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When they ask is when we should answer

Posted By: Montgomery Granger on June 22, 2010
 
The appropriate time to talk about and teach about the holocaust is when children ask serious questions about it, such as in high school U.S. History in the WW II era. I liken this to when the best time is to teach about the "birds and bees." We answer, both parents, health teachers, and general education teachers, when the good questions come up. Of course, the curriculum should prompt out-of-the-box thinking, and curious children (just about all of them) should be guided to ask probing questions about what they are being taught. In current events, one could find a road to the holocaust when discussions about Gitmo come up. The whole history of military incarceration could be wrapped around a discussion on the holocaust. And this could prompt yet an even broader discussion about the approximate 10 million Africans who died due to the slave trade, the millions killed by Stalin, the senseless killings of Americans by al Qaeda. The lesson is on hate, and evil, and not loving one's fellow man/woman. Indeed, when I taught health education in the New York City public high schools, I would teach a unit on spiritual health, which incorporated values education (which we need more of today). Not teaching my values, but helping students discover their own values (beliefs, feelings and actions which are important to us, the most important of which are actions, because without actions we have not fully valued our beliefs and feelings). Once this is accomplished, one can apply one's values to every question in life, including whether or not to hate. Teaching that we have choices in our responsibility to follow our own moral path, and that there are universal morals and values. As educators we know, developmentally, when it is appropriate to educate children in certain subject matter. Our job is not to frighten, nor scar, nor terrorize the imaginations of our students, but to help them understand the world they live in through guided discovery appropriate for their intellect, emotional capabilities, and their sense of personal worth.
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 When they ask is when we should answer by Montgomery Granger on June 22, 2010
     
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