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Monthly Seminar

Figuring Memory: Social Practices and Collective Transformation with Rebecca Hale

Virtual event via Zoom
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 17:00 to 19:00
Session 1: "Challenges and considerations involved in evaluating the impact of Holocaust education programs"

Speaker: Rebecca Hale, UCL Centre for Holocaust Education

Many teachers and students can attest to the profound impact of learning about the Holocaust. Certainly, research conducted by the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education found teachers referenced students’ emotional responses, more tolerant attitudes, and increased prosocial behaviours. While these are positive outcomes, it is tricky to evidence them and know for certain that learning about the Holocaust led to these outcomes. Undoubtedly, it would be erroneous to argue that only concepts that are quantifiable and measurable should be valued and encouraged by educators. However, given widespread objectives that students learn from the Holocaust, as well as about the Holocaust, and the ubiquitous sense that Holocaust education has an impact on young people, it is important for educators and researchers to better understand and identify what this impact is. This includes establishing whether the broader meanings and messages students take from the Holocaust are underpinned by sound historical knowledge. Thus, in this presentation it will be argued that the nature and extent of students’ historical knowledge should be explored by both researchers and educators in impact studies and classroom assessment work. Investigating students’ development in other domains, such as attitude and behaviour change is also important. However, the case for Holocaust education having this type of impact will only be meaningful if we can be confident that students have informed historical knowledge to frame such concepts. 

Rebecca Hale is a Senior Research Fellow at the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education and one of the principal authors of What Do Students Know and Understand about the Holocaust? Evidence from English Secondary Schools. She has written about a number of issues within Holocaust education including the need for more empirical research in primary schools, how college students relate Milgram’s obedience experiments to their understanding about the Holocaust, and the complexities of exploring impact. She leads the Centre’s evaluation activity, studying the impact of its professional development and Beacon School programmes. She began her career as a secondary school teacher before completing a masters and PhD in psychology. Prior to joining UCL in 2013, she worked as a researcher on several projects in the fields of psychology and education.  


Discussant: Sarah Gensburger, French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)

Sarah Gensburger is a Full Research Professor in political science and history at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). President-Elect of the international Memory Studies Association, she is a memory studies scholar and historian of the Holocaust, as well as curator and podcast creator. She recently published Memory on My Doorstep: Chronicles of the Bataclan Neighborhood, Paris 2015-2016 (Leuven University Press, 2019) and with Sandrine Lefranc, Beyond Memory: Can We Really Learn From the Past? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). This book provides a fresh perspective on the familiar belief that memory policies are successful in building peaceful, tolerant, and inclusive societies — a topic of importance for our roundtable seminar and more broadly for this session. 

Personal website :

Podcast series on “Voices of the Holocaust in Paris” : developed with the support of the George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention 

This virtual event will take place via Zoom. Registered guests will receive a Zoom link prior to this event.


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