Posted by: Witch Doctor | March 11, 2010

Teaching diversity and empathy?


The Witch Doctor was in her early twenties before she knew the reality of what went on in Nazi Germany. There is no doubt that her family and school had protected her from the dreadful details of man’s inhumanity to man. She was not made very aware either of other atrocities that had gone on in the world during her parent’s lifetime.

She gradually discovered the real story of Nazi Germany for herself. Probably she discovered it when she was ready to grasp it. She was shocked, disgusted and deeply affected by it. She still is. She has read books and wept. She has watched films and wept. She has visited Anne Frank’s house and wept. She is thankful that she had a childhood where the horrors of humanity were not intimately revealed to her. She is even more thankful that she was not a child in Nazi Germany.

She did not teach her own children about these atrocities. She knew they would explore them for themselves when they were ready. They have. They in turn are shocked, disgusted and deeply affected.

It seems nowadays they teach diversity and empathy in a Scottish PRIMARY School by playing a “Holocaust Game.”

How sick is that?


“A council spokesman said: “Schools commonly engage in drama-based exercises which encourage children to use their imagination and act out a character.

“These role play situations are designed to help children understand diversity and develop empathy for the victims of prejudice and are usually very well received by pupils.

“The activity was designed to develop the children’s understanding of unfairness and inequality.

“We are sorry that the lesson had this effect on some pupils.”


“When one child asked if that meant they might have to go to an orphanage, they were told that might be a possibility. At that point many of the children became very distressed. One boy kicked his chair over, one was angry and demanded to speak to someone in charge but most were crying on a scale ranging from mildly to severely.”

Their ordeal lasted between 12 and 15 minutes before the children were informed that it was all an act but that the role play would continue until lunchtime.

The mum contacted headteacher Mrs Stewart to ask if her daughter’s account was accurate.

She added: “When I asked why on earth they thought it was appropriate to deliver a role play situation to the children in this way, Mrs Stewart informed me that they didn’t inform the children beforehand because they wanted the children to experience an ‘accurate emotional response’ to this scenario in order for it to be reflected in their story writing.”

I am sick to the teeth hearing the words “diversity” and “empathy.” Maybe you should skulk around and try to find out who or what was behind this silly game, My Black Cat!

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  1. Where to start with this? I hope none of the children were themselves refugees or have a great grandparent who was affected by the holocaust, for a start. How on earth are these kids ever again expected to believe anything they are told by these people? I have to sign forms many times a term, when my kids go over the road to an adjacent school for 30 minutes, for goodness sake, giving Doctor’s address & phone, child’s tetanus status etc etc – & yet inducing terror in these children was deemed Ok? Oh, and money-where-mouth-is-moment: My eldest was chosen to go to Auschwitz, aged 17, on an educational day-trip organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust – it was subsidised but still cost us about 300 quid in various expenses. I was very glad she had the chance, so was she – it did not resemble this despicable exercise in the slightest. Sorry for long rant.

  2. Colacube,

    Agree with everything you say. You are right to rant because parents and teachers need to be watchful. This activity has me gob-smacked and I wonder how widespread these role playing games are – especially the ones that play on emotions. This seems to me to be an example of dangerous “Creep.” These teachers probably had no intention of upsetting the children but something they read or heard somewhere may have led them to believe they were doing the right thing in the name of fashionable “diversity.”

    My view is becoming clear. Teachers should not interfere with the emotional development of the children in their care. They should give them patience, facts, encouragement, practical skills and a sense of wonder and let the children do the rest for themselves. Perhaps there was some wisdom in the concept of teaching the three R’s in primary school and leaving it at that.

    Sometimes I have more faith in the child than in the adult.

  3. […] a follow up from this and this, now read THIS: “Schoolchildren suffered panic attacks and were left crying after a […]

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