New Study Shows Most Teachers in England Lack Basic Knowledge About the Holocaust
The study was conducted by University College London’s Centre for Holocaust Education and surveyed 1,077 teachers, of whom 964 had recently taught classes on the Holocaust. It also involved in-depth focus groups on the subject.
The results showed a lack of knowledge of some of the most basic facts about the Holocaust.
For example, most teachers did not know where or when the Holocaust began; the proportion of Jews in the German population in 1933, the year Hitler took power; or what the British government’s response was to the Holocaust while it was underway.
Equally disturbing was that a fifth of teachers who had recently taught the subject had been given no specialist training.
UCL Associate Professor Dr. Andy Pearce told the BBC that, due to this ignorance, students may have “skewed and fundamentally erroneous impressions of this period.”
“As a society, we should have no tolerance for misunderstandings, myths and mythologies about the Holocaust,” he asserted. “That can be a breeding ground for conspiracy theories and for revisionism and for denial and distortion.”
The Association of School and College Leaders General-Secretary Geoff Barton expressed “concern” at the report’s findings.
“School leaders and teachers work very hard to combat a range of false information and myths on a range of subjects that are spread through the click of a button in a society which has undergone a rapid and poorly regulated digital revolution,” he asserted. “However, the reality is that schools and teachers face a huge number of pressures on their time in a crowded curriculum and constantly have to juggle many competing priorities.”
“There is a wider need for the government to work with the education sector to review the many expectations on schools to make this situation more manageable,” he added.