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 Europe in School, 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.

 

In Europe Schools: Small Narratives for European Integration

Giulia Verdini Articles ,

On February 26th, EuroClio’s Eugenie Khatschatrian and VPRO’S Odette Toeset sat down with Robin de Bruin of the Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies (ARTES). The discussion, hosted by the European Cultural Foundation, shed light on the precious outcomes of In Europe Schools, its relevance in building European cooperation and citizenship and, perhaps, in contributing to a new, inclusive and diversified narrative(s) for Europe.

 In Europe Schools is a unique online project that encourages a transnational approach of teaching Modern European History and focuses on the development of research skills and media literacy through documentary-making. More than 110 schools from 30 different countries have joined us so far!  

Why "In Europe Schools"?

The Community Conversation event started off with a brief explanation about how the project came to life. In 2007, Dutch broadcasting company VPRO released the ‘’In Europe’’ television series in the Netherlands on the modern history of Europe, from WWII until the fall of the Berlin Wall. Perhaps unexpectedly, the series turned out to be a source of inspiration for some Dutch history teachers. In fact, they asked whether it was possible to develop educational resources based on the series. In a way, the project represents the natural “evolution” of the series, but most importantly, it started because of a concrete demand - real needs of teachers who were struggling with teaching sensitive and controversial issues in the classroom. In 2018, a second series of the documentary was released, this time dealing with very recent history - from 1989 onwards: the series was subtitled “History Caught in the Act”. 

Catching history in the act is indeed what In Europe Schools is all about. VPRO joined forces with EuroClio with the main goal to connect youngsters working together, focusing on history whilst they are in the midst of it, and ultimately have united European youngsters. In a few words, the project requires that two European schools partner up: secondary school students do research and film their recent history; they exchange the documentary and discuss the outcome. In Europe Schools therefore enables multiperspectivity by matching schools from different parts of Europe and approaches European history from a transnational perspective. It facilitates a European network of teachers and students, and by doing so, it also more broadly encourages European cooperation.

An overview of EU’s Grand Narrative(s) and its Crises

During the discussion, Robin de Bruin asserted multiple times that the genius of this project is that it is a grassroots project, especially in a time of unprecedented crisis due to the pandemic and in which the European Union might not appear as strong as it used to.

The EU created its Grand Narrative after 1945: after WWII, the grand narrative of European integration as a peace project for the member states was building peace by creating welfare - a narrative which De Bruin, hereby following his colleague Wolfram Kaiser, refers to as “peace through a common market’’ narrative (Kaiser 368).

That the horrors of Auschwitz have become the key experience for European history-writing is a common opinion, and for some historians it represents the creation of a foundational past since 1945. This led to two outcomes: on the one hand, the memory of WWII was perceived as the memory par excellence; on the other hand, it led to neglecting the histories of other parts of Europe, the experiences of colonialism and imperialism. Colonialism and postcolonial resentment were indeed excluded from European history, and only recently they have received renewed attention.

European integration history has now the aim of trying to heal the division of Eastern and Western histories by constructing a common past that also contemplates the experience of communism - and consequently the aim of dismantling Eurocentrism, seen as conscious or unconscious tendency to judge histories from all over the world by taking Western history as the norm and role model to follow. In the twenty-first century, Eurocentrism remains powerful both at seen and unseen levels and affects contemporary politics and international affairs.

Michael Wintle argues that the Holocaust started a process in which Europe has gradually become willing to confront its problematic past: European countries have started to face their past crimes and more openly address slavery, imperialism, colonialism, and also the post-Yugoslav conflicts of the 1990s. In Europe Schools includes an Education Kit on Difficult History that deals with such topics and one of the main challenges both teachers and students face is how to critically address these sensitive issues and confront strong opinions.

Nowadays, the narrative of building peace through a common market narrative does not seem to appeal anymore, especially to younger generations. To counter Euroscepticism, the EU has started several initiatives to develop a new narrative for the European integration project. Dr De Bruin mentioned the “House of European History” in Brussels, which was created to include the communist experience of the Eastern European states into the grand narrative of European integration. Nevertheless, according to Dr De Bruin, it left out all other kinds of experiences, such as the colonial experience of former colonial subjects now living in Europe:

 When you include specific parts of the population, you also exclude other parts of the population. This is always the problem with the grand narratives of European integration. It’s really very important that a new narrative for Europe is a collection of those small little narratives, such as the personal narratives of the In Europe Schools project. Robin de Bruin

The force of In Europe Schools lies in the fact that it deals with a variety of small histories, and it’s precisely by starting from personal histories that perspectives and experiences can add up and become something powerful. 

When a grand narrative is replaced by another grand narrative, it is always fed by smaller narratives that at a certain moment become an avalanche.

Dealing with counter narratives: the implications of media literacy

The In Europe Schools toolkits are about controversial topics - difficult history, migration, climate change and gender equality - and sometimes it is difficult to introduce such topics to the classrooms, either because they are too abstract and students might not feel concerned, or because they are afraid to take a stand and they do not feel comfortable about expressing their own opinion. Pupils are encouraged to take their difficult histories into the classroom, which can be seen as a microcosmos of Europe. As students come from different parts of Europe (or even different parts of the world) within the same classroom, they might have different views of the European Union and perceive topics differently such as migration or climate change. The main challenge for teachers is to promote a discussion in a context not of hatred and intolerance, but open-mindedness and inclusion. Despite monitoring strong statements and potential fake news, the project does not give a clear political direction and it does not exclude any story. The project therefore covers a wide spectrum of personal narratives and collects authentic stories, yet stories that people have the power to tell in the way they want to - thanks to storytelling and media literacy.

We don’t give political directions because it’s interesting to have different opinions. People who are against migration are allowed to make their own story on migration. But of course, there is a limit. We chose not to have the comments open because with comments open it could explode and it’s really difficult to oversee it. Odette Toeset

So far, there haven’t been clashes in the classrooms while working on the project. The main source of discomfort has rather been the question of how to protect people (for example family members) who would like to share their story but fear dangerous consequences. People are hesitant to show themselves on camera and do not want the video to be published on the Internet. Odette mentioned that as a documentary-maker, you don’t want to lose the story and at the same time you want to protect these people and ensure their safety. So how do you tell a story in a documentary without putting people, potentially, in danger? Timelapse and drawing can help anonymise a story, the video-maker can make sure that people are not recognizable in the video or just decide to leave out the actual people to tell a more generic story.

When students are done with the documentaries, they upload the video on YouTube. The use of media literacy, which may be the main strength of the project, can also represent a risk: the YouTube channel has to be monitored, as it is a potential open space on which all kinds of content can be uploaded. In order to avoid conflicts, VPRO chose not to have the comment section open.

Building European citizens?

It is clear that the project might have interesting implications in creating a European identity - a sense of belonging and personal identification with Europe. When asked whether they have the feeling of helping building European citizens, Odette replied:

These youngsters are the next European citizens that have to vote, be part of Europe and work together, and working together will be much more important in the future. We see now with Covid that there is a clash between national interests and European interests, but you can’t do without each other. We want to give people the open space to face cooperation themselves and not forcing it onto them. Odette Toeset

In Europe Schools requires students and teachers to fill out a survey - both in the beginning and in the end - in which there are questions about being European and how their awareness on certain topics has changed, but also about the use of media literacy and their perception of collaboration. 

In 2015, Wilfried Loth was writing that “European identity will therefore not simply replace national identity in the foreseeable future. Instead, what seems to be emerging is that people in Europe are living with a multilayered identity, an identity in which regional, national, and European aspects are united.” (Loth 437). Whilst the cultural form of the EU aimed to create a European identity that rests on the premise that Europe has a single, shared culture, In Europe Schools acknowledges that this is not always the case.

European culture is plural, in flux and contested; it does not rest on a shared history (...) National cultures or even a European culture may exist in perception, but that does not make us all the same. Europe and European culture are discourses, with many voices, including some from outside the conventional borders, and those of newcomers from ex-colonies and elsewhere.” (Wintle 248-249).

Students are working on their own personal narratives, but are also very excited about cooperating with other European students and, in this sense, might feel part of a European narrative. Pupils are in general super excited about filming: they are using this project instead of going out on a school trip, and thus to discover different European cultures and viewpoints. The sense of collaboration is really important: for example, two schools decided to join their forces, partner up students with the partner school and make the documentary together. 

  On the long term, the project aims at maintaining the European connection: ideally schools would continue working together to keep a European network of both students and teachers.Eugenie Khatschatrian

Bibliography - and suggested readings!

Appelqvist, Örjan. “Rediscovering uncertainty: early attempts at a panEuropean post-war recovery”. Cold War History. Vol. 8, No. 3. Routledge (pp. 327–352), 2008.

Brolsma, M., de Bruin, R., Lok, M. Eurocentrism in European History and Memory. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2019.

FitzGibbon, J., Leruth, B., Startin, N. Euroscepticism as a Transnational and Pan-European Phenomenon : The Emergence of a New Sphere of Opposition. Routledge, 2016.

Kaiser, W. “Clash of Cultures: Two Milieus in the European Union's. ‘A New Narrative for Europe’ Project”. Journal of Contemporary European Studies, Vol. 23, No. 3 (pp. 364-377), 2015.

Loth, W. Building Europe. Berlin, München, Boston: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2015.

Sorrels, K. Cosmopolitan Outsiders: Imperial Inclusion, National Exclusion, and the Pan-European Idea, 1900-1930. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Van Meurs, W. et al. The Unfinished History of European Integration. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018.

Wintle, M. Eurocentrism: History, Identity, White Man’s Burden. Routledge, 2020.

Join the project

Check out In Europe Schools’ website and YouTube Channel

Contact us via eugenie@euroclio.eu or register via this form

Toolkits: 

Learn More

If you are interested in how to decolonise history, please read our blog post and join our webinar series from 16 April to 21 May 2021

You can subscribe to future Community Conversations at http://eepurl.com/haj679 

Over 100 Teachers Trained on “Teaching Europe” in Cyprus, Finland, Spain, Czech Republic and Portugal

As part of the Decisions and Dilemmas 3: making learning about the EU motivating and meaningful project, EuroClio member associations in Cyprus, Finland, Spain, Czech Republic and Portugal organised their national events. The events each contained plenary sessions on the project, and the research results of the Teaching Europe research, and workshop sessions focused on teaching about the EU. Materials from the Historiana unit Changing Europe were translated to the local language and used for workshops. The translated materials will become available online after the summer.

Cyprus 2
Finland
Portugal

Each association has chosen an angle to the topic that is most relevant for their country context, and invited local speakers and/or workshop hosts. In addition, one of the trainers of another project country joined the event to provide a workshop with one of the Changing Europe materials. More detailed reports on each of the national events will be published on the project page in August.

Learning about the European Union in the Heart of Europe: Final Team Meeting within the Decision and Dilemma 2 project in Budapest.

From 18-20 November 2016 the Decisions and Dilemmas 2 development team had a successful meeting in Budapest, Hungary to work on finalizing their series of learning activities on the European Union through the lens of contemporary issues. The focus in the lessons are related to economic imbalances, energy dependency, trade in global context, the EU as a potential global power and opening Europe’s borders for people. The team also agreed on the details of the workshops during the Annual Conference in San Sebastian/Donostia from 2-7 April 2017 where the final material will be piloted with teachers from all across Europe.

At the same time the historical content team progressed work on World War 2 and the Cold War.

“Ready to Reach Out”: discussing the digitisation of cultural heritage at the NL EU Presidency in Amsterdam

On 29 June 2016, EuroClio Programme Director Steven Stegers had the opportunity to moderate a subsession during “Ready to reach out: Conference on Digitisation of Cultural Heritage”, a two day-conference that was held for the occasion of the presidency of the Netherlands of the European Union during the first half year of 2016. The conference took place in the building of the Netherlands EU Presidency in Amsterdam.

The conference was attended by 250 international participants from sectors as digitisation, culture and heritage, educators and representatives from the tourism sector, EU institutions and EU member states and was organised by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The central topic of the conference was connecting cultural heritage collections and serving wider audiences.

During the subsession that focused on “Making it Visible within Cultural Education”, Steven posed the central question of what can be done to make more and better use of digital heritage in education. There is a lot of digital material available from an increasing amount of cultural institutes throughout Europe, but the material does not reach the students in the classroom. In his opening remarks, Steven stated that it is crucial that high-quality material is selected and made available for educators. The next step is that tools are made available: tools that are free to use and easily understandable for educators. With this, the potential of students rising above possessing knowledge through acquiring competencies increases.

During the rest of the session, attention was given to the questions how ICT can improve the teaching and learning of history, why archives make students think, how cultural institutions can work together, and how the various archives can be combined in one portal. Practical examples and explanations were given by the various speakers.

For a full report on the conference, have a look at the “Ready to Reach Out” report. All parts of the conference are explained and you can read more about the session about visibility in cultural education in the report. EuroClio would like to thank the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science for offering the opportunity to discuss with such a varied audience the possibilities, shortcomings and challenges of digitisation of cultural heritage.

Call for External Evaluation of the EU funded Project “Divided Past, Joint Future”

For the new Project Divided Past, Joint Future – EuroClio is one of the partners – we are inviting  interested candidates to apply for the external evaluation. The project consortium involves multiple CSOs, research institutes, foundations, a resource center, Erasmus NAs and 25 associated business partners.

Divided Past, Joint Future is a long running Project (48 months) in the Western Balkans and Turkey. The ultimate project goal is to create a platform for a strong civil society, that is ready and resourceful to be a main actor in peace and reconciliation policy. Through this CSOs can contribute more to the security and stability of the region in the process of EU integration.

The potential candidates should have at least 3 year evaluation experience and in their application they should demonstrate that they have a sound knowledge and understanding of peace and reconciliation policy in the Western Balkans and Turkey as well as the existence of critical approach to this process on national level. A candidate should also have excellent knowledge of the English language and one of the Western Balkan languages (see PDF document) or Turkish.

The Evaluator will be requested to construct an Evaluation Plan, write the Interim Evaluation Report and eventually produce a Final Evaluation Report in the beginning of 2020.

Our Project allows for a maximum contract price of 20.000 euros. However this tender is transparent, fair and based on principles of equal treatment, which also means candidates are able propose different financial offers according to their own estimated costs.

The application deadline is 9 May 2016. You can send your application to the Youth Communciation Center in Banja Luka. The address can be found in the PDF-document. Selection procedure will be finished around 13 May 2016.

For more information about the project and the external evaluation please download the PDF below.

EuroClio Members from all 28 EU Countries Discuss “Teaching Europe”

From 25 until 27 September 2015, 30 history and citizenship educators, representing Member organisations from all EU-countries met at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona for the first meeting of the project “Teaching ‘Europe’ to enhance EU cohesion: European Integration as a subject of study in secondary school education in the 28 member states”. The overall aim of the project is to improve the way in which teaching and learning about the EU is taking place and is coordinated by professor Fernando Guirao from Pompeu Fabra University in partnership with EuroClio. The research results will be compiled into a research report with a comparative analysis and country case studies and is expected in September 2016.

During the meeting the team discussed their research results of 2 history books for the final 2 years of compulsory education in their country, looking into communalities and differences in approach, number of pages and integration in the national historical narrative. Vadim Oswalt from Giessen University gave a workshop in which he explained his transnational research on history maps in 36 countries and showed methods how to interpret maps. The next phase in the project is the research of 2 textbooks for another social science subject. These results will be discussed during the next meeting, which will coincide with the training seminar for the Decisions and Dilemmas project from 12-15 February. For more information on the project please contact Steven Stegers (steven@euroclio.eu).

Peace Palace Library welcomes New Model of Democracy

Celebrating International Democracy Day on the 15th of September, the Peace Palace Library took pleasure in announcing the emergence of a new model of democracy. Guest blogger Jaap Hoeksma continued his series of blogs about the European Union by submitting that the EU has overcome the deadlock in the debate about its future. He argues that, from a citizens’ point of view, the aim of the EU is neither to become a sovereign State of Europe nor to form a Europe of sovereign States, but rather to function as a European democracy.

EuroClio starts new partner project for Historiana

Europeana Creative is a project funded by the European Union and coordinated by the Austrian National Library with EuroClio as a partner organisation. The project aims to support and promote the re-use of cultural resources that are made available via Europeana – a website that provides access to digital resources of Europe’s museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections. Europeana Creative will stimulate the use of this wealth of digitised material by creative industries active in Design, History Education, Natural History Education, Social Media and Tourism.

Within Europeana Creative, EuroClio and WEBtic will work together to develop innovative online learning activities, making use of Europeana content and services. A group of history educators from Europe and beyond will be actively involved in the development and testing of the online learning activities. The results of this pilot will be integrated in and disseminated via the Historiana website, the EuroClio on-line educational multimedia tool that offers students (aged 14 and older) an ever-growing number of multi-perspective sources, comparative case studies, and innovative teaching material developed by EuroClio and WEBtic.
The project will be implemented from 1 February 2013 until 31 July 2015 in partnership with a unique mix of archives, museums, NGO’s, webdevelopers and other creative industries from 14 different countries.

Contact steven@euroclio.eu for more Information