the subject lends itself to developing in studentsa global perspective in respect of human rights. It should help them to appreciatethat human rights violations, on grounds of 'race', ethnicity, nationality or religion,can ultimately lead to genocide. In addition, such teaching may serve to deepentheir understanding of both the causes and consequences of such stereotyping andscapegoating. But while an expanded knowledge of racism may be a necessarycondition of active citizenship in a participatory democracy, it is clearly notsufficient. Students will also need to reflect upon the strategies needed to combat it.Discussion should, of course, form an integral part of Holocaust education.

    There has been a dearth of research in the UK on Holocaust education. Apartfrom Carrie Supple's (1992) seminal curriculum development work in North EastEngland and Short's (op. cit.) survey of teachers' attitudes and practices in theSouth East of England, we are not aware of any published evaluation of suchteaching. Certainly, nothing is known about the effects of Holocaust education onstudents' notions of citizenship or their understanding of human rights issues, suchas racism. The case study, which we now describe, constitutes a modest attempt toplug this gap in the literature.

    The Case Study

    The young people approached during the course of the research were aged between14 and 16 (Year 10) and had studied the Holocaust the previous year. The samplewas an opportunist one, selected primarily for reasons related to access. It comprised43 individuals (21 males and 22 females) drawn from six urban secondary schools

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Flor

    ida

    Stat

    e U

    nive

    rsity

    ] at

    03:

    18 2

    0 D

    ecem

    ber

    2014

  • 274 B. Carrington & G. Short

    in South East England. Two of the schools were Catholic (with voluntary-aidedstatus) while the remainder were maintained by a local education authority. Abouthalf the sample belonged to 'visible' minority groups, with 17 having a South Asianbackground and two originating in the Caribbean. There was also one Arab andone Moroccan. All had opted to take history at GCSE level. Individual semi-structured interviews, conducted during the summer term 1996, provided the primarymeans of data collection.

    Methodology

    The researcher (Geoffrey Short) introduced himself to the students as someone whowas interested in their personal responses to learning about the Holocaust. He theninvited volunteers to talk him on a one-to-one basis about their perception of thisaspect of the curriculum. The students were told that the interviews should not beconstrued as a 'test' of any kind and that they could terminate the interviews at anytime of their choosing. [In the event, none chose to exercise this right; indeed, everyquestion was answered willingly.] The students were also given an assurance thatappropriate steps would be taken to maintain both their personal and institutionalanonymity. Pseudonyms are used throughout the case study.

    Each individual was presented with a series of set questions (see Appendix) whichsought to explore: (i) their knowledge of the Holocaust; (ii) their attitude towardsdifferent means of preventing a repetition; (iii) their ability to make connectionsbetween the Holocaust and other forms of racism; (iv) their perception of the widerbenefits of such teaching, particularly in relation to the development of skills,attitudes and dispositions associated with maximalist notions of citizenship.

    In our discussion of the findings which now follows, we consider the students'responses in the latter three categories only, since these are particularly germane toour present concerns in relation to anti-racist pedagogy and education for citizenship.We begin by discussing the students' understanding of the processes of stereotypingand scapegoating.

    The Findings

    Stereotyping and Scapegoating

    Arguably, the ability to engage critically with 'text' (visual, written and spoken) isone of the defining features of 'p...

Recommended

View more >