The UK Historical Association conference, Bristol, 8-9 May 2015: Helen Snelson presented some of the materials from the Decisions and Dilemmas project to a workshop of UK secondary school history teachers in Bristol. The World Wars and the Cold War often feature in history teaching in the UK and as part of that students learn about the international relations of the 20th century. However, these studies are rarely focused on Europe per se and rarely reach back into the past.
In the workshop Helen used the timeline about the ‘long search for political stability in Europe 1648-1945‘ that is being developed by the Decisions and Dilemmas team. Participants created a large wallpaper colour chart to show when different ways of establishing stability have been tried in Europe. Helen also presented a selection of the life stories of European people living in the period 1945-49. These life stories are being developed in order to engage students with the human stories behind the years that followed the end of World War Two. They are being developed to help students consider how similar and different experiences were across the continent, and to enable students to use source material to consider how typical was the experience of their character.
Participants were enthusiastic about these and gave useful feedback to the team as they continue their development work.
On 15-16 February the second development meeting for the Historiana project “Decisions and Dilemmas: how to teach about the EU from a historical perspective” took place in Braine L’Alleud, Belgium.
After a general introduction concerning aims of the meeting by Steven Stegers and Judith Geerling, it was time for Helen Snelson (UK) and the historical content editor Francesco Scatigna (Italy) to convey the team concerning the results of the Advisory Board Meeting in Spain in 2014. Then, Francesco presented his timeline with the key events for the EU between 1944 and 2008. It was a great opportunity to discuss on learning activities on the timeline developed for the part on the long search for stability in Europe. This point will be piloted soon in Denmark during the EuroClio Annual Conference.
Thereafter Bob Stradling – Historiana Editor in Chief- presented his ideas for activities, facilitating debates on key policy issues from 1945 to nowadays. On this subject, the presence of Edgars Berzins (Latvia), Marjeta Sifrer (Slovenia), Ineke Veldhuis-Meester (The Netherland) and Helen as History teachers was relevant to share ideas and improve activities template. One purpose: teach the EU in an interactive and interesting way!
Edgars, Ineke and Marjeta presented sources they found as evidence files to illustrate post-war Europe. This perspective includes displaced people, infrastructural destruction. More than the ‘practical aspect’, they are also focusing on the post-war spirit: how life goes on, how to prevent conflicts. In this way Historiana aims to teach History in an innovative way using ordinary life stories. That’s why we pooled with pleasure different life stories after the Second World War, collected by Edgars, Ineke and Marjeta and tried to make it relevant for teachers and students.
Finally, the team agreed on next steps to follow for the two coming workshops: pilot teaching material during the Annual Conference in Denmark and the project results that would be discussed during the International Training 2016 in Italy (more information will come).