The use of popular games to develop basic citizenship competences

This simple yet highly effective practice is based on the re-enactment of popular games part of popular cultural heritage as a means to teach pupils not only Ancient (Roman and Greek) history, but also and most importantly the importance of teamwork and of treating each other as peers and relying on each other. As such, it is a practice highly suitable for the teaching of basic citizenship values, as well as an introduction for history classes. This practice is successful in that it favours learning, promotes fantasy and integration and facilitates communication.

The Practice

This practice helps teaching students understand the importance of team working and of taking ownership of their own actions, the fact that all actions have consequences, while engaging them in the active learning of popular cultural heritage, represented by four popular games.  In addition, it serves as a preliminary introduction for the study of Greek and Roman civilization, and as a means to fix their knowledge.

It revolves around 4 steps.

1. During the first phase, Florenca proposes the four games to the students, and lets students express their desire as to which game they would like to play. This phase is very important, because students usually choose games according to the skills they possess. Some are strong physically, some are really good in developing strategies, some have very good memory, etc. Some prefer to participate in individual games, some to be part of a team, because they do not have a high self-esteem or do not feel ready to take on the responsibility of succeeding or failing alone.

2. After students have expressed the desire to play, the rules of the games are explained to them. Florenca uses four different popular and historical games, which are listed below with their main rules.

3. Once all students have understood the functioning of the game, they make teams, and the game begins. It is important, in this phase, that more than one round for each game is made, so that all students can play in the various roles (as captain, strategist, judge…). In this way, the learning and the fun are maximised for all of them.

The four games among which students can choose are:

  • A Game with swords. This game re-enacts sword fighting as it was done by gladiators in ancient Rome.This is an individual game: two students participate, everyone with a (toy) sword, and after the teacher’s signal, they need to simulate a real sword battle. The first who wins to rounds, wins the game.
    This game helps students develop a sense of ownership of their own actions: since it is played by individuals, responsibility for the victory or for the defeat lies all on the player.
  • Rope pulling game.In this game, the whole class can participate. Divided in two groups, students have to pull a rope with as much strength as they can, so as to ‘drag’ the other team in their side of the field.
    By playing this game, students implement their ability to work in teams, and to share responsibilities for victories and defeats.
  • Game with disc jigsawThis is another individual game: students are provided with a disc and asked to throw it as far as possible, as if they were Olympic athletes. This game can also be used as introductory element for lessons about ancient Greece.
    It promotes, as the game of swords, students’ sense of ownership of their own actions. In addition to this, it shows students the cause-effect relation between actions: the amount of strength put in the launch is directly proportional to the result.
  • Memory gameIn this game, students are given the world map, and have to place on the map early civilisations (Ancient Egypt, Sumerians, …). This game can be used, therefore, to fix notions after history lessons.
    This game helps students develop their reasoning competences. Often, in fact, students know or remember small details about such civilisations, and have to infer from such details the correct location.

4. Finally, the class is drawn together to reflect on the lessons learned during the day. In this phase, the teachers might ask some broad questions to start and guide discussions on:

  • team work and responsibility, developed compared and contrasting the rope pulling game with either the game of swords or the disc game. This discussion can be sparked by the question: “how did you feel when you won/lost? And when your team did?”;
  • Cause/effect relations. This concept can be developed starting to the question “If you had thrown the disc harder, what would have been the consequence?”;
  • Ancient civilisations, which can be introduced by asking questions such as “Do you know who used to play the Disc Game in the past?”, or consolidated by means of the memory game.

The effect of the practice

The use of popular games has a highly positive effect on students. In her experience, Florenca has noticed that, for instance, it helps students developing problem solving skills, it supports pupils’ physical development, and soothes emotional clashes and quarrel between students.

It has effects also on students social skills, teaching students how to respect each other, wait in line for their turn, respect rules and communicate clearly and politely face-to-face. Finally, team games help with the teaching of cooperation skills and importance of sharing. Therefore, it is advisable to implement such practice at the beginning of the school year, using it as a Team Building exercise.

The practice, furthermore, helps teachers sparking students’ interest in history, showing them that whenever we speak of civilisations which existed thousands of years ago, we ultimately make reference to people just like us, who liked games, and preferred winning over losing.

Florenca tried to assess the effect of the practice on her students by means of questionnaires to be compiled before and after the “game day”, and was positively surprised by the answers: many students recognised that their understanding of the concepts of team and of responsibility had become clearer, together with their awareness of each other’s different abilities. They said they were more willing to accept and support their diversities.

 

About the interviewee

Florenca Stafa is history teacher in a secondary school, and deals with pupils aged 12-15. She also works as lecturer at the University of Elbasan for the course “The methodology of history teaching”, at Master level.

Background information

Florenca started to implement the practice as a means to promote a better understanding and implementation of theoretical concepts and values. She recognized that students appreciated the opportunity to learn while having fun, and started to mainstream the practice in her classes.

Additional Information

Usually, it takes around 90 minutes to carry out the practice making sure that every student has the opportunity to play, and that enough space is left for the final discussion.

It is better to carry out the games, especially the sword, the rope pulling, and the disc game, in a garden or a backyard.

What is needed are:
– wooden swords;
– a rope;
– a disc (which can be substituted by a stone);
– maps of the world;
– helmets (especially for the game of swords).

Written by Florenca Stafa (University of Elbasan) in Elbasan on 20/07/2018.

Building Technological Bridges with History: the use of digital learning platforms to promote tailored History Education

Nowadays, teachers willing to provide inclusive and accessible history and citizenship education have an important ally: Information and Communication Technologies. Thanks to the use of online learning environments, in fact, teachers can prepare lessons and, even, provide tasks to their students. In her school, Ana Batalha started to use ICT equipment to provide her students with differentiated tasks, varying in their complexity degree, ensuring in this way the inclusiveness of her lessons. Such strategy proved to be particularly beneficial for working with students with special educational needs (learning difficulties, attention and concentration difficulties, dyslexia, etc.) and students with lack of motivation, sometimes associated with behaviour problems.

The Practice

The practice is based on the use of digital learning platforms that allow the simultaneous connection and work of more devices. Therefore, it is a practice suitable for use in all those classrooms who are equipped with a projector or a digital whiteboard. In the school where Ana Batalha implemented the practice, the software used was either Classflow or Kahoot (more information about the softwares can be retrieved in the section “additional information”).

The reason why such platforms are used is that they allow to create lesson plans, learning activities, tasks and tests, thanks to the availability of written testimonies, photographies, films, maps, or other primary and secondary sources. What is most profitable, is that they provide the possibility to create various tasks with various difficulty degrees.

The differentiation of tasks is extremely important when it comes with students with special education needs, who can develop, in this way, knowledge in an interactive way that plays on their strengths and interests.

Most of such platforms give also the possibility, to students, to receive immediate feedback on their work. This is extremely useful because it helps students to understand which are the notions that have not been internalized, and to immediately intervene in such sense.

A typical lesson, for students aged 12-15, implementing this practice is developed as follows:

  1. Frontal presentation of the content of the lesson. During this step, the teacher provides information to students, usually with the help of photographies, documents or videos shown on the interactive whiteboard (or projected in the classroom).
  2. Debate within the classroom. During this phase, of high importance, the teacher asks students what they understood about the topic, and how they would describe the topic to others.
  3. Detailed description of the sources used. The teachers go back to the sources shown during step one, and explains to the students the relation between the specific source and the topic of the lesson. Students are encouraged to ask questions and to express their opinion.
  4. Synthesis. Just during this phase, students turn to their own devices (either computers, if the lesson is taking place in a computer room, or tablets or phones), and are asked to summarise the lesson, using pictures and other sources they might find on the selected digital learning platform. It is in this phase that differentiation takes place: students with special education needs are asked to provide a schematic summary of the topic, whereas other students are asked to write a few paragraphs.
  5. Assessment. In this part, students are asked to complete a worksheet with exercises with various degrees of difficulty, in order to consolidate the information received during the lesson.

Obstacles and lessons learned

It might be difficult, for teachers, to identify those students who might require differentiated exercises, and to design for them exercises that are challenging and motivating. In order to overcome this obstacle, it is necessary that teachers work in partnership with school psychological services and with teachers specialized in specific learner needs. In Ms. Batalha’s school, at the beginning of every school year diagnostic evaluations were carried out, providing an additional indication of where it was necessary to intervene with differentiated tasks, and how to do so.

One of the obstacles that a teacher might encounter in the implementation of this practice is the fact that parents might have doubts on the effectiveness and neutrality of students assessment on the basis of tasks performed with digital tools. To prevent this from happening, teachers should keep the parents informed with updated results for each assessment. A method for doing so could be to create PDF documents with the task conducted, and the subsequent evaluation. Furthermore, some digital learning platform might even provide the possibility to create a link that parents can use to keep track of their children’s results.

The effect of the practice

Every time this software is used, students become more focused on the presented activities. This is a great tool for students with special needs and for students who, inside the classroom, are more active, because the kind of tasks that they have to perform makes them become much more involved and motivated.

Furthermore, providing students with tasks tailored for their abilities allows all of them to perform the task successfully and, what is most important, without feeling discriminated. The anonymity granted by the use of ICTs is extremely important in this sense, specially taking into account that students might be self conscious of their learning difficulties, and try to hide them if openly asked about them.

 

About the interviewee

Ana Batalha is a History teacher, project manager and trainer. Contact information: anabatalha@atb23.net

Background to the project

The project moves from the need to reduce the gap between the use of digital technologies and instruments inside and outside school and the need to be creative, innovative and motivating by using digital tools and strategies that incorporated ICT technologies. Furthermore, it was also inspired by another initiative led by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, called E.I.L. (Enhancing and Improving Learning). It was firstly meant to address students with difficulties in Mathematics, lack of interest and the consequent low school results. The methodology that was used motivated students to learning and helped them to improve results in that subject.

Additional Information:

Support material

The school has produced, together with other countries, an intellectual output – a Notebook of good practices entitled “ICT in Education. A Good Practice Notebook”, which is the result of an Erasmus + project, called “21st Century European Classroom: meeting the challenge of the digital era with Innovation and Creativity”.

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the external partner in the project, monitored and assessed the whole process. The results of the project are all gathered in the following website: notebook future classroom lab K2 project.pdf   http://atb23saladofuturo.weebly.com/

More info

More information about the project can be found at https://www.up2europe.eu/european/projects/21st-century-european-classrooms-meeting-the-challenge-of-the-digital-era-with-innovation-and-creativity_106432.html

The software
The software used by Ms. Batalha is Classflow, by Promethean Limited, an interactive lesson delivery system that provides the collaborative use of classroom devices for interactive touchboards. In alternative, the Kahoot software might be used. Other digital learning platform for the delivery of interactive lessons are available online.

Written by Cristina Amaral (Montemor-o-Velho School Cluster) based on an interview with Ana Batalha (Atouguia da Baleia School Cluster, Portugal) on 17 July 2017. The interview was conducted by Manuela Carvalho.

Feeling the Museum: putting oneself in the shoes of students with special needs to understand how to provide the best didactic experience possible

The Machado de Castro National Museum, in Coimbra, implements a variety of projects to make the visit as inclusive as possible. Some of those projects are specifically designed to improve the experience of students with visual impairments, especially upon request of the Portuguese Association for the Visually Impaired.

In order to put themselves in the shoes of visually impaired participants and to best identify their needs and possible solutions, a team formed by the museum staff and students from the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences had a blindfolded visit of the museum. As a consequence of this visit, the museum slowly started implementing innovations to make the visit for visually impaired individuals more informative and enjoyable.

As part of the “Feeling the Museum” project, we highlight the construction of a scale model of the cryptoporticus and the Roman forum that once occupied the site where the museum is now set. This touching contact with the model, built to scale, precedes the visit to this space and provides the knowledge of the structure and dimensions of what was this Roman construction.

The Practice

After a request from ACAPO – The Portuguese Association of the Visually Impaired to allow visitors with visual impairments to touch some of the works of art exhibited in the Machado de Castro National Museum, the museum personnel felt the need to properly understand which were the steps necessary to be taken to improve experience in the museum for all visitors.

They decided, to better understand it, to organise a blindfolded visit in the museum, followed by a traineeship at the High School of Education, which helped participants become more aware of the difficulties and barriers blind people face in their daily life and what simple changes can be taken to better include them in guided visits. For example, during the traineeship museum employees were suggested to increase the amount of details when describing works of art, and to be more reliant on the other senses of blind and partially sighted people to convey the necessary information about works of art.Thanks to this simple exercise of putting themselves into the shoes of visitors with visual impairments, the museum personnel was able to understand what needed to be done to make their museum truly accessible to all visitors.

The cooperation with ACAPO throughout the realisation of the project was really important, because allowed the museum personnel to pilot the ideas born after the blindfolded visit and the traineeship with the final recipients of the innovation, to check whether they were truly effective.

In the specific case of the Machado de Castro National Museum, the blindfolded visit gave birth to two main projects: the project “feeling the museum” and the project “touch me”.

The former determined the production, by architects and members of ACAPO together, of touchable scale models of the artworks exhibited in the museum and of the ancient Roman remains the museum is built on, and the addition of descriptions in Braille near to the artworks exhibited.

The latter entails the production of touchable replicas of statues and audio descriptions of all artworks exhibited.

Obstacles and lessons learned

The museum personnel did not encounter obstacles in the realisation of the blindfolded visit per se, but few concerns were raised in the implementation of the ideas born after the visit.

The main concern related with the financial and human resources necessary to truly implement all these ideas: material for the realization of models and replicas was needed, as well as the external help of personnel such as architects or artists to create the replicas of Machado de Castro’s sculptures. This monetary obstacle as resolved with a fundraising among the museum partners and the subsequent investment in acquiring a 3D printer, which now can be used for the creation of all the replicas and additional materials needed.

The effect of the practice

The practice had a variety of effects.

First of all, it allowed the members of the museum personnel who participated to the blindfolded visit to understand that visually impaired visitors usually compensate with an ‘extra alertness’ of other senses, which allows them not only to ‘see’ sculptures by touching them, but also to understand the dimensions of buildings thanks to scale models.

Secondly, it determined the implementation of numerous innovations, which are described in the last paragraph of the section about the practice. Such innovations are appreciated by the whole public of the Museum, which, for example, now starts the visit of the cryptoporticus (the Roman ruins on which the Museum is built) with the analysis and exploration of its scale model. The touchable scale model is, today, preferred to other depictions of the porticus, such as a 3D reconstruction.

Finally, the practice of having blindfolded visits has given birth to a virtuous circle of mutual learning. In every visit provided to visually impaired visitors, the museum personnel learns something that is, then, put to the service of the whole public of the museum. This is the reason why numerous projects for the improvement of the Museum’s accessibility have been implemented, becoming, in some case (such as for the project ‘Feeling the Museum’), part of the ANACED’s Good Practice Notebook.

 

About the Interviewee

Ana Alcoforado studied History in the University of Coimbra and she was responsible for the Sculpture and Furniture collections, as a curator of the  Machado de Castro National Museum.

She obtained a specialization degree in Public Management and Administration and has authored several publications pertaining to the collections of the Museum and other themes of expertise.

Ana Alcoforado is responsible for the direction of the Museum since 2008.

Background to the project

The project “Feeling the Museum” was born out of the desire to make the Machado de Castro National Museum a space accessible to visitors with visual impairments, and is the result of a cooperation between the Museum Personnel and the Coimbra’s ACAPO  – the Portuguese Association for the Visually Impaired office. The rationale for this project is to be found not only in the specific request, from ACAPO, to allow visitors with visual impairments to touch the sculptures exhibited, but also from the very words of Machado de Castro, the Portuguese sculptor to whom the Museum is dedicated. He, in fact, used to say that “Sculpture is the finest of all arts because even a blind person can see it”. Basing on this challenges, the personnel of the museum decided to identify the needs of visitors with visual impairments through a blindfolded visit, which is the practice described in this Collection of Practices. All the projects born after the practice have been made possible thanks to the Museum´s team. Sometimes there are so many requests that it is not possible to answer all of them. To obviate this limitation, Ana Alcoforado underlines that «we work together with institutions, providing training in different areas, all connected with the exploration of works of art. We have even developed some worksheets that have some guidelines for that exploration

Additional Information

Many inclusion practices developed by the Museum are now part of the ANACED’s Good Practice Notebook.

ANACED (in English, NAACDP –  National Association of Art and Creativity by and for Disabled People) is a Portuguese association with international dissemination. It works with people with disabilities, and aims at raising their visibility on the European level and helping them to enter into the job market. Their Good Practice Notebook includes three practices developed by the Museum between 2012 and 2015. In 2016 it was included in Coimbra’s Directory.

Links to the museum:

http://www.museumachadocastro.gov.pt/

http://www.museumachadocastro.gov.pt/en-GB/2%20museu/Directors/ContentDetail.aspx?id=1064

Link for accessing the project «Touching the Museum» – accessible scale model:

http://www.museumachadocastro.gov.pt/pt-PT/projetos%20inclusao/ContentDetail.aspx?id=1042

http://www.museumachadocastro.gov.pt/en-GB/public%20with%20disabilities/ContentList.aspx

 

Written by Elvira Santos (Montemor-o-Velho School Cluster) based on an interview with Ana Alcoforado (Director of Machado de Castro National Museum) on 14th December 2017. The interview was conducted by Elvira Santos and António Joaquim.

Students as Mediators of Conflicts

One of the difficulties frequently encountered by citizenship teachers and educators is that the subject might seem, to the student, abstract. Students, therefore, might learn concepts by heart, without internalizing the values connected to them. By training students, and especially students with behavioural issues, to become Mediators within their schools, Ariana Cosme has found an effective way to provide a sound connection between citizenship values such as responsibility, respect, and awareness of the consequences of one’s own behaviour, and students’ everyday life.

The Practice

The practice is composed of a variety of steps, which can be easily followed for the effective implementation of the strategy.

  1. training of the Mediators – the first step in the implementation of the practice was the selection of Students who wanted to become Mediators. Students were usually invited to become Mediators, according to two criteria – either because they were known as always having had an extremely correct behaviour and could function as a role model to other students or because they had misbehaved and, by assuming this responsibility, would recognize they were being given a second chance. This second chance proved to be, in the majority of cases, extremely successful. The students’ age could range from 13 to 18 years old, thus allowing almost every grade at the school to be included in this mediation role. Then, students candidate to become Mediating Students took part in a short (five to six sessions) course on School Mediation. Such course had a formal setting, and every session begun with the coordinating teachers asking the students to sign a contract, and ended with the attribution of a certificate to the students. In these sessions, students would learn how important it was to listen to both sides of a conflict, to encourage dialogue between the involved parts and to try to reach an agreement that would satisfy everyone. The importance of recognizing one’s own errors and having the courage to apologize was occupied also a big part of the classes.
  2. creation of a Conflict Mediation Office – during the training of Mediators, the school chose a room to be dedicated to Conflict Mediation. The Conflict Mediation Office (this was the name given to the room) was then decorated, making it comfortable and cosy for students, creating in this way an environment suitable for dialogues and conflict mediation. In the case of this example, the decoration happened mostly thanks to the help of teachers, who donated carpets, joyful curtains, and even a sofa. All the equipment was old, but still in good conditions.
  3. implementation of the Mediation Strategy – every time a student was involved in a problem with a teacher or with assistants, he was referred to the Conflict Mediation Office. There, the student was asked to reflect on his/her own acts.
    This reflection was guided by either a trained teacher or a Student Mediator. The role of the Mediator, during this step, was to understand the reasons why the student misbehaved, and to help him understand why his/her behaviour was wrong. Furthermore, the Mediator helped the student understand that he/she should apologize with the teacher/assistant.Then, after the dialogue in the Conflict Mediation Office has ended, the Mediator went back to the classroom with the student. Since the classroom was busy with a lesson, the Mediator would ask the teacher the permission to enter the classroom, and then invite the student to apologize to the teacher. Together with the conversation with the Mediator, this public apology is what reinforces the student’s conviction that the misbehavior was unnecessary and damaging,and should not re-occur.

Obstacles and lessons learned

A first obstacle encountered in the implementation of the practice was the fact that some teachers were not convinced to include students with behavioural issues among the Candidates to become Mediators. Luckily, this obstacle was easily overcome when they could witness the effectiveness that assuming the responsibility for one’s actions had on students’ subsequent behaviour. As a consequence, teachers started to consider the inclusion of students with behavioural issues as one of the keys to the success of the project.

Another obstacle was the fact that, sometimes, the dialogue in the Conflict Mediation Office took some time. Since the dialogue happened right after the ‘incident’, the dialogue took often place during lesson hour, determining for the student the recognition that he would need not only to improve his behaviour, but also to work harder in order to catch up with what he/she had missed while in the Conflict Mediation Office. To avoid this, and to reduce at a minimum the time students are prevented from interacting with their teachers and colleagues, the dialogues in the Conflict Mediation Office were tailored so that they would not last more than 15 minutes.

Finally, it is really important that, during the dialogue between student and Mediator, the authority of the teacher/assistant who was ‘victim’ of the ‘incident’ is never disrespected. At the same time, the reasons of the student should be listened carefully, and never considered less important or mocked.

Effect of the practice

After the implementation of the project, the School witnessed a sharp decrease in the number of disciplinary incidents. Furthermore, students that were considered the main responsible for such incidents became Mediators themselves. Therefore, not only they stopped being undisciplined, but they also started to actively prevent and mediate the action of their colleagues. At the moment, the two students with Special Education Needs have become Mediators. Despite their small cognitive limitations, they are extremely friendly with their colleagues, and have already managed some conflicts in a most effective way.

 

About the Interviewee

Ariana Cosme has a doctorate in Science of Education by the Faculty of Psychology and Science of Education in University of Oporto, where she holds the position of Assistant Professor.

Lately, the “socio-pedagogical mediation within the scope of formal educational contexts” has been filling a good part of her investigation.

She belongs to the Investigation group KIDE – Knowledge, Innovation and Diversity in Education.  She’s also the Co-coordinator of Life Observatory in Schools (LOS), from the CERI (Centre for Educational Research and Intervention).

E-mail: ariana@fpce.up.pt

Background to this project

The high number of incidents from disciplinary character, existing in the Schools Group of Santa Bárbara, in Fânzeres, Gondomar, Portugal, led the associated Administration to contact the Faculty of Psychology and Science of Education of the University of Oporto in the 2014-2015 school year. With the help of the University, and especially of Ariana Cosme, the school not only created a “Conflict Mediation Office”, but promoted the training of Teacher Mediators and, especially, of “Student Mediators”. Student Mediators were selected both among students who had always had an exemplary behaviour and students who were used to disrespect both their teachers and their classmates, determining a sharp decrease in the number of incidents.

Additional Information

Teachers or anyone interested in specializing in this issue can apply to the Post-Graduation Course: “Mediation of Conflicts in School Contexts” coordinated by PhD Professor Ariana Cosme, in FPSEUO, as well as in the training initiatives streamlined by her, invited by many other schools. Soon Ms. Cosme would also publish a book about the experience she carried out in the School Cluster of Santa Bárbara, in Fânzeres, Gondomar. For more information, please contact: ariana@fpce.up.pt

https://www.ulp.pt/pos-graduacao/mediacao-de-conflitos-em-contexto-escolar

 

Written by Lina Madeira (School Cluster of Montemor-o-Velho), from the made interview to Ariana Cosme (Faculty of Psychology and Science of Education, University of Oporto), in Oporto, on the 27th April 2017.

Find out what New Students Bring to the Classroom

As a response to an increase in new students in the Swedish educational system, the Swedish Board of Education tasked a group of schools and universities to find a way to assess what newly arrived students know in order to provide the best possible education for each student, as well as focusing on their strengths rather than their weaknesses. This resulted in the formation of materials for conducting discourse around history for the purpose of assessing the historical competencies of newly arrived students. This is done in the form of a 70-minute conversation between a teacher and a student.

The assessment is meant to provide valuable insight into what the students are already familiar with, so that teachers can take this into account when creating lesson plans.

The practice

A team of researchers in Sweden developed and piloted an assessment form that is meant to find out the level of historical competencies that the newly arrived students possess. The same assessment is used for a wide age range of students (7-16 year olds) and it takes the form of a 70-minute conversation between the (history) teacher and the student. The assessment is designed to look into capabilities of students rather than their knowledge. For example, focus is placed on construction and organization of history, as oppo

sed to specific content that happened in the past.

The conversation is designed to find out what the students have been taught before as well as what they have picked up outside of school.

The conversation is supposed to be done in the language that the student is most familiar with, along with the teacher that teaches the subject (which in this case would be history). Since the teacher already has some background information from the initial interview, as well as the literacy and numeracy assessments, s/he can choose the content that is likely to be most familiar to the students. The prompts that are used are pictures of various sources and the examples of the use of historical events or processes that the students are most likely to be familiar with, such as migration.

Obstacles and lessons learned

Throughout the duration of the program, several obstacles were encountered. The assessment could be stressful for students, especially those who have had negative experiences in the past, which are not always known to the teachers beforehand. This issue can be solved by creating a relaxing atmosphere and not putting pressure on students to answer the assessment by pausing or stopping the assessment when necessary.

It is also difficult to know beforehand what historical content students are familiar with and which they are not. Therefore, the focus is placed on abilities rather than knowledge, and it offers a choice of topics that the teachers giving the assessment could choose from. When necessary, students are encouraged to draw information from world history and history of everyday life and migration, as these topics are more likely to be familiar to newly arrived students. To help with the language barrier, interpreters were used during the assessment, historical sources that are included are mainly visual, and numeracy and literacy evaluations were translated into the students’ mother tongue.

The quality of the assessment also is dependent on the level of competencies of the person conducting the interview. To ensure that the teachers giving the assessment had the knowledge and the skills to process the information, a series of trainings were organized across Sweden, as well as the development of video tutorials and support packages.

The time investment that the schools have to put in in order to implement the assessment remains a challenge. Due to the optional nature of the subject-specific assessment, it is up to the individual school or educator to decide whether to implement the assessment or not. It should be noted that the assessment is best suited for older students, as younger students are more likely to be at the same level as their Swedish peers.

The effect of the practice

The educators that were involved in the development, piloting and testing of the assessment were really excited about the program. At the same time, students that participated in the piloting exercise indicated that they very much liked the one-on-one approach because they had the feeling that they were taken seriously.

The assessing package for history has been publicly available since the fall of 2017. While the Swedish Board of Education has made some parts of the assessment mandatory for schools, the subject-specific part of the assessment still remains optional.

 

About the interviewee

Cecilia Axelsson Yngvéus is an Assistant Professor of History Didactics, Malmö University, Sweden. She has a PhD in History Didactics, Meditation and Learning in Museum. She is a writer of support material for assessing history in upper secondary schools for the Swedish National Agency for Education and is a team leader in the Agency’s project on assessing newcomers’ knowledge of history.

Background to the project

The project was initiated by the Swedish Board of Education. The Board wanted to find out what relevant competences newly arrived student haves, and which skills they still need to develop. The mapping of historical competences is part of a bigger assessment, including an interview about previous education, as well as a literacy and numeracy assessment. The work with constructing the material for assessing the four social studies subjects, started in 2013 and finished in 2015. The general assessments are mandatory for all schools and the subject-specific ones are optional. The assessments were made by a national consortium of universities and schools across Sweden, including Malmö University.

Additional information

The Swedish Board of Education has made several support materials available for teachers in order to use the assessment in the classroom: There is a guide for teachers, with a description and guiding principles that clarifies to teachers how to use the form, a YouTube channel with explanatory videos about the assessment that teacher can access, and there is a summary statement that helps the teacher providing the assessment to quantify the results and progress.

 

Written by Steven Stegers (EuroClio – Inspiring History and Citizenship Educators) based on an interview with Cecilia Axelsson Yngvéus (Malmö University) in The Hague on 6 January 2017.

Make your Teaching more Inclusive and Accessible for your Students

Jaco Stoop Featured, Project Updates

The Strategies for Inclusion project has reached its final phase with just a few months left. The partners met for the final time in Slovenia, embedded in the final training seminar of the project. In this meeting the final steps in the project were discussed, both in terms of content and in terms of the management. An event report can be found here.

The Special Interest Group members also gathered for the last time in the project during the final training seminar in Metlika. In a reflective session the SIG members expressed the project has widened their own perspective on inclusive education, and that is exactly what this project is about. They also expressed a commitment to continue work on this issue. We will explore the possibilities for additional (online) trainings with the resources developed.

This included the finalisation of the educational resources developed in the project. These formed the basis of national workshops and the workshops in the final training in Slovenia, and will be offered on Historiana after summer. These are concrete history or citizenship lessons, with an inclusive approach and with specific tips on how to make certain elements of the lesson more inclusive, depending on the type of students you have. Some of these resources will also become available in the project languages (Armenian, Dutch, Norwegian, Slovenian and Portuguese).

Additionally, the work on collecting concrete practices of history and/or citizenship teaching methods, lessons or educational initiatives that have an inclusive approach continues. You can find blogposts with these methods on our website here, with regular publications of new posts of other practices we collected in the project.

Strategies for Inclusion Final Training, Summer School Organised in Metlika, Slovenia

Jaco Stoop Project Updates

Last week, the final combined training for the project Strategies for Inclusion took place in Metlika, Slovenia, from the 9th to the 15th of July 2018. The meeting was organised by EuroClio, by the Slovenian History Teachers’ Association, and by Zavod za gluhe in ngalusne Ljubliana, one of the partners in the project. It was realised with the support of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, and it was attended by representatives of the partners in the project, as well as by the trainers and by the members of the Special Interest Groups on Motivation and Learner Variability, and on  Blind and Partially Sighted and Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing.

In addition to that, the meeting incorporated the fourth Regional Summer School. Because of this incorporation of the Regional Summer School into the project training, EuroClio was able to fund the participation of representatives from HTA’s from Southeast Europe. In addition, four educators were selected through an open call to participate in the training. In total, the training was attended by 55 participants, from a total of 23 different countries. The mix of Special Interest Group members and other educators which were rather new to the topic of inclusive education caused interesting discussions and provided learning opportunities for everyone. All the participants, at the end of the training, recognized an increased awareness of what determines high quality and inclusive history and citizenship education, gained thanks to the sharing of experiences, practices, and resources throughout the training.

The meeting consisted of five full working days with different programme elements, and was the perfect opportunity for EuroClio, the Special Interest Group members, and the Partners, to discuss and show what has been done throughout the development of the project. The project, in fact, which included the development of five different outputs: a Selection of Existing Resources and Recommendations, a Needs Assessment, a Collection of Practices, the creation of Educational Resources, and the production of Policy Recommendations, which will soon be shared on the EuroClio website. All such outputs fed into the rich programme of the training.

The programme included plenary sessions and workshops on various aspects of inclusive education, group discussions on challenges to inclusive education and possible, concrete solutions, a demonstration of Historiana, using the resources available on Europeana, and workshops using 9 of the 19 educational resources that have been developed, which will be shared on Historiana. During the training, various speakers intervened, such as Dr. Carrie Weston (University of East London), Steve Johnson (Cambridge Assessment), Arie Wilschut (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences), Lise Kvande, together with three of her students from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and Jayne Pletser (International Baccalaureate). The programme of the meeting included also two Regional Workshops, hosted by Donika Xhemajli and Zvezdana Petrovic. In addition, a cultural programme was offered about the inclusion of Uskoki minorities in ancient Slovenia, followed by a lecture from the local historian Janez Weiss. Educators took also part in a visit to to the Slovene Ethnograhpic Museum in Ljubljana, and to the Elementary School Milke Šobar- Nataše, which offers curricula specifically designed for students with Special Education Needs.

At the end of the training, Special Interest Group members seized the opportunity to highlight the momentum gained by the project and by their now three years-experience in barriers to inclusive education, in the design of educational resources tackling such barriers. They expressed the desire to continue to work on the topic, sharing their practices and experience with other teachers throughout, and beyond, Europe.

Reports on Recommended Resources and Needs Assessment in Making History and Citizenship More Inclusive Now Available for Public

EuroClio Project Updates

EuroClio is happy to present the analysis report of the selection of existing resources and recommendations and the report of the 1st stage of needs assessment developed within the “Strategies for Inclusion—Making high quality history and citizenship education more inclusive and accessible” project.

The analysis report of the selection of existing resources and recommendations has been made by the Armenian Center for Democratic Education- CIVITAS in cooperation with EuroClio and other consortium members. In the analysis report a thematic approach has been used to select relevant resources for making History and Citizenship Education more inclusive. The report includes summary reports on History Education, Citizenship, Motivational barriers, dead and hard-of- hearing, blind and partially-sighted resources. The selection of existing sources serves as a resource database for further reference for teachers, educational practitioners, experts and policy makers. The database also provides resources on recommended approaches and methodology on how to make history and citizenship education more inclusive.

The report of the 1st phase of the needs assessment has been made by Manuela Carvalho from the School Cluster of Montemor-o-Velho in cooperation with the consortium members of the project. The needs assessments was established through findings of the online survey which has been responded by 193 educators from 33 countries. The goal of the needs assessment is to get a better understanding of what the real barriers are for teaching, collect input to ensure that the educational resources developed and teachers’ training sessions are meeting the needs of students and educators. The needs assessment report also provides evidence that can be used for advocacy purposes and policy recommendations.

For questions, please contact Project Manager Judith Geerling (judith@euroclio.eu).

Find the reports on the project page of Strategies for Inclusion:

Strategies for Inclusion

2nd Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting Strategies for Inclusion

EuroClio

The second Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting in the project Strategies for Inclusion will take place in London from 7-13 November. The Special Interest Group will meet with the following aims in mind;

  • To share the findings of the questionnaire developed within the needs assessment and the selection of existing resources on inclusive education and high quality history and citizenship education, and discuss the implications for the development of the educational resources
  • To peer review the draft educational resources in terms of content and methodology, their potential to remove barriers to learning specific to history and citizenship education, the extent to which they are meeting the diverse learning needs of students, and identify ways of improving these resources
  • To train the SIG members on the development of high quality educational resource for history and citizenship, inclusive assessments and the practice of inclusive schools, via training and onsite learning
  • To agree on the timeline of activities between this and final meeting, including the piloting process of the draft educational resources

Additionally, the interest group members will attend to a varied and interesting programme that includes a visit to the Museum of Childhood as well as institutional visits in both London and Hampshire.

Strategies for Inclusion: 1st Special Interest Groups

EuroClio

During this first meeting, the participants of the Special Interest Groups aim to identify the barriers to high-quality history and citizenship education and brainstorm about the development of educational resources to overcome these barriers.

The two Special Interest groups are:

  1. Blind and partially sighted and Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing
  2. Learner variability and motivation

Presentations, brainstorming sessions, workshops, school visits, and other on-site learning activities all form a part of the programme. For more information, see our project page!