The case for teaching the history of the European Integration

Veronika Budaiová Association

The EuroClio thematic seminar on ‘Teaching European Integration” held at the House of European History on 22-24 November 2019 was opened by a keynote lecture from Liesbeth van de Grift*, Associate Professor History of International Relations at Utrecht University. She focused on the theme ‘The case for teaching the history of European integration’, and in particular on the guiding question:

  • Why is it important to teach the history of European integration?
  • What are potential challenges and obstacles when teaching the history of European integration?
  • What are possible ways forward?

During the interactive lecture, some teachers that were participating to the seminar underlined that they find it hard to include European Integration into the curricula, whereas some teachers said that they already teach about it. Liesbeth pointed out that one of the best ways to bring European Integration to the classroom is to show the impact of the European Union on our daily lives. Nowadays, every aspect of everyday life is subject to regulations, many of which were created by the EU to guarantee a common standard in all Member States.

For example, you wake up and brush your teeth with water that comes from pipes, and you know the water is not harmful to you because of EU regulations. Then, you might want to eat an apple, or a mandarin, and you can be reasonably sure that it was not subject to more pesticides than the limit set by the EU, and so on.

Furthermore, she continued, in all Member States people have a varying knowledge of the EU and its history. The role of teachers is especially important in this circumstances. It is only by learning about the history of European Integration, its relevance, and the functioning of the Union, that children will be able to form an opinion on their future.

 

The main question, thus, becomes “What do teachers perceive as important information to know about, when talking of the EU integration?”. This question has many different responses. The traditional one would be “high politics” (treaties, summits, or resolutions), focusing more on material interests than ideals. Other answers can be looking at the impact of the EU on everyday life, as Liesbeth explained in her introduction, or by showing successes and failures of the EU on the International Stage, as Helen Snelson suggested in another session of the teaching seminar.

 

The last part of the lecture was dedicated to the discussion of materials which participants are using in their classrooms or what they plan to use. Some participants said that they did not use particular material at the moment, but that they realized the importance of showing the influence of EU on everyday life. Some teachers, on the other hand, teach about EU integration when discussing the nature of democracy, while some others do simulations of elections to the European Parliament in their classrooms for the same purpose.

The main conclusion of the lecture was that teaching about European Integration is a multi-faceted, and not easy, task. There are a variety of approaches and instruments that can be used in doing so. Throughout the thematic seminar, participants got to know some of them.

 

Read more about the seminar in this article.

 

*Liesbeth van de Grift, Associate Professor History of International Relations at Utrecht University, specializes in the history of political representation in Europe. She leads a research project on the role of societal actors, such as consumer groups and environmental organisations, in the history of European integration. She is one of the authors of the textbook on European integration history The Unfinished History of European Integration (Amsterdam University Press, 2018) written for bachelor’s and master’s students.

 

Together in One Land. Multicultural History of Ukraine

The project “We” and “The Others” aims to enhance the quality of history teaching in seven provinces of Ukraine by facilitating a public discussion on reconsideration of the role of history in the Ukrainian society. It also aims to identify new opportunities to create a multicultural image of the post- communist society. The project is initiated by ‘Nova Doba’ – All Ukrainian Association of Teachers of history and Social Studies’ and EuroClio and EUSTORY are involved as international partners. Promotion of history and civic education aiming at the democratization of the social life of the Ukrainians was always the main concern of ‘Nova Doba’. In the project, a traditional ethnocentric approach is replaced with new multicultural and multi-aspect approaches to the development of history education. In addition, methodological teaching materials on the place and role of national minorities in the Ukrainian history are developed. Teachers are trained in innovative approaches to history teaching for tolerance, to use various methods of history teaching as a means to prevent national xenophobia. Finally, teachers are trained to involve pupils into researching history of various national minorities in their local communities.

Download the full publication

Together in One Land

Available in the following language:

Ukrainian

Download individual chapters

Introduction UK
1. Migration in the history of Ukraine UK
2. The city as a period of culture and civilization UK
3. Coexistence in the history of Ukraine UK
4. Religious immigration in the history of Ukraine UK
5. Identity and personnel in the history of Ukraine UK
Glossary UK

Part of the Project

"We" and "The Other"

Funded by

Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine

Members involved

All Ukrainian Association of Teachers of History and Social Studies

Contributors

Coordinators (Nova Doba):

Petro Kenzor, Iryna Kostyuk, Polina Verbytska.

Textbook contributors:

Ms. Svitlana Antipova, Mr. Volodymyr Chumak, Ms. Natalia Gerasym, Ms. Nataliya Holosova, Ms. Tetyana Hoshko, Ms. Iryna Ivanova, Mr. Petro Kendzor, Ms. Oksana Kis', Ms. Oksana Kozhemyaka, Ms. Oleksandra Kozoroh, Ms. Oksana Mikheyeva, Mr. Viktor Mysan, Ms. Larysa Nikitska, Ms. Olha Pedan-Slyepukhina, Mr. Vitaliy Pestrecov, Ms. Yaroslava Riznykova, Ms. Maya Varshavska, Ms. Polina Verbytska.

EuroClio Experts:

Danute Dura, Dean Smart.

[PARTNER] “We” and “The Others”

The project “We” and “The Others” aims to enhance the quality of history teaching in seven provinces of Ukraine by facilitating a public discussion on reconsideration of the role of history in the Ukrainian society. It also aims to identify new opportunities to create a multicultural image of the post- communist society. The project is initiated by ‘Nova Doba’ – All Ukrainian Association of Teachers of history and Social Studies’ and EuroClio and EUSTORY are involved as international partners. Promotion of history and civic education aiming at the democratization of the social life of the Ukrainians was always the main concern of ‘Nova Doba’. In the project, a traditional ethnocentric approach is replaced with new multicultural and multi-aspect approaches to the development of history education. In addition, methodological teaching materials on the place and role of national minorities in the Ukrainian history are developed. Teachers are trained in innovative approaches to history teaching for tolerance, to use various methods of history teaching as a means to prevent national xenophobia. Finally, teachers are trained to involve pupils into researching history of various national minorities in their local communities.

Project Aims

  • To develop methodological teaching materials which will include materials on the place and role of national minorities in the Ukrainian history.
  • To train young teachers, among them students of pedagogic universities, in innovative approaches to history teaching for tolerance.
  • To involve secondary school students in history project activities of researching history of various national minorities in their local communities.
  • To form a network of trainers that will consist of experienced and qualified teachers from all over Ukraine to carry out multiple activities in teaching tolerance through history in the field of  history education.
  • To implement a regional Trainings program (a local training seminar, on-line course, printed materials) in order to train teachers to use various methods of history teaching as a means to prevent national xenophobia.
  • To disseminate the acquired experience on preventing xenophobia and ethnic discrimination through history teaching. in schools, pedagogic universities, and education administrations at oblasts and regions of Ukraine.

Results

  • 5000 copies of textbooks and 2000 СDs  entitled Together in One Land. Multicultural History of Ukraine have been prepared and published.
  • 75 trainers and 1500 teachers from various regions of Ukraine have been trained in the issues of tolerance education through history.
  • 50 students and young teachers have been trained on multicultural  issues and practice of teaching tolerance and active citizens competences.
  • 400 pupils teams (5000 pupils) have taken part in the contest ‘Incide the culture. National Minorities in My Local Community.’
  • 300 students and young teachers from various regions of Ukraine have been involved into activities in multiculturalism.
  • Experience and materials of the project have been disseminated in all regions of Ukraine.

Download the full publication

Together in One Land

Available in the following language:

Ukrainian

Download individual chapters

Introduction UK
1. Migration in the history of Ukraine UK
2. The city as a period of culture and civilization UK
3. Coexistence in the history of Ukraine UK
4. Religious immigration in the history of Ukraine UK
5. Identity and personnel in the history of Ukraine UK
Glossary UK

Supported by

Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine

Partners

All Ukrainian Association of Teachers of History and Social Studies

Project Managers

Joke van der Leeuw-Roord, EuroClio Executive Director

Contributors

Coordinators (Nova Doba):

Petro Kenzor, Iryna Kostyuk, Polina Verbytska.

Textbook contributors:

Ms. Svitlana Antipova, Mr. Volodymyr Chumak, Ms. Natalia Gerasym, Ms. Nataliya Holosova, Ms. Tetyana Hoshko, Ms. Iryna Ivanova, Mr. Petro Kendzor, Ms. Oksana Kis', Ms. Oksana Kozhemyaka, Ms. Oleksandra Kozoroh, Ms. Oksana Mikheyeva, Mr. Viktor Mysan, Ms. Larysa Nikitska, Ms. Olha Pedan-Slyepukhina, Mr. Vitaliy Pestrecov, Ms. Yaroslava Riznykova, Ms. Maya Varshavska, Ms. Polina Verbytska.

EuroClio Experts:

Danute Dura, Dean Smart.