On Austrian Soil: Teaching Those I Was Taught to Hate

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SUNY Press, Feb 1, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 258 pages
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Most educators keep their teaching secret. In On Austrian Soil, an award-winning teacher, Sondra Perl, opens her classroom to reveal the struggles and successes she encounters when she, not without trepidation, raises the questions of history with her adult Austrian students, descendants of Nazis. Her students, teachers themselves, come face-to-face with the question of their responsibility not only to the past but also to the future. Perl’s careful descriptions are an invitation to scrutinize her teaching and thinking as well as her students’ own histories and hatreds. Writing together, she and her students break lifelong silences—discovering along the way the power of dialogue to transform deeply held prejudices.
 

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Contents

1 A Simple Invitation
1
2 History Becomes Real
17
FallWinter 19961997
33
4 A Second Course a Second Inquiry
39
5 Whipped by the Wind
71
WinterSpring 1997
105
7 A Dialogue in Letters
129
8 Unexpected Lessons
155
9 Uncommon Ground
179
10 The Question of Forgiveness
197
11 When the Wind Whispers
203
On American Soil
213
Acknowledgments
219
Notes
223
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Sondra Perl is Professor of English and Urban Education at Lehman College and The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author of Felt Sense: Writing with the Body and coauthor (with Nancy Wilson) of Through Teachers’ Eyes: Portraits of Writing Teachers at Work and editor of Landmark Essays on Writing Process. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching selected Professor Perl as the 1996 New York State Professor of the Year.

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