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Preconceptions of the Holocaust among thirteen and fourteen year-olds in English schools

Gray, Michael Edward Peter (2014) Preconceptions of the Holocaust among thirteen and fourteen year-olds in English schools. PhD thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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Abstract

Existing research suggests that when pupils study the Holocaust in their history lessons at the age of thirteen or fourteen, they are likely to arrive with a wide range of ideas, beliefs and understandings about the subject. This study sought to examine whether or not this was the case and if so, the nature of these preconceptions. It focused exclusively on pupils’ understandings and conceptions of the Holocaust before they had formally studied the subject in their history lessons. Using complementary methods, the research was conducted on 298 pupils from four different schools in Oxfordshire and London. All pupils completed a spider diagram exercise and a three page questionnaire, with thirty-six pupils participating in either one or two semi-structured interviews involving various open-ended questions and specifically designed tasks. This study found that almost all pupils who participated in the research had considerable and meaningful knowledge of the subject. Consequently, this thesis highlights trends in pupils’ thinking about the Holocaust in a wide range of areas, such as why the Jews were treated in such a manner; who carried out this treatment and why the Nazi killing of the Jews ended. It concludes by highlighting the implications for practice, with specific reference to curriculum planning as well as teaching in the classroom. This study demonstrates that thirteen and fourteen year-olds do arrive in their lessons on the Holocaust with a wide range of preconceptions and that this likely to affect the way that they understanding and learn about it.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Controlled Keywords: Holocaust, preconceptions, knowledge, understanding, Year 9, thirteen, fourteen, schools, history
Subjects: Departments > Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
Depositing User: Mr Julian Zerfahs
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2015 15:25
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2015 15:11
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