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.

 

Sharing European Histories through stories of the past

Helen Snelson, the Curriculum Leader for History Teacher Training at the University of York and a teacher of 11-18-year-olds with 20 years experience, sat down with us to discuss her role in the development of the Sharing European Histories project and the inspiration behind her strategy – Using stories of the past to teach students about its complexity.  

I was very excited when I first heard about the Sharing European Histories project. For me, the project is an example of history education at its best. It is focused clearly on supporting real teachers, in real schools, teaching real children about history and the past. At the same time, it is a project that is not afraid to acknowledge that the past is a very large ‘place’ and that history is messy and complex.

You will hear a lot of people say that we need to look back at the past in order to understand where we have come from, and in order to learn how different people interpret the past to construct historical identities. I agree! But it makes history a hard subject to teach well in schools. Thankfully, it also makes it a rich and endlessly fascinating subject when it is taught well. In addition, young people who know about the past, and about how history is created, are able to join in contemporary debates and discussions with informed perspectives of their own.

At the heart of the strategy of stories of the past is the idea of focusing on people. These people might have lived through the same time period in Europe, but they all responded to the events and other people around them in different ways. Allowing this similarity and difference to be centre stage in the study of the past is a good way to avoid ahistorical over-simplifications about groups of people, how they thought and how they acted. At the same time, personal stories of real people are relatable and concrete. They enable students to engage with stories of the past in order to draw out bigger ideas and meanings.

Each story from the past tells the story of a different person relating to, or during, a specific event or time period. A set of stories has the event or time period as a common focus. However, a successful set draws on stories of people of different ages, gender/sex, backgrounds, locations and perspectives. That is, a diverse group of people. By engaging with a range of personal stories, students are able to identify similarities and differences between their thoughts and experiences. They are able to see that lives and responses are often full of complexity and nuance. They are better able to understand the context of actions taken and views held. They are also able to read about people whose voices may not usually be heard, and about the ordinariness of past life that may not be dramatic enough to warrant a history textbook chapter.

Stories of the past can help students to gain a sense of what a period was like. This then supports learning about major events that may be specified learning for assessment. They can also gain a richer understanding of these major events by reading about the nature and scale of the impact they had on people at the time. And it is possible to consider the stories as source material in the form of oral histories, particularly if teachers choose to engage students in adding to a set of stories of the past by interviewing friends and relatives about their memories of the time period being studied.

For the collection of stories from the past for the Sharing European Histories project I chose to focus on the topic of ‘After the Cold War: how do different people remember the years 1989-2000?’ The EuroClio network made it possible to contact people across the continent who were willing to share their stories. I would recommend working on developing a set to any colleague as a wonderful way to get to meet other people. However, it is also possible to use ready-made sets of stories from the past, for example, stories from 1945-49 are available on historiana.eu.

Students were asked to read the stories and to compare the similarities and differences between them. They were then asked to think about how easy or difficult life seemed for people, how much change was happening in people’s lives, and how much people were focused on wider events in the world. Having become very familiar with the stories, students were then able to suggest the impact of location, personal factors, and other factors on people’s experiences and memories. Using that discussion they could then make more general suggestions about life for people in the period 1989-2000.

The stories of the past strategy provides an accessible way to teach about complex ideas. It makes a virtue of the plethora of perspectives and experiences that humans have, in order to develop a richer knowledge and understanding of events and changes.

Helen’s strategy – Using stories of the past to teach students about its complexity – is part of a five-part teaching strategy series designed and tested by teachers for teachers. The aim of Sharing European Histories is to help young people understand the complexity, multiplicity, and transnational character of European history and recognise how history can engage everyone in understanding Europe. For more information, go to sharingeuropeanhistories.eu.

Call for partners for Erasmus+ project

Andreas Holtberget Association, EUROCLIO , ,

Call for Partners in potential EU-wide partnership on Teacher Academies

EuroClio is looking for schools, universities, and teacher training institutes that would be interested in joining forces to create an Erasmus+ Teacher Academy, and we are currently collecting expressions of interest with deadline 27 July.

Erasmus+ Teacher Academies are one of the new sets of activities that the EU will fund under the new Erasmus+ Programme. They have been launched in response to the recent surge in studies that reveal how teachers, and especially subject teachers:

  • Do not feel valued in their role
  • Feel they do not receive enough training (especially related to some key challenges such as teaching to students with special education needs).
  • Would like to receive more international training

Broadly speaking, an Erasmus+ Teacher Academy will consist of a group of training or practice schools, initial teacher training institutes, and continued professional development providers. Together, they are part of a project that focuses on digital education / inclusive education / sustainability and that provides quality training opportunities to teachers.

EuroClio we would like to apply for funding to carry out a project that focuses on inclusive education and that develops a training module on teaching inclusive education for ITTIs and two Continued Professional Development Courses.

We are now looking for partners to join forces in this project.

In particular, we are looking for institutes that are:

  • Based in the EU or in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Republic of North Macedonia, Republic of Serbia and Republic of Turkey;
  • A training or practice school OR an initial teacher training institute OR a provider of continued professional development according to your national legislation;
  • Experienced in inclusive education or willing to learn more about inclusive education;
  • Available in the period 20 August to 03 September for three meetings on the project and to give feedback to the project proposal;
  • Available in the period 01 April 2022 to 31 March 2025 to work together on this project, should we be granted it.

If your institute or association is interested in this opportunity, we would love if you could send us an email expressing your interest by Tuesday 27 July at 17:00 (Amsterdam Time).

Please find the full call for partners here and download the concept note here

 

Report: Decolonising History – A webinar series

Ulrika Stevens EUROCLIO

In April and May 2021, EuroClio hosted a webinar series titled “Decolonising History”, over a five-week period. Sessions took place once a week either on a Friday or on a Tuesday. The webinar series included a keynote lecture, four active workshops, and a final feed forward and exchange session. Mid-series, an additional panel discussion was organised on Saturday 15 May. The webinar series was based on acknowledging our colonial past, examining how it is present in the current curricula, and what role it plays in history and citizenship education. 

During the keynote lecture, a Padlet was introduced. In this Padlet, participants could write about practical steps one can take to decolonise the curriculum. The contents of the Padlet can be categorized into four subgroups:

  • Resources
    • In order to teach about colonisation and its effects diversely, resources are needed. For example, a database from which educators can pick specific topics, would be helpful. Finding resources from multiple sources is time consuming, and often one does not know where to start;
    • Using primary sources of colonised societies;
    • Creating a glossary of decolonisation definitions;
    • Using maps that are not eurocentric;
    • Discover and include non-European pedagogies in education.
  • Practice what you preach
    • Decolonising the curriculum is about multiperspectivity. In order to show how this is important, it has to be a part of the whole lesson. Providing multilingual resources for multilingual classrooms, and encouraging students to show their differences, is crucial. 
  • Engaging with students 
    • Discuss with students about current education, and see how they feel about it. Does it fulfill their needs? Are there topics that should be covered, but are currently not focused upon? How does education promote eurocentrism?;
    • Promote critical thinking in the classroom. Make it known that this is only one perspective, and discuss with students how it affects the content.
  • Promote locality
    • Discuss and educate about colonisation on a local level. What is our local history and how has colonisation shaped and affected it?;
    • Acknowledging one’s role in colonialism and discussing its implications.


You can read the whole report here

Call for teaching practices: Heritage and history education

EuroClio is looking for teaching practices that enable students to attain historical competences through the lens of heritage. The practice collection is part of the project Critical History, led by the University of Tallinn in partnership with three other European universities. Current discussions on heritage, and what we as a society choose to remember, cherish or commemorate, does not only help students learn about the past, it also forces them to think about the present and the kind of society we wish to live in. Identifying teaching practices in this field will be an important step in  inspiring colleagues from across Europe and beyond to include heritage in their own history teaching and we hope you can help us!

Do you have a practice to share related to heritage in history education? Perhaps widening the learning environment outside of the classroom? Examples include teaching practices that aim to ‘bring history alive’ offering possibilities for students to experience and connect with history through tangible representations of the past, such as statues, monuments or artwork in the public space. 

We are looking for practices that are low-cost and easy to replicate. Please contact Adriana Fuertes (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.

EuroClio features in a brand new Compendium on inclusive education

Joke Van der Leeuw-Roord EUROCLIO , ,

Are you interested in inspiring opportunities for inclusive education? The brand new European Compendium of Inspiring Practices on Inclusive and Citizenship Education contains a wealth of ideas how to approach this issue. The Compendium addresses almost 190 national and international examples in five themes: fostering social, civic and intercultural competences, enhancing critical thinking and media literacy, supporting disadvantaged learners and promoting intercultural dialogue and last but not least European history education. Several practices are crosscutting and therefore you can for example find the work of the Cypriot Home for Cooperation, ran the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research, a EuroClio Member organisation, under the theme fostering social, civic and intercultural competences.

This easy to navigate tool is brought together by the members of the European Training 2020 Working Group on Common Values and Inclusive Education over the period 2016-2020. It aims to support practitioners and policymakers to improve the inclusiveness of education and training systems across the EU. The inspiring practices come from Member States and Candidate countries, as well as from relevant EU agencies, stakeholder associations, social partners and international organisations. The ideas were presented during Working Group meetings in Brussels and Peer Learning Activities hosted by different Working Group members in the participating countries.

European history education is the fifth theme in the Compendium and it contains 11 examples of good work carried out by international and national civil society organisations. You can find work by the EuroClio Community such as In Europe Schools, Historiana and the Training Programme for History Teachers in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The House of European History presents its programme Learn about the EU in 12 steps and the Centre for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe is present with the Joint History project.

All material is presented in small abstracts as well as a full description of the practice, the latter rich with links and references. An international editors group was responsible for collecting and portraying these practical examples, among them Joke van der Leeuw-Roord, EuroClio Founder and special Advisor. She was also asked to compose the thematic fiche responsible Building Bridges through Inclusive and Cross-border History Education by the same ET 2020 working group.

 

World Café: How can we bring Remembrance Education to the classroom?

Alicia Rijlaarsdam EUROCLIO, Project Updates ,

In January and February 2021, EuroClio hosted the ‘Lest We Forget’ webinar series. In four sessions we focused on networking, practices and the relevance of remembrance education. The series was based on the RETHINK project. This article gives a brief reflection of the last session of the ‘Lest we forget’ series; the World Café focused on ‘How can we bring Remembrance Education to the classroom?’.

History education is learning about the past, while remembrance education is learning from the past

In the first discussion round, participants shared insights on the meaning and importance of Remembrance Education. Remembrance education was defined as developing critical thinking about the past while avoiding polarisation and drawing on a multiperspectivity approach. The need for connection and relevance to history curricula was emphasized while also managing feelings of both teachers and pupils in a constructive and positive manner. An educator mentioned that the younger generations are often far removed from realties of war, it is therefore important to remember to enliven difficult histories. Remembrance Education can be a tool to help students speak about difficult issues and to make events more tangible. It may help bring forth not only a national but also an individual identity as Remembrance Education helps with creating generational bonds or more broadly, meaningful connections between past and present. The role of teachers for Remembrance Education is multifold. Educators can help develop critical thinking and memory building as well as assisting in understanding more recent atrocities. Educators can help students realise dehumanisation was not only limited to the Holocaust, but has happened in many forms in many places.

Silence is a natural response to sensitive topics. People prefer to be silent rather than dare discuss controversial or unpleasant topics. However, when an entire generation can go without knowing what happened, silence becomes harmful to society and specifically to classrooms

Participants shared many reasons as to why it is hard to remember. Tensions may arise between narratives in the classroom and that of student’s family members. This can be related to generational differences but also to historical amnesia, the act of forgetting historical events. Students may look at the past through the eyes of the present as contemporary films, games and media may misrepresent historical events leading to apathy and desensitisation. Educators might be faced with a wide range of emotions from students. Students may react emotionally, show apathy, assign blame to others or become angry when faced with Remembrance Education.

Every perspective has blind spots. Only by changing your perspective can you see what you were blind to

After having identified obstacles, we discussed tips and tricks for educators when it comes to Remembrance Education. One of the main tools when dealing with apathy from students is to sensitise students to traumatic histories and experiences. This can be done by site visits, by the use of primary sources such as video-testimonies and diaries or by personal visits from survivors. Emphasizing ordinary experiences and feelings will help make Remembrance Education more relatable. Key is to open up dialogue, possibly through mediation, and involve the audience. One of the teachers mentioned Schindler’s List, the use of film can assist in airing dialogue. Educators may need to compromise with institutional or political pressures. Preparation and debriefing are crucial when talking about atrocities and genocides. A visit to Auschwitz for example should be paired with preparation beforehand and with a reflection afterwards as not to be overwhelmed by experiencing a traumatic history. A network of educators who are teaching traumatic histories to manage such emotions can also be helpful.

The focus of educators should be on teaching human values, not sole facts

This sentiment has come forward throughout the ‘Lest we forget’ webinar series. The opening lecture was given by Peninah Zilberman. As a child of Holocaust survivors, she talked about the inherent obligation to ‘Remember’. In particular, Peninah Zilberman confronted participants with issues, myths and responsibilities children of survivors inherit from their parents. The obligation to remember comes with difficulties and can be addressed using a multiperspective approach. In the workshop ‘Multiperspectivity in Remembrance Education’ we discussed the difference between memory and history and the use of various methods to explore differences with students in a way that respects their feelings and does justice to history. The use of video-testimonies in the classroom can be a tool to give voice to the stories of survivors of atrocities. In the workshop ‘the use of video testimonies in Remembrance Education', the genesis of video-testimonies was discussed as well as practicalities as where to find video-testimonies and understanding their potential for a learning environment.

EuroClio would like to thank the speakers and participants of the ‘Lest we forget’ webinar series and in particular the participants of the ‘World Café’ for sharing their experiences and insights on Remembrance Education.

Would you like to know more about the RETHINK project, it’s teachers guide, or the network created? Have a look at our project page. As part of the ‘Lest we forget’ series, EuroClio has created a resource booklet for all participants. Would you like to receive it as well? Send an email to alice@euroclio.eu.