EuroClio’s 27th Annual Conference: an overview

Alicia Rijlaarsdam EUROCLIO ,

EuroClio’s Annual Conference has come to an end. The conference was set to take place in Belgrade, first in March and then in October, to be then moved online, due to COVID-19.  The conference centred around the question: How can you teach your students to have a respectful debate on controversial topics? This skill is increasingly important as classrooms (and societies) are diverse and teeming with opposing and diverging views. Worryingly, it seems students (and people in general) are losing the ability to respectfully engage in conversation with people they do not agree with. Paradoxically, students (and again people in general) whilst living in these diverse society, gather mostly information and opinions from others in their “bubble”. This is problematic in its own right, however, this is especially problematic when these bubbles exist of extremist ideologies, conspiracy theories, alternative facts and so-called ‘fake news’. As a consequence, teachers are more often confronted with radical and opposing views in the classroom and expected to deal with them. But how do you do that? The 20 workshops and 5 plenary sessions of the Annual Conference aimed to provide teachers with tangible strategies and lesson plans on how to go about this immense challenge.

This Annual Conference was part of the Learning to Disagree project. This project was initiated in response to the needs of educators who experience difficulties in addressing sensitive and controversial issues in their classrooms. The project, now in its final stages, offers training and support materials to teachers to face these topics head-on with their students. These materials aim at teaching students vital skills such as the ability to listen, to consider alternative interpretations, and the ability of interacting with people that they disagree with in a constructive manner. It was a great opportunity to share all the workshops that were developed for this project with a wider audience. 

This was the first time EuroClio organised the Annual Conference online, which was an exciting challenge for us. We quickly saw the benefits of hosting the conference online; many more than usual could join the Conference as people did not have to take days off work and travel to Belgrade. Everyone could attend the Annual Conference from their kitchen, bedroom, or office. Already months into home office solutions, zoom fatigue was perhaps our greatest worry.

You can imagine we were a bit nervous on the first Monday of November. However, we soon found out, as the first workshop started, that we had nothing to be nervous about. For four weeks participants from across Europe joined us every afternoon at 16:30 and actively and enthusiastically participated.

The workshops, whilst limited by the online format, were all different both in terms of content and format. Some workshop hosts explained how to incorporate the new media in the classroom. During workshops like these participants learned how they could incorporate meme making, documentary making, and graphic novel writing in their lesson plans. Others presented how one could develop historical games to play with students in class. Many workshops gave participants cases, activities and teaching strategies to encourage discussion, dialogue and debate.  Most workshop hosts had participants experience the strategies and activities first-hand, as participants became students and went through each learning activity as if they were a class of high school students.

The workshops hosted by Learning to Disagree team members, who presented the learning activities they had developed, were all received positively by participants. In these workshops participants were introduced to the many lesson plans developed as part of this project. Participants were also introduced to the many teaching strategies that are the product of this project. You can find the teachers’ guide with all teaching strategies here.

Workshop hosts were not the only ones transferring knowledge as participants shared their own experiences and philosophy of teaching, which fostered a sense of mutual understanding and made this Annual Conference a place where peers could exchange knowledge. So much so, we sometimes forgot we were not in the same room. 

We really want to thank everyone who participated in one of the workshops and all of our workshop hosts all of your efforts, participation and contributions made this an Annual Conference we will not forget! See you soon! 

 

Plenary Workshop on Assessment

Alicia Rijlaarsdam EUROCLIO ,

On November 21 Majella Dempsey and Anthony Malone, both part of the Learning to Disagree team, gave a plenary workshop on assessment.  The workshop began by looking at the “Council of Europe Butterfly”, which helps us answer the question “what does it mean to be competent?”. The Butterfly shows four dimensions of competence: values, attitudes, skills, and knowledge. Within these four dimensions, we can find a variety of opportunities to bring dialogue, debate, discussion, and multiperspectivity in the history classroom. 

However, students’ performances are only assessed based on two of the four wings of the butterfly; skills and knowledge. Attitude and values are harder to assess. This is because attitudes are fluid across the classroom, and values might be too hard for students to articulate, especially at a younger age. In particular, empathy is the value that sparks most discussion when it comes to assessment: how do we assess empathy? And Does empathy even have a role in the history classroom or, for that matter, in any classroom? Can we actually teach and assess empathy? 

How to go about assessment

Majella and Anthony gave some tangible tips on how to go about assessment. A starting point is of course to look at the curriculum and make sure what you are assessing is in alignment. After looking at the topic at hand, Majella and Anthony advised which methodology is most suited to tackle that topic.  Intriguingly, Majella and Anthony advise to reverse-plan lessons; start with assessment and work your way back to the topic!

They also stressed that you should ask yourself what your students will learn: what am I assessing? Their empathy? Their debating skills? Why am I assessing these skills? What method should I use? How can I properly assess and give feedback to my students?

We have all experienced the absolute terror of being evaluated for an entire course in one single test. You might even have experienced that on that one day, you could not perform your best, due to circumstance, and you might remember the disappointment you felt as a student. Therefore, Majella and Anthony introduced learning-oriented assessment. This method doesn’t limit itself to attributing evaluating students’ performance in a specific moment but provides quality feedback that can help bring the student forward. Additionally, not every piece of learning should, or can, be assessed in the same way, so having a variety and drawn out period of assessment, will actually give a better insight into your students’ performance! 

A key of formative assessment is that, when it is properly applied, the learner knows from the very beginning what they will learn, how they will be assessed, and what success looks like. Furthermore, it is extremely targeted: it scaffolds learning, or shows students how to proceed forward. Finally, it allows for students to help each other with constructive feedback, and it builds in space for students to reflect on their own work.

Some suggestions from the group

After the presentation the group of participants mulled over the questions teachers ask their students. They reflected on their own mistakes and come to the conclusion they often focussed on content and knowledge, and asked questions that were too academic. They said they also identified a need to ask empathetic questions first, in order to connect with both students and topic. They also underscored that sometimes they would ask too many questions in the same lesson, and subsequently students would lose the focus on what “the question that counts” is, leaving teachers to gaze into the blank stares of their overwhelmed students.  

Did you miss this session? Do you want to listen to Anthony and Majella explain more on assessment? Or do you want to learn more about Online Assessment?  We recorded a session, hosted by Anthony and Majella, on online assessment. You can find the video here

PubQuiz and Official Annual Conference Closing

Challenge your colleagues and find out if you have what it takes to be the next pub quiz champion

The Pub Quiz tradition continues. After an exciting Pub Quiz in Gdansk, Poland – featuring among other topics Pop Culture, knowledge of EuroClio, and knowledge of the history of Poland – you are invited to get together in carefully constructed teams and to challenge your peers with six new rounds of questions. 

Who will be the next Pub Quiz champion? Join us on to find out! 

The PubQuiz will be preceded by the official closing of our first ever online Annual Conference. How did we do? What could we have done differently? Do you have any suggestions for us? You will have space to share this and much more!

27th Annual Conference

The PubQuiz is part of the 27th EuroClio Annual Conference on Controversy and Disagreement in the Classroom. You can find more information on the Annual Conference, including the full programme, on the Annual Conference main page.

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Marketplace on Contested Cultural Heritage

Hosted by Marie-Louise Ryback-Jansen, Lidija Suica, Helen Snelson and Katria Tomko

During this session, participants will learn about the research that EuroClio and the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation have been doing to study contested histories in public spaces.

Then, they will have the possibility to reflect on how the teaching strategies presented throughout the Annual Conference can be applied to examples of controversial cultural heritage within their local context. 

To prepare to this session, participants are asked to send an image of an example of controversial street names/monuments/buildings in their country.

27th Annual Conference

The marketplace is part of the 27th EuroClio Annual Conference on Controversy and Disagreement in the Classroom. You can find more information on the Annual Conference, including the full programme, on the Annual Conference main page.

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Session Fee

You can register to this single plenary session for 15€ , or register to multiple workshops and sessions for a reduced fee.

Participation is free for Individual Members, Member Associations, and Ambassadors. Reach out to Djoera at djoera@euroclio.eu to know how to join.

People on the Move – Why Do People Disagree About Migration?

Workshop by Benny Christensen, Learning to Disagree Team

This workshop is the product of the Learning to Disagree project. This project was initiated in response to the needs of educators who experience difficulties in addressing sensitive and controversial issues in their classrooms. The project, now in its final stages, offers trainings and support materials to teachers to face these topics head-on with their students. These materials aim at teaching students vital skills such as the ability to listen, to consider alternative interpretations, and the ability of interacting with people that they disagree with in a constructive manner.

Benny is one of the core members of the Learning to Disagree team. His workshop will focus on developing lesson plans on the topic of migration to Europe, so you can apply these lesson plans directly to your classroom. Migration is not a new phenomenon, yet it remains the cause of many heated debates, not least in classrooms. Therefore, Benny designed this learning activity around the topic. Via group work and general discussions, you will engage in a variety of strategies that focus on dialogue, debate and discussion. Which outcomes and activities are best suited for class work on this sensitive topic?  And how can you use assessment to design such a learning activity? Share your experiences and ideas with European colleagues!

Benny Christensen is an independent consultant on history education. He served as board member of the Danish History Teachers’ Association from 1997 to 2003 and was Project Manager and Expert in the project: ‘Towards a New History’ (Serbia and Montenegro) 2001-2003, funded by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

Benny Christensen has acted as EuroClio expert on many occasions, e.g. the EuroClio project ‘History in Action-Planning for the Future. Regional Approaches for the Learning and Teaching of History in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia’. (2005-2008). He is currently engaged in the projects ‘Learning to Disagree’ and ‘Football Makes History’.

27th Annual Conference

This workshop is part of the 27th EuroClio Annual Conference on Controversy and Disagreement in the Classroom. You can find more information on the Annual Conference, including the full programme, on the Annual Conference main page.

Take me to the page…

Workshop Fee

You can register to this single workshop for 15€ , or register to multiple workshops for a reduced fee.

Participation is free for Individual Members, Member Associations, and Ambassadors. Reach out to Djoera at djoera@euroclio.eu to know how to join.

Learning to Disagree

This and many other workshops are based on the Learning Activities and Variety of Viewpoints developed for the Learning to Disagree Project. You can find the Lesson Plan on “People on the Move: Why do People Disagree About Migration” on Historiana.

 

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Moving Beyond Perceived Borders: Dealing with Disagreement in Contested Borders

Workshop by Amaia Lamikiz and Angela Bermudez, Learning to Disagree Team

Borders divide land into countries, sometimes creating new divisions within communities, or even between them. Where a border is placed is a highly contested issue and to this day many borders cause serious conflict.

This workshop is the product of the Learning to Disagree project. This project was initiated in response to the needs of educators who experience difficulties in addressing sensitive and controversial issues in their classrooms. The project, now in its final stages, offers training and support materials for teachers to face these topics head-on with their students. These materials aim to teach students vital skills such as the ability to listen, to consider alternative interpretations, as well as the ability of interacting in a constructive manner with people they disagree with.

Amaia and Angela are core members of the Learning to Disagree project.  In this workshop they will aim to present the work they have developed. Starting with a general introduction on how the multiperspectivity approach can help us to work on contested issues in the classroom, they will then present the materials we have created to help our students reflect and debate on the topic of borders. We will present the sources we have gathered from different European contexts  as examples of a variety of perspectives about contested borders and we will suggest some possible activities and strategies to work with students in order to make them aware of how communities draw their borders, and how we can deal with disagreement in cases of controversy.

27th Annual Conference

This workshop is part of the 27th EuroClio Annual Conference on Controversy and Disagreement in the Classroom. You can find more information on the Annual Conference, including the full programme, on the Annual Conference main page.

Take me to the page…

Workshop Fee

You can register to this single workshop for 15€ , or register to multiple workshops for a reduced fee.

Participation is free for Individual Members, Member Associations, and Ambassadors. Reach out to Djoera at djoera@euroclio.eu to know how to join.

Learning to Disagree

This and many other workshops are based on the Learning Activities and Variety of Viewpoints developed for the Learning to Disagree Project. You can find the Lesson Plan on “Attempting secession: the case of the Catalan referendum of 2017″ on Historiana.

Take me to the Lesson Plan…

 

Plenary Workshop on Assessment

Anthony Malone and Majella Dempsey, Maynooth University

During this session, Anthony and Majella will introduce a series of different assessment methods, discussing what each of them is most suitable for, and how to practically implement these methods in the classroom.

The plenary workshop will actively engage participants, who will be asked to try out some of the methods and to share their thoughts about and approaches to assessment.

The assessment methods presented in this plenary workshop are based on the Teacher Guide on Learning to Disagree.

27th Annual Conference

The plenary workshop is part of the 27th EuroClio Annual Conference on Controversy and Disagreement in the Classroom. You can find more information on the Annual Conference, including the full programme, on the Annual Conference main page.

Take me to the page…

Session Fee

You can register to this single plenary session for 15€ , or register to multiple workshops and sessions for a reduced fee.

Participation is free for Individual Members, Member Associations, and Ambassadors. Reach out to Djoera at djoera@euroclio.eu to know how to join.

The Benefit of Hindsight

Workshop by Valerio Bernardi, Learning to Disagree Team

This workshop is the product of the Learning to Disagree project. This project was initiated in response to the needs of educators who experience difficulties in addressing sensitive and controversial issues in their classrooms. The project, now in its final stages, offers trainings and support materials for teachers to face these topics head first with their students, subsequently teaching students vital skills such as the ability to listen, to consider alternative interpretations, and the ability of interacting with people that they disagree with in a constructive manner.

In August 1991, a cargo ship named Vlora arrived from Albania with 20,000 people on board in the Bari seaport, a major city of south-east Italy. The Italian Government decided to authorize the ship to come alongside the quay in Bari. After one or two days the immigrants were brought to the old Stadium in Bari called Victory. They were segregated for several days and most of them were repatriated to Albania. During those days there were also some riots  in the stadium . In the decades to come many more ships like the Vlora arrived in Italy from various places.

Valerio is one of the core members of the Learning to Disagree team and created the learning activity about the Vlora. In this workshop you will partake in said learning activity and subsequently you will be introduced to an activity that will allow students to have the possibility to compare migration in the past with migration today. Even more so, it will help students develop an understanding of the motivation of migration, empathy with the actors involved in (the history of) migration, and develop a positive attitude towards people with a different cultural background. The latter is specifically important as understanding of the other is needed to foster good dialogue and communication. 

27th Annual Conference

This workshop is part of the 27th EuroClio Annual Conference on Controversy and Disagreement in the Classroom. You can find more information on the Annual Conference, including the full programme, on the Annual Conference main page.

Take me to the page…

Workshop Fee

You can register to this single workshop for 15€ , or register to multiple workshops for a reduced fee.

Participation is free for Individual Members, Member Associations, and Ambassadors. Reach out to Djoera at djoera@euroclio.eu to know how to join.

Learning to Disagree

This and many other workshops are based on the Learning Activities and Variety of Viewpoints developed for the Learning to Disagree Project. You can find the Lesson Plan on “The Benefit of Hindsight” on Historiana.

Take me to the Lesson Plan…

 

Leaders in Times of Turmoil

Workshop by Zsolt Vódli and Juraj Varga, Learning to Disagree Team

When leaders make decisions about letting their allies invade their country, are they heroes or traitors?

This is the question your students should be able to answer by the end of the learning activity developed by Zsolt and Juraj. During this workshop they will discuss the contents of the learning activity, how to use it in your classroom, and how to assess your students during this learning activity.  This activity will help your students develop a plethora of skills, abilities and knowledge on historical figures and events.

The learning activity allows students to work in groups and discuss provocative statements; they will have to decide whether they agree, strongly agree, disagree or strongly disagree with these statements. Students cannot just say what they think in these discussions, they have to substantiate their opinions with an explanation or evidence. This learning activity provides students with the opportunity to understand the actions of leaders and people in a historically rather debated era. At the same time, it also gives them the opportunity to learn certain verbal competence while practicing critical thinking.

By the end of this learning activity your students will have developed their ability to evaluate different viewpoints, have learnt to express their opinion on sensitive and controversial topics, and further developed their critical thinking.

This workshop is the product of the Learning to Disagree project. This project was initiated in response to the needs of educators who experience difficulties in addressing sensitive and controversial issues in their classrooms. The project, now in its final stages, offers trainings and support materials for teachers to face these topics head-on with their students. These materials aim to teach students vital skills such as the ability to listen, to consider alternative interpretations, and the ability of interacting with people that they disagree with in a constructive manner.

 

27th Annual Conference

This workshop is part of the 27th EuroClio Annual Conference on Controversy and Disagreement in the Classroom. You can find more information on the Annual Conference, including the full programme, on the Annual Conference main page.

Take me to the page…

Workshop Fee

You can register to this single workshop for 15€ , or register to multiple workshops for a reduced fee.

Participation is free for Individual Members, Member Associations, and Ambassadors. Reach out to Djoera at djoera@euroclio.eu to know how to join.

Learning to Disagree

This and many other workshops are based on the Learning Activities and Variety of Viewpoints developed for the Learning to Disagree Project. You can find the Lesson Plan on “Leaders in Times of Turmoil” on Historiana.

Take me to the Lesson Plan…

 

Discussion ‘Tables’ on “What is quality history education?”

Do History Educators agree? Session moderated by EuroClio

What are the main features of quality history education? 

The answer to this question is ever changing, however, it is also the main driving force behind EuroClio’s work. Since 1992 it  has been EuroClio’s mission to inspire and support educators to engage learners in innovative and responsible history and citizenship education. During this session, participants will discuss what are the main features of quality history education, and how EuroClio can strive to promote them in its everyday work. 

As good quality history education is ever changing, the results of the discussion tables will feed into the revision of the EuroClio Manifesto.

The specific topics of the discussion tables will be confirmed soon. 

27th Annual Conference

The discussion tables are part of the 27th EuroClio Annual Conference on Controversy and Disagreement in the Classroom. You can find more information on the Annual Conference, including the full programme, on the Annual Conference main page.

Take me to the page…

Session Fee

You can register to this single plenary session for 15€ , or register to multiple workshops and sessions for a reduced fee.

Participation is free for Individual Members, Member Associations, and Ambassadors. Reach out to Djoera at djoera@euroclio.eu to know how to join.