Meaning, Thinking and Learning in History Conference in Jyväskylä, Finland

Meaning, Thinking and Learning in History seeks to strengthen research on history pedagogy by furthering cooperation between history education practice and research. History as both a discipline and school subject is in motion, receiving increasing demands from the surrounding society. Focusing on textbook-driven narratives is usually not enough to meet the demands of the curricula or of students. The primary goal of this conference is to encourage collaboration and foster dialogue between professional historians, education scholars, graduate students, and classroom teachers in order to find ways of balancing the scholarship on the pedagogy of history with increasing demands and classroom realities.

Over the course of this two-day conference, scholars, teachers and practitioners will share their research findings, offering examples of cutting-edge approaches and engaging in dynamic discussions that will help nurture intercultural dialogue and bridge scholarly and practical questions. Keynote lectures will be given by Bob Bain (University of Michigan) and Henrik Meinander (University of Helsinki).

The conference invites proposals for presentations, panels and workshops by 15 January, 2017. To learn more visit the and in twitter #teho2017.

The conference is bilingual, in English and Finnish. The conference will be designed so that there is an English-language programme throughout. Meinander’s keynote will be in Finnish.

The conference is arranged by the group Teaching History Outside the Box of the University of Jyväskylä: Anna Veijola (Jyväskylä Normal School), Matti Rautiainen (Department of Teacher Education) and Simo Mikkonen (Department of History and Ethnology). The conference is part of a project funded by the Academy of Finland and coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Finland.

Fostering Civil Discourse: A Guide for Classroom Conversations

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Facing History and Ourselves is a non-profit international educational and professional development organization. Their mission consists of engaging students from diverse backgrounds to examine racism, antisemitism, and prejudice to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry. The guide leads with the following paragraph, which puts the topic of constructive public discourse at the heart of the future needs of the democratic country,

In the midst of a divisive United States presidential election; ongoing issues related to race, justice, and policing; and a series of tragic acts of violence around the world, educators are rightly concerned about the lessons that today’s middle and high school students might be absorbing about problem solving, communication, civility, and their ability to make a difference. The next generation of voters needs models for constructive public discourse to learn from; the strength of our democracy requires it. But such examples seem few and far between.

Facing History and Ourselves have produced a Guide for Classroom Conversations; a 16-page guide providing tools on how to help prepare the classroom and your students to practice civil discourse in a way that develops a reflective classroom community, a classroom contract, creates opportunities for student reflection, establishes a safe space for sensitive topics, and implements effective teaching strategies.

Access the guide through this link.


EuroClio Ambassador Ineke Veldhuis-Meester reports: Poland in the Heart of European History Seminar

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23 History Teachers and Remembrance Educators participated in an intensive seminar entitled 'Poland in the Heart of European History' from 22-31 August 2016, in a fine historical location, the Polish Congress House Jabłonna Palace, by the Vistula River near Warsaw. The Institute of National Remembrance, Instytut Pamięci (IPN), offered its views on Polish 20th Century history and culture through lectures and workshops. Each session was followed by open discussion, all skillfully interpreted by two historians from the Auschwitz Museum. The group also made an educational weekend trip to Lublin, and continued further South along the border of Ukraine. We got to know many aspects of Polish culture and history during this trip. We visited Zamoyski Palace, where we saw Socialist Realist Art, Majdanek concentration camp and Markowa village, where several Polish families hid Jews during World War II, and old fortress town Zamośč. We also drove through the forest to the Polish partisan camp and the Cistercian abbey in Wąchock.

Participants came from Bosnia, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Moldova, Netherlands, Serbia, United Kingdom and Israel. This year three persons from Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Remembrance Center, were also invited. They, together with an Israeli guide of Israeli youth trips to the Nazi camps in Poland played an active role during the seminar. In the evenings we continued ample discussions from various perspectives in a group. The diversity of the group could also have allowed for discussions embedded in the programme.

There were significant improvements based on last years’ experiences and the extended evaluations of participants. The new course was more lenient to the audience. Their attention span had been taken into account with more and longer breaks with fresh delicacies. In addition, some more lectures were in English and those that were in Polish were often accompanied by a PPP in English and/or an English summary in the extended course booklet. After tough and quite long lectures the speakers took time to answer questions. Discussions were more nuanced than last year, with polite but more insisting remarks and questions.

Most lecturers reflected the IPN research in the specific fields of study of the History of 20th Century Poland. However, there were also more internationally oriented scholars: Professor Wojciech Roszkowski opened with ‘An overview of Poland and Europe in the 20th Century’, and Professor Tomasz Szarota lectured on ‘The Aftermath of World War II seen by the Poles after 70 years’. There were no dull moments, since in the evenings we were treated a Chopin piano recital in the concert hall of the palace and films suited for the themes of the day.  A warm thank you to the organiser Anna Brojer and her assistant Malgorzata Zuławnik. You can meet them on the Annual Conference in San Sebastian.

Written by: Ineke Veldhuis-Meester, EuroClio ambassador

New Book on History Education

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MasterClass in History Education (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016) is a new resource for all history teachers who wish to stay alert on current research on how history is taught and learned in classrooms today.

From the publisher:

At the heart of the book is a series of professional enquiries carried out by experienced history teachers, working in a range of contexts. Each history teacher addresses clear questions arising from their practice and together they illustrate various approaches to data collection, data analysis and argument. These history teachers also show how they drew on diverse scholarship in history and history education, including many publications by other history teachers. In eight further chapters, other experts, ranging from practitioner-scholars to researchers in diverse fields (such as history, history education, teacher education, teacher research and curriculum theory) reflect on the distinctive insights that these teachers offer and explore connections with their own fields.

The combination of perspectives and the depth of knowledge of the varied contributors reveal the importance of different kinds of relationship between ‘theory’ and ‘practice’. The links between classroom realities and research and the critical use of different kinds of text will support history teachers in developing their practice and professional voice.

See more at:

14th Michael A. Sant Memorial Lecture organized by HTA Malta

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HTA maltaOn 29 October 2015 the History Teachers’ Association of Malta, in collaboration with the Faculty of Education, University of Malta, organised the 14th Michael A. Sant Memorial Lecture. This year’s guest speaker was Michael Fordham who is Assistant Headteacher at West London Free School, Affiliated Lecturer at the University of Cambridge and co-editor of the journal Teaching History. He presented his paper on ‘Substantive knowledge and pupil progression in history.’

The question underpinning the discussion was: What does it mean to get better at history? It was noted that in recent years attention has been focused on gaining disciplinary knowledge, that is, how history works as a discipline and how students make progression in handling second-order concepts, such as ‘evidence’ and ‘change.’ Fordham pointed out that less emphasis has been devoted to substantive knowledge, that is, the content or substance of history. In his paper Fordham argued that getting better at history also requires that pupils progressively build up a greater substantive knowledge of the past, evidenced in their ability to read and write history. In this regard, an initial progression model was developed by history mentors from the University of Cambridge. Indeed, these arguments open up a new research avenue in history education which, as Fordham highlighted, needs further theorisation.