Holocaust Education Initiative offers free, trauma-informed teaching seminar

Session scheduled Oct. 11 at Penn State Berks
Boaz Dvir presentation

Holocaust Education Initiative director Boaz Dvir, a faculty member in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, will lead an Oct. 11 session at Penn State Berks.

Credit: Curt Chandler

The Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Initiative at Penn State will present a free three-hour seminar about trauma-informed teaching at 1 p.m. Oct. 11 at Penn State Berks Perkins Student Center’s Lion’s Den.

The “Using Media to Propel Inquiry-Based, Trauma-Informed Learning” seminar, which is open to all educators and requires registration, is part of Greater Reading’s Violins of Hope fall program.

Hosted by the Reading Symphony Orchestra, Jewish Federation of Reading/Berks, and the Berks County Intermediate Unit, the fall program will showcase restored violins “played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust.”

“We look forward to taking part in this inspirational program and helping Pennsylvania teachers identify and cope with trauma in their classrooms and communities,” said Holocaust Education Initiative director Boaz Dvir, an award-winning filmmaker and assistant professor in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.

The seminar will feature the Initiative’s trauma-informed practice expert, Penn State doctoral candidate Brooklyn Leonhardt; educational program specialist Lori McGarry; and content developer Kate van Haren, Wisconsin’s 2020 Social Studies Teacher of the Year.

They will share lesson plans created by the Initiative for “Cojot,” Dvir’s forthcoming feature documentary about a Holocaust survivor who set out to kill his father’s Nazi executioner.

“We’ll introduce middle- and high-school instructional material that teachers can explore as examples or use with their students,” McGarry said. “We’ll also work with teachers to develop lessons for other media using a trauma-informed lens.”