Educators to get help teaching on Holocaust, homosexuality

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Teachers will soon get more support on how to talk about sensitive subjects like homosexuality, the Holocaust and fundamentalism with their students. Stichting School en Veilgheid, or Foundation School and Safety in English, is organizing meetings after the summer holidays to guide schools in how to approach these sensitive topics.

State Secretary Sander Dekker of Education informed the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, of these meetings in a letter., NU reports

Dekker arranged these meetings based on the results of a study that was launched after the attack on satirical weekly paper Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January. During the weeks following the attacks, many teachers were confronted with difficult questions, such as on the right to free speech, during the lessons.

The study showed that the vast majority of teachers feel sufficiently capable of coping with sensitive topics. But there were also some disturbing results. One in five teachers find it difficult to discuss these topics with their students. One in 100 even avoid them completely.

Many teachers indicated that they have do not have enough grip on discussing social issues. The learning objectives are too vague or they lack specific knowledge. 10 percent of secondary school teachers feel they need more support from outside.

"it is important that teachers familiarize children with the foundations of our state. That means that they do not only discuss relatively safe issues such as Prinsjesdag in class, but also issues such as homosexuality and Antisemitism." Dekker said in the letter. "Particularly if the reactions in the classroom are severe, it is essential that it is discussed. That's why we will offer teachers better support in starting important discussions."