Free PD – No Cost Professional Development Opportunities for Busy Teachers

This is the first of what I hope will be a series of blog posts about free professional development opportunities for educators.

Democracy at Risk:  Holocaust and Human Behavior

Cost: Free

Duration: 5 weeks. There is a new session each week. Sessions begin on Thursday and end on the following Wednesday.

Time Commitment: Approximately 3 hours per week

Pacing: Self-paced, asynchronous with facilitated discussions and webinars

Certificate of Completion: Awarded upon successful completion of the course for 20 professional development hours

My experience

I just finished up this eye-opening course in August and earned 20 FREE Professional Development hours to put towards my recertification.

Before going further, I have to stress that This course is MUCH more that its title.

This course focuses on helping you foster your students’ “ethical reasoning, critical thinking, empathy, and civic engagement” through investigation and discussion of five central themes:

We actually didn’t talk about the Holocaust at all until the fourth week of class.  Until that point, we examined various societal changes that were taking place in Germany leading up to the Holocaust and WWII.

There were approximately 40 participants in the July/August class facilitated by Brandon Haas.  I was able to interact with educators from all over the United States, as well as educators from France, Brazil, Switzerland, and Canada!

Independent evaluation has shown that implementing Facing History’s approach improves students’ higher-order thinking skills, increases students’ civic efficacy and engagement with civic matters, and increases students’ tolerance for others who hold contrary views from their own.  –  Democracy at Risk:  Holocaust and Human Behavior

My classmates taught a variety of disciplines, including German, TESOL, and Spanish!  In the forums, themes discussed in course readings often led to conversations about the border and immigration, especially since many of participating educators taught at middle and high schools along the US/Mexico border and were very much involved with the personal side of the political issues many of us only follow on television.

Rena
Saved from Auschwitz by Oskar Schindler, Rena Finder reminds teachers that “Forgetting is dangerous” and encourages teachers to teach history and compassion to their students.

Towards the end of the course, we were able to live chat with Holocaust survivor Rena Finder about the importance of teaching history in our classes.  Rena’s message is simple:  “Forgetting is dangerous.  As we pass the torch of memory to the next generation and those yet to come, we hope that their children and grandchildren will find the world a better place to live in than the one we are leaving them.”

On June 22, 2018, Rena wrote an email responding to a post by Facing History’s President, Roger Brooks (which you can read here).

DEAR ROGER

What’s happening now is exactly what happened to the Jews of EUROPE IN 1938 & 1939.

That how it started. The world was silent then And the world is silent now.I fear for the future of our children and grandchildren AND THOSE STILL TO COME.WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE CHILDREN THAT ARE Taken from their parents now.Hitler did that. Hitler is dead, but his messages of hate live on.                                                                    
WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY OF MILK AND HONEY, and above all justice for all. MY HOPE LIES IN OUR STUDENTS and their facing history teachers. I Now find that THE QUESTIONS I GET FROM THE STUDENTS ARE SO MUCH MORE MATURE NOW, BUT WE CAN’T WAIT FOR THEM TO GROW UP AND CHANGE THE WORLD.

WE Have to Act now

BEST

RENA

The next course begins September 20 and you can register here:  https://onlinelearning.facinghistory.org/learn/register

A separate course, A New Approach to Teaching the Reconstruction Era, begins in October and also allows educators to earn 20 PD hours for FREE.

You can find more Professional Development courses, seminars, and workshops here:  https://www.facinghistory.org/professional-development

If you are interested in learning about additional FREE Professional Development opportunities for teachers, leave a comment, and share this post!

Also, check out the second part in the FREE PD series here:  PART 2 – Free PD – No Cost Professional Development Opportunities for Busy Teachers

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