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ERIC Number: ED441233
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Apr-13
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Educating for Empathy and Tolerance: Holocaust Studies and the Teaching of Writing.
Thomas, Gordon P.
The Holocaust is a powerful topic for writing classrooms because it elicits strong emotions from most students at the same time that it is remote enough to keep from overwhelming them (at least at first). At the same time the topic presents a minefield for the unwary or naive writing instructor--it is important, for example, to emphasize the rhetorical aspects of the subject and encourage students to study other examples of ethnic or religious exclusivity, bureaucratic indifference, eugenics, and genocide. Most important, the topic can demonstrate to students how serious, sustained inquiry can reveal facts, attitudes, and opinions that will shape their personal intellectual landscape. Some reasons for using the Holocaust in a writing course are: accessibility (the Holocaust is a story with a beginning, middle, and end); the emotional force of the topic; the emotional distance afforded by the topic; the moral complexity of many of the issues; the historical complexity of the subject; and a dialect about the role of language in a bureaucracy and what constitutes acceptable discussion. The phenomenon of Holocaust denial might also be a worthwhile subject in a writing class. Can tolerance and empathy be fostered through a study of the Holocaust? Probably, but students' thinking should not be expected to change in direct ways. (Contains 8 notes and 19 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A