Meaningful Encounters: Preparing Educators to Teach Holocaust Literature
Teaching about the Holocaust presents one of the most formidable challenges teachers face. Meaningful Encounters is Paula Ressler and Becca Chase's contribution to the efforts of those educators who wish to meet this challenge more knowledgeably and effectively. It tells the story of a unique, inquiry-based English teacher education course focused on Holocaust literature from several genres that integrated literacy pedagogies and literary criticism with historical, philosophical, psychological, and political theories and contexts. The book involves the reader in the complicated tangle of Holocaust education, critically illuminating how difficult this work is, but also demonstrating how teachers can introduce their students responsibly and ethically to this perennially relevant body of literature. The authors offer no facile solutions to the obstacles and pitfalls inherent in teaching this literature. They raise questions, pose problems, consider and analyze how participants responded to issues that emerged, and suggest alternative approaches. The authors recount the students' and teacher's unsettling and enlightening experiences, failures, and successes. By following along, preservice educators will be able to conceptualize, discuss, and practice, and inservice teachers and teacher educators rethink, how to teach Holocaust and other literatures about genocide and mass atrocities in culturally relevant and meaningful ways today.