University of Mons (BELGIUM)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2023 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 3222-3228
ISBN: 978-84-09-49026-4
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2023.0891
Conference name: 17th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2023
Location: Valencia, Spain
In the French-speaking part of Belgium, since 1997, a specific decree assigns secondary teachers the task of helping students to understand historical events, analyze them, and make links with democratic values to prepare them to become more responsible citizens (Waysbord, 2010). This responsibility entrusted to the teacher implies that he or she is properly trained to address this type of subject in the classroom (Corbel & Falaise, 2004). The work of remembrance concerning the Shoah, for example, particularly requires a good knowledge of the history and political context that led to the genocide of the Jews (Chivot, 2015; Roder, 2020). Additional training is therefore often essential to improve teachers' knowledge (Delmaire, 2017).

We were therefore interested in finding out how teachers in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (WBF) improve their knowledge of the genocide of the Jews during WWII and what contribution is made by their participation in the study trips to places of remembrance in Poland organized by “Memory of Auschwitz”, a highly respected non-profit organization in Belgium. The purpose of this research was to determine the profile, expectations, and satisfaction of teachers in participating in such study tours.

Few studies have been conducted in WBF on this type of training among secondary school teachers. Therefore, we chose to conduct an exploratory research based on a self-administered survey questionnaire completed by 51 study tour participants in Poland. These initial results were complemented by semi-structured interviews with 4 volunteer teachers from the first sample and 4 members of “Memory of Auschwitz” for their expert opinion.

Our results show that the teachers consider that they did not receive sufficient training during their studies to deal with the subject of the Shoah in their classrooms. To complete this training, they thus try to personally acquire knowledge more often by visiting places of remembrance (98.04%), reading survivors' testimonies (96.08%), and visiting museums (92.16%).

All of them consider the work of remembrance towards the Shoah as a responsibility of the utmost importance. The study trips allowed them to improve their knowledge and contextualize it more adequately. They also emphasize the considerable contribution made by having been accompanied by a survivor to the various places of memory visited. The trips changed their classroom practices and made them more comfortable with the subject matter; they are now more inclined to organize a visit by a witness in class, plan field trips to places of remembrance, or set up innovative projects.
Teachers’ training, Work of Remembrance, Study Trips, Auschwitz.