Teaching Divided Histories: Euroclio Workshop

Teaching Divided Histories: Euroclio Workshop

Hungary, Poland, Montenegro, Greece and Finland - just some of the countries represented at a recent workshop hosted by the Teaching Divided Histories project at the Nerve Centre. The international attendees were all members of the group Euroclio (the European Association of History Educators).

With a network of at least 25,000 history, heritage and citizenship educators, Euroclio promotes responsible and innovative teaching of history based on multi-perspectivity, critical thinking, mutual respect, and the inclusion of controversial issues. 25 Euroclio members recently attended a Northern Ireland based residential seminar on Conflict and Cooperation: Addressing Sensitive and Controversial Issues in History. Although based primarily at the Corrymeela centre, Ballycastle, the seminar involved one day spent in Derry~Londonderry where participants partook in one of the multi-media, digital workshops centred around NI Civil Rights from the Teaching Divided Histories project.

Teaching Divided Histories is led by the Nerve Centre and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the PEACE III programme. The project will introduce new curriculum linked approaches to the study of conflict into post-primary schools in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and also internationally. To date the project has delivered training to 79 teachers from 21 schools across Northern Ireland and the border counties.

The catalyst for this new approach to teaching and learning about conflict is the use of moving image and digital media. The project brings together post-primary teachers from schools across Northern Ireland and the border counties to develop and pilot a range of innovative education programmes that use film, digital photography, animation, comic books and webcasting to enable young people to explore common experiences of conflict and peace building. These teachers and educators are being trained in a range of creative and critical skills so that they can use moving image and digital technologies within the classroom to liberate and empower young people to engage practically with issues of conflict and division.

During their time at the Nerve Centre, the Euroclio members gained training in the use of the software package Comic Life, and were amazed at the powers of the tool to bring topics such as history to life in an engaging fashion. Aysel Gojayeva, one of the conference organisers said: 'I would like to thank the Nerve Centre a lot for organizing such an interesting workshop for us. All participants found it really engaging and useful.'

The seminar allowed participants to: exchange ideas and experiences related to the teaching of history, heritage and citizenship between professionals from different backgrounds; understand the local history and complexities of teaching history in Northern Ireland and think collaboratively on ‘how to address sensitive and controversial issues in (contemporary) history’. Both full-time members of staff from the Teaching Divided Histories project, Emma McDermott and Matthew McAleer, also attended a number of workshops in Corrymeela, as part of the seminar. This was a great way to spread news of the work being done by the Nerve Centre to an international audience, and also opened up further international networks for the Teaching Divided Histories project itself.

For further in formation on the project visit www.nervecentre.org/teachingdividedhistories.

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