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Researchers develop classroom resources to teach historical evils in better context – Folio

Social studies expert creates lesson plans aimed at helping students think about evil as a human problem with human solutions.

Learning about the Holocaust and other historical horrors is important, but a University of Alberta education professor says teachers aren’t formally prepared to help students think critically about notorious perpetrators of monumental evil.

To change that, Cathryn van Kessel and Aaron Thacker, an after-degree BEd student, have created a set of lesson plans teachers can use to guide more nuanced classroom discussions of evil actors and explore the narratives that inform media accounts of horrific acts.

The plans include examining “shortcuts” in textbook depictions of historical figures that elide their humanity, to discussing figures like Louis Riel, whose historical designation as a villain has been reconsidered, to searching the Internet for images of exemplars of evil engaged in ordinary activities.

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