Call for authors: Online Teaching in the Visegrad Region

Birgit Göbel EUROCLIO

How can we conduct effective online teaching? This is the question that EuroClio’s latest project: Online Teaching in the Visegrad Region, aims to answer. We are looking for enthusiastic team members from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia to design and develop the 8 ready-to-use Online Learning Activities as part of the project. Do you want to be involved? Take a look at our Call for Authors (the pdf can also be found below) and see if you could be a good fit for the project! Attention: The deadline for applications is Sunday 21 November 2021.

 

EuroClio _ OTVR Call for Authors

Press release: EuroClio and National Committee of Russian Historians issue joint resolution at the World Congress of School History Teachers

EuroClio is pleased to have joined forces with the National Committee of Russian Historians in co-organising the 1st World Congress of School History Teachers (Moscow, 4-7 October 2021). The Congress convened more than 300 history educators from all continents discussing both thematic and methodological issues of history education. We invite you to also read or watch the opening speech by EuroClio Executive Director Steven Stegers. 

As a result of the Congress, EuroClio and the National Committee of Russian Historians have issued a joint resolution calling for increased international cooperation on history education. The resolution has been made available in both the English and Russian languages. 

For media enquiries in English, please contact Steven Stegers, Executive Director, tel. +31648078702

For media enquiries in Russian, please contact Catherine Savitsky, Project Manager, tel. +31641945520

The value of innovative and responsible history education.

Steven Segers EUROCLIO ,

Opening speech by EuroClio Executive Director Steven Stegers at the World Congress of School History Teachers,
Moscow, Russia, 5 October 2021

I would like to start by expressing my appreciation to organizers of this Congress, who have managed to bring together history educators from across the world and decision makers from all over the world, to learn from and talk to each other. Initiatives like these are much need to counter stereotypes, and overcome differences to achieve common goals.

It is a sign of hope that we can be here.

Russia was the first country where EuroClio worked intensely. I sincerely hope this meeting will be the start for more cooperation in the years to come.

Today I would like to speak about the value of innovative and responsible history education, why it matters, and by doing so clarify what we mean with this concept.

So, why do I believe it does matter?

History education is uniquely suited to teach about challenges on global and local level: Climate change, the fragility of democracy and competing world views, are just a few. It is the best chance that we have to create a better future.

The interpretative nature of history - where historians offer competing interpretations of the same facts - forces students to think for themselves. When students are presented with different interpretations, they have to ask which interpretation they find most convincing.

As a result, students learn how to respectfully disagree, how to convince others, how to be challenged in their own thinking, and how to deal with uncertainty. They will realize that the way people see history is influenced by their beliefs and experiences.

With an understanding of difference, ability to put themselves in the shoes of others and willingness to consider alternative explanation, these students more likely to find peaceful solutions to conflicts, and deal with difficult pasts.

The historical method that is at the heart of history education is the perfect antidote to fake news and disinformation.

Student learn to look for sources, to analyze and interpret them, to consider different explanations, to read between the lines, to check facts, and to adjust conclusions in the light of new evidence.

Student learn to resist manipulation.

 

There is more that studying history can contribute to the personal development of young people. History enables students to ask questions and makes them curious. This includes seeking answers to difficult questions, thinking about moral dilemmas and reacting to historical injustices.

This helps them to develop a moral compass.

All of this helps students to succeed at school, but also in life.

How to achieve all of this in practice?

Well, it is easier said than done.

Students need the right level of challenge and support. If it is too easy, students get bored. If it is too difficult, they get frustrated.

Keeping up to date with the latest research is challenging. Everyday new research is done and keeping up with this takes time. The same applies for the research of historical source materials and the creation of learning experiences that are tailored to the needs of individual students.

In many countries, educational systems do not support innovative and responsible history education.

Many educators are struggling with the amount of content that they need to cover in the curriculum. This leaves very little time to go in depth, to teach students how to do their own reach. This makes it difficult to teach students how to think, instead of telling them what to think.

The lack of choice in the curriculum is another challenge that many educators face. This makes it difficult to focus on those questions and topics that resonate with the students, that are meaningful for them.

A final challenge for many educators that I would like to highlight here, are the exams that are not assessing the right things. If students who challenge a teacher, textbook, or other authority on the basis of solid evidence and sounds arguments are punished instead of rewarded, there is no room for critical and independent thinking.

I greatly admire educators who are able to make history teaching motivating and meaningful despite all these challenges. I would like to express my gratitude to all the educators who are spending time with us despite the demanding jobs. I realise that you being here, means you have to catch up with more work later.

Let’s make this worth your time.

I wish us all a great congress.

 

Steven Stegers

Executive Director
EuroClio, European Association of History Educators

Holocaust education in Kosovo

Donika Xhemajli EUROCLIO , ,

History Teacher Association of Kosovo publish handbook on holocaust education    

As a result of the involvement of History Teachers Association of Kosovo, HTAK, in EuroClio’s project “History that Connects ‘’, its members were offered opportunities to take part in many trainings and different study visits in order to develop their professional capacity.

As part of these activities, one of the Association members participated in training at the Yad Vashem – World Memorial Holocaust Center in Israel. This was the beginning of the contact and communication required to start cooperation. The Association did not cease in its efforts to find opportunities for internal support for conducting a study visit at Yad Vashem which would involve a larger number of members. This was because Kosovo teachers needed to improve their professional ability to teach on the Holocaust in their classroom lessons.

The Association gained support from ForumZFD, a German organization that works on Dealing with the Past and Peace Education. This enabled the initiative to become reality. At first, our initiative was to organize a study visit in Israel and it ended with the publication of alternative teaching material about the Holocaust.

A number of local trainings were also organized, which increased the cooperation with other international organizations involved in this subject. They were: the Center for Historical Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Berlin, the Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the final addition to this group was an NGO called New Perspektiva, which works in Kosovo on opening up thinking on the multi-perspective methodology of teaching history with the aim of encouraging open-minded learning.

In 2017 the HTAK and ForumZFD, with the support from Kosovo Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, MESTI, organized a one-week training visit to Yad Vashem.  Afterward, with the support of all the organizations mentioned above, the HTAK members worked on drafting the teaching Handbook on the Holocaust, and in 2021 the Handbook was launched. The Education Minister and the Deputy German Ambassador in Kosovo were present at this event. The Acting Kosovo Ambassador in Israel informed and invited the representatives of Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Yad Vashem, which lead to their participation online. The Handbook is published in three languages, Albanian, Serbian and English, and will be used by history and civic education teachers for classes IX to XII. The Handbook is also published on the official website of the Kosovo Ministry of Education and is accessible for all. The Handbook is in complete harmony with the curricula framework which was approved by MESTI in 2016. 

We believe this Handbook will not only be used by the teachers but it will also have a direct impact on students in Kosovo. They will have the opportunity to learn about the Holocaust from different, original, and verifiable sources. However, the Handbook’s advantage is that it has a multi-perspective approach, which will encourage and develop independent and critical thinking. At the same time, this methodology can be used by the publishing houses in Kosovo as a model to advance school textbooks in the future by using different sources which will have a multi-perspective approach.

 

 

Contested Histories Podcast: Warsaw Uprising Museum

Andreas Holtberget EUROCLIO, Project Updates , , ,
In a special collaboration with Talk Eastern Europe, EuroClio presents “Inside Memory Sites - The Warsaw Uprising Museum.” In this Podcast, the speaker, Maria Kobielska, a memory scholar and assistant professor at the Department of Anthropology of Literature and Cultural Research at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków Poland, offers insight into how to critically evaluate sites such as the Uprising Museum, in terms of the origins and agenda of the museum. She further examines the criticisms of the museum that have stemmed from a variety of perspectives in the 15 years since the Museum first opened its doors.


This Podcast is the first of four within the framework of the “Contested Histories Onsite” project which aims to place Europeans in discussions and debates on multiple historical perspectives and to activate citizens in public involvement of memory-constructions. As part of the EU’s Europe for Citizens programme, the project’s aspiration is rooted in a shared conviction that raising critical questions about the past is fundamental for citizens to develop a critical attitude towards the narratives that are competing with each other in contemporary politics.

Dealing with the challenges of history teaching in an online and offline environment

The first Summer School for History Teachers organised by the Bulgarian History Teachers Association!

The first Summer School for History Teachers organized by the Bulgarian HTA took place in the end of July near
Razlog, a town and ski resort in South-Western Bulgaria (26-29 July 2021). The topic was “How to
make and use resources for history teaching in and online and offline environment”.

23 history educators from all across the country gathered together in person for the first time since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic to reconnect, network, and discuss:

  • Modern trends in history teaching;
  • The ready-made teaching materials created within the project “Transition Dialogue 2019-2021. Dealing with change in democratic ways”, which promote a participatory approach to dealing with transition in post ‘89 Germany and Eastern Europe, with a clear focus on European Civic Education;
  • what is Historiana (www.historiana.eu) and how it can be used to develop (online) history lessons – including sessions on how to create one’s own online resource using the e-Activity Builder.
Participants to the First Summer School organised by the Bulgarian HTA.

Bridget Martin, a history teacher and member of the Historiana Teaching and Learning Team, joined the Summer school 2021. She hosted the training for Historiana. Teachers became familiar with the historical resources on Historiana, both in English and Bulgarian languages. Bridget presented the e-Activity Builder and guided educators in creating their own teaching materials in Historiana based on the use of images (photographs and posters). Bistra Stoimenova dealt with the highlighting tool of e-Activity Builder for written sources.

In the last day of the Summer school educators presented their e-learning activities on Bulgarian history of the Transition after 1989.

The event gave to participants a common space of dialogue where they could share their ideas, problems and solutions. An additional social and cultural program was a nice touch for participants to be more open and creative in their work.

Bistra Stoimenova discusses with participants their eLearning Activities

History teachers evaluated very highly the organization of the Summer school in their feedback. They expressed how the event was very useful for their professional development, as well as a great opportunity to network with colleagues from the country.

They expressed also a desire to make the Summer School in Bulgarian a regular appointment for local teachers and educators.

 

This article was written by Bistra Stoimenova, Bulgarian HTA

Call for best practices: Global dimensions of national history and postcolonial history

Andreas Holtberget EUROCLIO , ,

EuroClio is looking for teaching practices centered around global perspectives of national history and postcolonial history. The practice collection is part of the project Critical History, led by the University of Tallinn in partnership with three other European universities.

Global dimensions of history, as well as postcolonial approaches, are indispensable for the teaching of history in the 21st century.  The crucial challenges of our time, including the changing role of the nation-state, digitalization, and the worldwide internet, growing socio-economic inequality, migration movements as well as the climate crisis, have - whilst of a global nature - clear and tangible local impacts.

Traditional history education, centered around national history, its narrower contexts, and often Eurocentric bias, can hardly adequately reflect these local-global complexities of today's globalised world. Identifying teaching practices in this field will therefore be an important step in inspiring colleagues to include such global dimensions and postcolonial in their own (national) history teaching and we hope you can help us!

Do you have a teaching practice to share that tackles these local-global complexities or aspects of postcolonial thinking? That illustrates global perspectives with the history of your own country/region/nation as a starting point? As opposed to treating ‘national history’ and ‘world history’ as something apart and unrelated? Or a teaching practice that is opposed to the Eurocentric understanding of history

We are looking for practices that are low-cost and easy to replicate. Please contact Birgit Göbel (secretariat@euroclio.eu) with a short description of your teaching practice and we will reach out to you to set up a brief interview. 

The collected practices will be made available on the EuroClio website in a blog format, with a selected number also included in a study guide published at the end of our project. Due credit will always be given to the interviewee. The overall aim of the Critical History project is to prepare future history teachers for a critical history education more attuned to the realities of 21st century societies.  Identifying good teaching practices will be crucial for the success of our project and we thank you in advance for sharing your ideas with us.

Press Release: Solidarity with Association for Social History UDI – Euroclio

EuroClio EUROCLIO

EuroClio - European Association of History Educators stands in solidarity with the Association for Social History UDI - Euroclio, reiterating their recent press statement (in Serbian) and defending the professional dignity of the Serbian history teachers’ association. 

Over the past few days, the Association for Social History UDI - Euroclio has been subjected to slander and false allegations concerning their work on the recent history of the region. Some of our colleagues have received a wave of false accusations related to their work, and personal photos of members were published online without permission. These actions resulted from a seminar organised by the Association for Social History UDI – Euroclio involving teacher training on the use of archival material made available by the UN’s International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. Historians write history on the basis of historical sources, documents and archival material, not imposed by international institutions, something that was being proclaimed in a number of Serbian tabloids. The accusations and false allegations aired in Serbian tabloids have ultimately spread to social media leading to a sustained and slanderous campaign against some of our colleagues. 

We condemn the unlawful publication of private photos of members of the association, and false accusations on the manipulation of history by international organisations.  EuroClio advocates for the sound use of history education towards the building and deepening of democratic societies, connecting professionals across boundaries of communities, countries, ethnicities and religions. We seek to enhance the quality of history and citizenship education through capacity-building for educators, which was similarly the goal of the seminar. 

It is clear that dealing with the difficult past is sensitive and will evoke strong reactions. We are humbled by the fact that so many of our colleagues in the region are able to work together in a respectful way to address their shared past, and hope more people will take inspiration from them. EuroClio will continue to promote values such as multiperspectivity, critical thinking, mutual respect and the inclusion of controversial issues in history education. 

We also welcome scrutiny of our work through healthy, respectful and evidence-based academic debate, but fundamentally reject the kind of treatment our Serbian colleagues are currently subjected to – with accusations lacking both in evidence and in form.

If you are an educator from Serbia, we encourage you to join and follow UDI - Euroclio. If you are coming from other countries in the Balkans – or elsewhere – please consider joining our member associations in your country and/or EuroClio.  It is also an unfortunate reality that historians and history teachers elsewhere too are increasingly subjected to censorship, threats and, in extreme cases, violence. We therefore welcome you to follow and support the work of the Network of Concerned Historians, an independent and universal observatory serving as a link between human rights organisations campaigning on behalf of persecuted historians, and the global community of historians. 

Call to Action: In Europe Schools

Adriana Fuertes EUROCLIO ,

Following the success of last year in which we welcomed over 120 participating schools from all over Europe, we invite you to join the new round of In Europe Schools!

Head over to www.vprobroadcast.com/ineuropeschools and select your Education Kit of preference:

In an effort to constantly keep innovating and improving the program, and as a result of last years' feedback session, we are launching an Online Start of the Project and Inspiration Session with every new cycle (thus taking place in October and February). During these sessions, teachers across Europe partaking in the project will have the opportunity to meet each other (digitally), get acquainted with In Europe Schools, and share ideas or experiences.

Do you want to join, but only later this school year? That's no problem! You can already register via this form or send an email to eugenie@euroclio.eu to subscribe to the In Europe Schools Newsletter. 

Interested in our latest student-made documentaries? You can find them on the In Europe Schools  YouTube Channel.

For the Fall cycle, please make sure to register before November 1st, and we can match you with your partner school right away!

EuroClio is mentioned in the new report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education

Adriana Fuertes EUROCLIO , ,

The new report of the Special Rapporteur ​UN OHCHR on the cultural dimensions of the right to education or the right to education as a cultural right is now available, and EuroClio's input is mentioned six times in the document.

The UN Special Rapporteur, Dr. Koumbou Boly Barry, calls for the right to education to be viewed as a cultural right – that is, as the right of each person to the cultural resources necessary to freely follow a process of identification, to experience mutually rewarding relations, to deal with the crucial challenges facing our world and to engage in the practices that make it possible to take ownership of and contribute to these resources. This cultural dimensions of the right to education is crucial to ensure that the universal right to inclusive and quality education is realized, as called for in Sustainable Development Goal 4.

Some of the contributions that have been considered from EuroClio are that intercultural education is important to address issues of national minorities and indigenous communities, as well as migrants and refugees. However, the situation varies by country - sometimes with a very small curriculum - where existing multicultural realities are not covered.

Moreover, some submissions emphasized the importance of giving schools a degree of freedom when it came to defining their learning program, with standard requirements for each subject by compulsory common topics but without defining specific learning content, which allows schools to take into account the cultural diversity of its students appropriate to their specific context. However, in many cases, education systems remain highly centralized and local actors are deprived of the opportunity to develop curricula that take into account cultural diversity and the local situation. Nevertheless, there are countries where alternative historical narratives have developed as a result of national policies on minorities.

In any case, what is unique about this approach is its conception of educational life as a living relationship between actors (students, educators, organizations, and other associated actors) and collections of knowledge that form shared cultural resources, vectors of identity, values and meaning, without which action is impossible.