Challenging Historical Narratives


"History education can be a tool – but it can also be used as a weapon" - this farsighted quotation by Mire Mladenovski would serve as a valuable thesis on the development of othering processes in general. At the same time, it is a crucial finding that emphasizes the value of the work of EUROCLIO, hosts of today's Workshop session 1.3. "Challenging Historical Narratives".

Steven Stegers, programme director of EUROCLIO, started the workshop with introducing the participants to the organisation and the basic aims that led to its founding in 1992. EUROCLIO (European Association of History Educators) has been established back in a time when Europe, shortly after the fall of the iron curtain, looked very different from today. The visionary idea was to shape the future of History teaching together.

"Knowledge is temporary, skills are permanent"

As a basis to understand the fundamental approaches of EUROCLIO, Mire Mladenovski from Mazedonia stepped up to challenge the assumption that History education equals teaching and learning about "the truth". Instead, he stressed the important distinction in education between historical orientation (asking Who? When? Where? to teach historical facts and knowledge) and historical thinking (asking How? Why? What? to develop opinions and skills). Mladenovski convincingly emphasized the high importance of the latter, which is why History education should focus on the development of skills like critical thinking and analysing in pupils.

Multiperspectivity as the "golden key" to mutual understanding

Yulia Kushnereva and Iryna Kostyuk provided the workshop participants with a closer look on a practical piece of work initiated by the organisation, namely the transnational publication "Crossroad of cultures - Socio-political changes in the countries of the Black Sea in the 19th and 20th century", aiming at multiperspective History teaching and enhancing mutual understanding in the Black Sea region. A remarkable project with, as the managing ladies stressed, a lot of specific challenges. Among those were the task to establish mutual methods, trust-building within the multinational publishing team in a conflict-struck region and finding common ground concerning sensitive and controversial issues.

Since everybody knows that a little commitment is crucial to understanding of every sort, the workshop participants in the end could try out and discuss several exemplary tasks from a multinational History textbook which led to lively discussions.

Multiperspectivity needs people who want to share their views - that is why Steven Stegers concluded the session by encouraging the participants to get in touch or join in to one of EUROCLIO's manifold projects. If you also got curious, find EUROCLIO or the Historiana project on facebook or Twitter: @EUROCLIO @HistEduNews @Historiana

Topic: 
Citizenship Education
Category: 
Articles
Conference Day: 
Friday

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