Promoting Critical Thinking And Modern Teaching Of History

How can the teaching of history in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine be changed for the better? What methods can history teachers use to teach controversial historical topics? This is precisely the focus of the fourth phase of the cooperation project between DVVI International, Körber-Stiftung and various partner organisations, that started in summer 2023. The results and materials will be incorporated into the next iteration of the national history competitions.

The cooperation between DVV International, the Körber Stiftung and national NGOs from the Eastern Partnership countries already started in 2017. After focusing on initiating and strengthening national history competitions for students, the project now puts a stronger focus on teacher training. This is because teachers face great challenges: Appropriate methods, trainings, and materials to challenge their own national history in class are often missing. That’s why the project partners decided to develop a toolkit for teachers dealing with those issues.

A toolkit for the critical teaching of history

The toolkit will provide history teachers with methods to address challenging questions: How can they address contested histories in class? How can students learn to recognise propaganda in history (and also in the present)? How can they identify trustworthy online sources? Teams from each of the four project countries will work together to develop detailed guidelines and adapt them to each country’s specific circumstances. This will be preceded by desk research investigating how history-based propaganda is currently dealt with in textbooks and curricula.

History competitions to continue

Of course, the national history competitions will continue during this phase of the project. Pupils will be encouraged to study the history of their own families or towns. As in previous years, a common overarching theme will link all four competitions. In line with the toolkit, this iteration will focus on propaganda: “Exploring History-based Propaganda in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine” is the current topic.

The winners of the competitions will have the opportunity to discuss their experiences and results during the History Camp, an international youth meeting, after the award ceremonies.

Since 2017, the project has been funded by the German Federal Foreign Office within the framework of “Expanding Cooperation with Civil Society in the Eastern Partnership Countries and Russia”. Due to political circumstances, the project activities in Belarus were discontinued in 2021. Armenia joined the project in the same year.