Investigating Holocaust education through the personal stories of history teachers.
Gouws, Brenda Raie.
MetadataShow full item record
This study is an investigation into Holocaust education through the personal stories of history teachers. It answers two research questions: what are the personal stories of history teachers and how do these stories shape their teaching of the Holocaust? Following narrative inquiry theory and methodology, the study examines the personal stories of seven history teachers in KwaZulu-Natal who teach the Holocaust as part of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement for History in a post-apartheid, post-colonial context. Whilst some history teachers in South Africa have taken part in targeted Holocaust education workshops, the majority have not. This study focuses on those history teachers who teach the Holocaust with only the curriculum, textbook and personal stories at hand. Responding to the first research question, the restoried stories of the seven participants are told. To answer the second research question, I conducted a cross-story thematic analysis of the restoried stories to find common themes and categories and thereby develop a deeper understanding of how the Holocaust is taught in South African schools. The study draws on the theories of Clandinin and Connelly to theorise that history teachers use their personal stories to teach this complex, emotive topic to fourteen- and sixteenyear-old learners, the majority of whom have had little or no contact with Jews. It also seeks to expand the body of methodological knowledge and pushes narrative inquiry boundaries by telling the restoried stories in a manner that narrativises real events and places them in a creative setting. The result is a model for assessing history teachers’ personal story usage in Holocaust education. It illustrates that history teachers tell both overt and veiled stories. Overt stories are educative, societal, connective and biographical in nature, while veiled stories are both seen and unseen. There are even irrelevant stories, depending on what transpires in the Holocaust classroom. And finally, there are stories that are not told; submerged stories that lie below the surface but nonetheless shape the teaching of the Holocaust. The study concludes with ways in which the thesis adds new knowledge to the body of work on Holocaust education and history teachers’ personal stories.