HREC DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION VALENTINA KURYLIW SHARES METHODOLOGIES ON TEACHING THE HOLODOMOR WITH UKRAINIAN EDUCATORS
Valentina Kuryliw, Director of Education at the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta), visited Ukraine in September 2016 to conduct teacher training sessions as part of a symposium organized by the Holodomor Research and Education Centre in Ukraine. Kuryliw met with policy-makers, educators, and leading academics to exchange ideas on new methodologies for teaching about the Holodomor and other genocides.
(Toronto) Valentina Kuryliw, Director of Education of the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium, University of Alberta, traveled to Ukraine this past September to deliver master classes for educators as part of a symposium on new methodologies for teaching the Holodomor. The symposium “The New Ukrainian School: Teaching about the Holodomor and other Genocides” took place in Kyiv 9-10 September, 2016, and was attended by teachers from throughout Ukraine. Among those present was Ukraine’s reformist Minister of Education, Liliya Hrynevych.
While research on the Holodomor has increased in recent years, the Famine has yet to be integrated into curricula at all levels of education in Ukraine, and many Ukrainian teachers are only now beginning to consider how the topic should be taught in the twenty-first century classroom.
“The symposium was the first of its kind,” remarked Kuryliw, “where teachers, methodologists, and researchers gathered to exchange ideas on how the Holodomor and other genocides can be incorporated and taught in a multi-disciplinary framework.”
Among the topics addressed at the symposium were teaching methodologies, developments in research on the Holodomor, the deportation of the Crimean Tatars, and other genocides. Presenters included Stanislav Kulchytsky (Institute of the History of Ukraine, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine), Oleksander Hladun and Natalia Levchuk (M.V. Ptukha Institute of Demography and Social Research, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine), Valentina Kuryliw (HREC, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta, Canada), and Hulnara Bekirova (Representative of the Special Commission of the Kurultai for the teaching of the genocide committed against the Crimean Tatar People).
Kuryliw, who has developed teaching methodologies in the social sciences and humanities for more than a decade, delivered a master class titled, “Teaching Students about the Holodomor in the Twenty-First Century, ‘The Historian’s Craft.’” The session encouraged educators to embrace topics related to human rights in their teaching of the Holodomor as a means of broadening the Holodomor’s applicability across disciplines, including history, law, politics, literature, civics, and media studies.
According to Kuryliw, the use of primary sources is central to this multi-disciplinary approach. As a demonstration of her methodology, Kuryliw tasked the master class participants with analyzing various primary sources, including government documents, witness testimonials, newspaper articles, photographs, letters, quotations of contemporaries and scholars, and political caricatures. Working in groups, they analyzed the assigned materials, created narratives about what each source reveals about the Holodomor, and then presented their findings to the class.
“The ‘Historian’s Craft’ lesson encourages students to work as young researchers and detectives,” said Kuryliw, “where they analyze and synthesize primary source materials, and are encouraged to question what can be gleaned from such sources.” At the symposium’s conclusion, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed by Education Minister Liliya Hrynevych, Valentina Kuryliw (HREC, Canada), and Liudmyla Hrynevych, (HREC in Ukraine). The agreement committed the three partners to the development of a ‘methodology lab’ called Verba Magistri (“In the words of teachers”). The lab will support teachers in adopting and further developing innovative methodologies for teaching the Holodomor and other complex topics, including genocide.
Following the symposium, Kuryliw traveled to the city of Dnipro where, on 11 September, 2016, she took part in an historic event -- the unveiling of a permanent exhibit on the Holodomor at the Ukrainian Museum of Jewish Memory and the Holocaust. The exhibit was organized by Ihor Shchupak, Director of “Tkuma” Ukrainian Institute for Holocaust Studies, and created in collaboration with Liudmyla Hrynevych (HREC in Ukraine). At the event, which was attended by educators, academics, local government representatives, community members, and religious leaders, Valentina Kuryliw gave a public lecture on the importance of teaching the Holodomor in Ukrainian schools.
The symposium and events at the exhibit’s unveiling were widely covered in the Ukrainian state and public media as significant developments in the field of education in Ukraine.