VIENNA – It is important to support inclusive history teaching in order to create a European identity among younger generations of all nations. This was one of the conclusions of a conference in Vienna, Austria, organized by the Council of Europe from 9 to 10 April entitled “Shared histories for a Europe without dividing lines”.
Professionals, teachers and other stakeholders in the field of history education gathered for this conference in Vienna, where a respective course book on pan-European history teaching was presented.
Maksim Milto, a Member of the Executive Committee of the European Students’ Union, attended the conference. He participated in roundtable discussions on the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and the 60th anniversary of the European Cultural Convention. In his response to the panel, he stressed the crucial role of student-centred learning. Not only should the content used in teaching be inclusive, but also the conceptual nature of the teaching and learning process. Students’ interests should be reflected throughout the whole process.
History in times of austerity
The discussions at the conference were led by a presentation of the outcomes of a project that started in 2010, where the Council of Europe recognised the need to protect quality history teaching in times of austerity. History education could be used as an instrument of ideological manipulation, propaganda of for ultra-nationalist, xenophobic or racist ideas when reduced to national history. Therefore, it was more important than ever to support an intercultural dialogue by teaching “shared histories” that enable students to learn about other perspectives and aspects that have impacted the whole continent.
E-book published 5 May
The new book that was presented at the conference as an outcome of the project, will be officially published on the occasion of the Europe Day on 5 May. It is an interactive e-book of 900 pages, providing its readers with a comprehensive tool on history teaching, with teaching units suitable for pupils from age eight to eighteen.
Four main themes will be the focus of this book. Those are: the impact of the industrial revolution; the development of education; human rights as reflected in the history of art; and lastly, Europe and the world. Teaching materials, strategies and techniques are provided for each theme with background material for further discussion. This content will be available to the public for free in English, with certain parts also in French, on http://shared-histories.coe.int
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The European Students’ Union, headquartered in Brussels, is the umbrella organisation of 47 national unions of students from 39 European countries. ESU represents and promotes the educational, social, economical and cultural interests of students at the European level. Through its member unions, ESU represents over 11 million students in Europe. To find out more about ESU, follow us on Twitter @ESUtwt, check out or Facebook page or visit www.esu-online.org. ESU celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2012.