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.

Final Conference: Remembrance Education for Thinking Critically

Giulia Verdini Opportunities

The three-day conference is part of the RETHINK project and will discuss the meaning of Remembrance Education and how to bring it to the classroom.

As the aim of the project is to support inclusive education by shedding light on the historical significance of polarised identities and providing educators with tools to combat intolerance and challenge prejudices, with this final conference we want to promote the project results towards educational institutions and other learning providers, policymakers and stakeholders at European level.

 

Dates and sessions’ content:

2 March 2021 (10AM-1PM CET)

  • What is Rethink? (Clément Bardoux, France Education International – Coordinator Rethink Project)
  • Presentation of the Rethink database (Morgane Knepper – Mémorial de la Shoah)
  • Launch of the Rethink Network (Isabelle Diependaele – Kazerne Dossin)
  • Never Again is Now Again: Historical Persistence of Collective Violence and Critical Thinking in Remembrance Education (Nena Močnik – PhD)

 

3 March 2021 (4PM-6PM CET)

  • Connecting to session 1 (Isabelle Diependaele – Kazerne Dossin)
  • The case of bringing Remembrance Education to the class room (Wouter Sinaeve)
  • Presentation Rethink Teachers’ Guide and E-learning platform (Alice Modena – EuroClio, Alessia Valenti – CESIE)

 

4 March 2021 (10AM-1PM CET)

  • Connecting to session 2 (Isabelle Diependaele – Kazerne Dossin)
  • Introduction of the panel: Remembrance education in practice: Voices from different fields (Alice Modena & Catherine Savitsky – EuroClio)
  • How can we present a difficult past in a way that it is meaningful today? (Prof. Dariusz Stola)
  • How to bring Theory into Practice? (Maarten Van Alstein – PhD)
  • Remembrance education – The role of public authorities (Jean-Philippe Restoueix)
  • Presentation of Rethink’s policy recommendations (Isabelle Diependaele – Kazerne Dossin)

More information

For additional information on the project and more details about the conference, visit RETHINK's website.

Learning from the Holocaust: A Teachers’ Guide on Visiting a Concentration Camp

Ever thought of organizing a student excursion to a former concentration camp, but don't know how to approach it? Many teachers feel underqualified to address sensitive and heavy topics like the Holocaust, and without the right resources, may choose to avoid the topic altogether. What questions do you ask your students before the visit? What kind of reflection do you prompt on arrival? What are the main thoughts students should take away from such an experience?

Thankfully, Holocaust Education Trust Ireland (HETI) have compiled a useful set of guidelines for educational visits to former concentration camps, with materials that include:

  • terms and key concepts
  • reflection questions
  • research inquiry questions
  • preparation and post-visit discussion points

Learning from the Holocaust: Visiting Krakow and Auschwitz-Birkenau

Learning from the Holocaust: Leaving Krakow and Auschwitz-Birkenau

Sign up to pilot our new eLearning platform on remembrance education!

This summer, the RETHINK team (Remembrance Education for THINKing Critically) will launch its eLearning Platform. We are looking for 20 members of our network who would like to pilot modules of the platform before its official launch. The eLearning Platform is designed as a professional development opportunity for teachers and educators, so there is no need to pilot it with students.

The structure of the eLearning platform

The eLearning platform consists of 8 different modules, and each pilot volunteer is asked to try out a minimum of two modules (but you can try more if you like!).

Modules and Time Lengths:

1. Making the past relevant for today - 50 min

2. Applying multiperspectivity to remembrance education - 50 min

3. Methodologies and approaches (this section is divided in modules 3A, 3B, 3C)

3A. Preparation for a visit to a remembrance site - 60 – 90 min

3B. Teaching with video testimonies of victims of national socialism - 50-90 min

3C. Making the most of digital archives in class - 35 min

4. Challenging exclusion: thinking critically (this section is divided in modules 4A, 4B, and 4C)

4A. Dealing with hate speech - 50 min

4B. Addressing propaganda today - 100 min

4C. Prejudices & stereotyping: in everyday life and throughout history - 30 min

There is a maximum number of slots per module, and we will operate on a first come, first served basis, so signing up for a module in a timely manner is essential.

How will the piloting work?

We will arrange short (15-20 minutes) Skypes in early June with pilot volunteers to present the RETHINK project and partnership, in order to provide context for the eLearning platform. The piloting will then take place in the second half of June, and pilot volunteers will receive a short feedback form to fill in with their thoughts on the experience.

To collect further qualitative feedback, we will also plan short online focus groups with pilot volunteers who tried out the same modules. These will take place in July, and participation to them will be optional. It will be a great opportunity to meet colleagues from all across Europe, and to let us know what you thought of the modules you tried out.

 

Both the pre-piloting conversation and the post-piloting focus groups will be hosted by Alice Modena and Catherine Savitsky. If you are interested, please reach out to Alice Modena at alice@euroclio.eu

Survey: Provide Insight about Teaching Controversial History to RETHINK Consortium

Agustin De Julio Project Updates

The RETHINK Consortium aims to develop an e-learning platform and provide teachers with pedagogical tools to challenge students’ prejudices, deepen their understanding of phenomena such as racism and radicalisation, and develop their media literacy and critical thinking skills.

In order to develop an online course that is best suited to your needs and those of your students, we are surveying teachers across Europe. Your answers will give us valuable insight into the issues you deal with with when teaching about current (and past) sensitive and controversial issues; and help us to design online modules that are truly fit for purpose.

Your answers will be anonymised and analysed by one of the organisations in the consortium. Your data will only be used for the purpose of this project and will, under no circumstances, be shared with any another organisation.

Simply complete this survey by 15 April 2019. The survey only takes 5 minutes to complete. There are no right or wrong answers in this survey. Please answer these questions honestly. We thank you in advance for your cooperation and are happy to provide further details on the survey and project.


Call for Practices on Remembrance Education

Jaco Stoop Opportunities, Project Updates

Do you have a remembrance practice or strategy that really works for your students or participants? Increase it’s impact, by making it available across Europe! Share your practice with our team of experts. Selected practices will be piloted by these experts with their own students, and used for the production of a handbook on remembrance education.

About RETHINK

RETHINK is a 36-month project, designed to shed light on the educational programmes that have been developed in the field of remembrance education. This project will make non-formal practices more widely available through the development of an online platform, which will also serve as the starting point for the creation of a new network for memorial institutions. This network will facilitate transnational collaboration between like-minded institutions and enable the development of new programs focused on linking past and present challenges while enhancing critical thinking skills among learners. For more information about the project, check out rethink-education.eu and our project page.

What are we currently working on?

We aim to bridge the gap between formal and non-formal education, by looking at practices developed by remembrance education. A group of experts is trying these practices in different educational contexts, transferring them from formal to non-formal education, and from one geographical context or target group to another. This process we call upscaling. For example, we take practices from memorial sites and try (parts of) them in a formal classroom setting. Or we take a school project or teaching strategy and apply it in a non-formal context or in another country.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for practices that are easy to replicate by others. This means that ideally the practices take little time and effort, are free or not too costly, and do not rely on others to be implemented. Specifically, we are looking for practices that are:

  • Focusing on remembrance education: specific focus in this project is on Holocaust/Shoah and other mass atrocities.
  • Transferable: not overly specific to certain contexts but (partly) applicable in a variety of schools and classroom settings.
  • Critical thinking: should encourage students to think critically
  • Engaging: engaging for students

The submitted practice must give enough detail about its execution, such that an educator could read through it and implement it themselves, so it should outline any resources needed and the expected time it will take. Please indicate any specific things educators should be aware of, things they should consider before using the practice (or parts of it) in their own classroom.

Feel free to include pictures and diagrams as well as text – anything that demonstrates how to execute the practice.

For more information, please read the entire text of the call here. To submit your practice, please use our online form. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Antonia Gough (antonia@euroclio.eu). The deadline for submitting your practice is 6 January 2019.

[PARTNER] Remembrance Education for THINKing critically (RETHINK)

About the Project

​Recent events and terrorist attacks in Europe have exposed divisions within our societies, and in particular a growing tendency to think in terms of “us” and “them”. Against this background, memorial institutions and democracy-building NGOs have designed programmes that promote tolerance and respect towards diversity, while developing media literacy and critical thinking skills. 

​The RETHINK project (Remembrance Education for THINKing critically) aims to facilitate the dissemination of these programmes. We believe that remembrance education, in linking past and present, sheds valuable light on the historical significance of polarised identities, offers insight into European history, and tools to combat intolerance. Because it illuminates both the origins and devastating consequences of exclusion and prejudice, RETHINK is uniquely suited to the present moment.

​Within the project consortium, EuroClio is responsible for managing the process of upscaling model and good practices of non-formal remembrance education. This means that EuroClio will form a group of experts, who will analyse practices from the partner organisations, as well as practices collected through an open survey. They will produce a handbook on how these practices can be adjusted to make them fit for use in a wider context, in the formal education sector.

​For more information about the consortium and the project's results, please visit rethink-education.eu.

​Call for practices

​Help students to learn about prejudice and think more critically through remembrance education. Share your good practice!

  • Do you have a remembrance practice or strategy that really works for your students or participants?
  • Would you like to increase the impact and availability of your practice in Europe?
  • Do you want experts to try out your educational practice and include it in a handbook about remembrance education?

Submit your practice to our database to make it more widely available. Some of the practices submitted will be selected by our group of experts to pilot with their visitors or students.

​You can find more information on the Call for Practices.

Work Packages

The project RETHINK has six work packages:

1. An online database consisting of collected practices from informal education institutions aimed at preventing radicalisation (Shoah Memorial, France)

2. A handbook/guide on how model practices from select institutions can be implemented in formal education (EuroClio, Netherlands)

3. A Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) drawing on the guide and selected practices (Cesie, Italy)

4. Communication (Cesie, Kazerne Dossin, Belgium)

5. Management (CIEP, France)

6. Evaluation (CIEP, France)

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Final Conference: Remembrance Education for Thinking Critically


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The three-day conference is part of the RETHINK project and will discuss the meaning of Remembrance Education and how to bring it to the classroom. As the aim of the project is to support inclusive education by shedding light on the historical significance of polarised identities and providing educators with tools to combat intolerance and …


Sign up to pilot our new eLearning platform on remembrance education!


This summer, the RETHINK team (Remembrance Education for THINKing Critically) will launch its eLearning Platform. We are looking for 20 members of our network who would like to pilot modules of the platform before its official launch. The eLearning Platform is designed as a professional development opportunity for teachers and educators, so there is no need …


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The RETHINK Consortium aims to develop an e-learning platform and provide teachers with pedagogical tools to challenge students’ prejudices, deepen their understanding of phenomena such as racism and radicalisation, and develop their media literacy and critical thinking skills. In order to develop an online course that is best suited to your needs and those of …


Call for Practices on Remembrance Education


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Opportunities, Project Updates


Do you have a remembrance practice or strategy that really works for your students or participants? Increase it’s impact, by making it available across Europe! Share your practice with our team of experts. Selected practices will be piloted by these experts with their own students, and used for the production of a handbook on remembrance education. About …


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