An Educational Approach to World War II

Learning is something that is universal; however, the means of education changes drastically from country to country. This spring, we were given the opportunity to travel to Germany to research the education practices within the city of Berlin. Specifically, we focused on the role that literature plays in World War II education there.


While in Berlin, we were able to visit a children’s library to review non-fiction adolescent literature focusing on World War II. However, the majority of our information came from interacting with the citizens of Berlin. During our time in the library, the employees introduced us to other titles that we had not previously known. In addition, we were able to talk to individuals with varying educational experiences (different decades, East vs. West Germany) who provided unique perspectives about their own World War II education. This allowed us to retrieve information and note the change in education from one era to the next and in the context of the former divided Germany. We were also given the opportunity to communicate with a history teacher in Berlin and hear about her experience in education including curriculum and teaching resources.

The goal of this study is to give a more global perspective on education for pre-service teachers. On a more personal level, we are graduating with degrees in education and will be in charge of the education of a significant population of students. It is important to both of us to be research-based instructors and present information to our students that both is accurate and includes multiple perspectives. This research is just the first step toward a larger goal; by committing to be research-based educators we are also committing to make our future classrooms a place where students will be encouraged to move beyond the textbook and develop a broader outlook in their learning.