Using the Routine to Explore a events from World War II
Ulrica Andersson, grade 9, Lemshaga Akademi
As part of their in-depth study of World War II, Ulrica presented the following dilemma to her grade 9 students:
Imagine you are living in Germany in 1937. You are confronted by the Hitler Jugend and need to make a decision to join or not. To join involves many benefits – friends, fun activities, nice uniforms and probably higher grades in school. Most of the students you know have already joined the Hitler Jugend. The pressure is hard. At the same time, they have seen and reacted against the bad treatment of a Jewish class-mate and a boy with communist parents. You are confronted with following alternatives:
1.To join Hitlerjugend
2. To continue having no part in it, keeping a low profile, not to provoke anyone.
3. Actively taking the part of the rejected.
4. Find own alternative
Ulrica used the Does it fit? routine to help her class imagine the dilemma from the point of view of a German student and try to understand the complications and difficult decison making process one might face in such a challenging situation. To begin, the group considered the situation and tried to identify what the ideal solution would look like. The students agreed that the ideal would be to find a solution that: was harmless, gave largest possible benefits such as friends, activities, clothes and other advantages, allowed a clear conscience.
Students used the following questions from the the Does it Fit? routine
Constraints, limits – what is possible?
Effects – what happens?
Feelings – How would it feel?
The following options were discussed in the pairs. Students presented their arguments to the group and explained their reasons for choosing their option and elaborating on how it would feel fromthe chosen point of view.
Option 1: Join Hitlerjugend
- Corresponds to the ideal’s demands except conscience
- You have no choice
- Reduces danger for me and my family
- You can get a good position in the army and a smart weapon
- Hard to feel that you have failed for group pressure and not declared your own standpoint
- You can reduce your bad conscience by helping the kept out secretly.
- As a member you certainly get brainwashed until your conscience disappears
Option 2: To continue having no part in it, keeping a low profile, not to provoke anyone.
- Far from the ideal solution
- Dangerous to stand outside
- Hard to feel that you are kept out
- You feel that you are a coward as you are silent
Option 3: Actively taking part for the rejected.
- Far from the ideal solution
- Very dangerous and risky
- Gives a good conscience because you have shown your own standpoints/ not good conscience as you put your family in a dangerous situation.
Option 4: Find an own alternative – escape (to a neutral country, Sweden or Switzerland)
- Close to the ideal as you get away from the external demands.
- Don’t know how dangerous it is
- Don’t know how life will be over there
- Don’t know how it works for the family
- Uncertain how it feels, maybe as you desert.