Voices

The Voices blog is curated by EUROCLIO Ambassadors and history, heritage and citizenship education professionals. Would you like to contribute? Please send us a message!

Issues and challenges of History Education in the Republic of Korea – Part I

EUROCLIO Secretariat

The study visit took place within the framework of the Northeastern Asian History Foundation (NAHF)-EUROCLIO joint Conference entitled “Multiperspectivity and Tolerance in History Teaching”. This gave opportunities for interaction with a variety of actors who are working or cooperating with the Foundation. These included members of the Board and the staff of the Foundation, researchers and history teachers. At the same time, the structure of the programme, which was very tight and demanding, limited the possibilities for meetings with individuals who were not part of the activities prepared by the Foundation. In addition to the information gathered from the activities prepared by the Foundation, the available, unstructured time was used for visits to Museums. This provided a broader understanding of the social mechanisms of memorialization in the South Korean Society.

A brief calendar of activities can be helpful for establishing the context within which data for the compilation of the Report were gathered.The EUROCLIO delegates had their first meeting at Seoul on Sunday the 23rd of July 2017. We got to know each other and the representatives of the host organization and we established a common code of contact. On Monday 24th five Parallel Teaching Workshops were held by EUROCLIO delegates at Choong-Ang High School for students 15-17 years old. In the afternoon a round table discussion on “Issues and Challenges of History Education in Europe and South Korea” was held. On Tuesday 25th the main body of the NAHF-EUROCLIO International Conference “Multiperspectivity and Tolerance in History Teaching” was held. It included three sessions: 1. Conflicts over History and History Education 2: Citizenship and History Education, 3: One History, Multiple Perspectives.

On Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th we had the opportunity to be acquainted with the history and the culture of Korea in a more hands-on way. On the 26th a field trip with a tour guide was organized to the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) separating South and North Korea. At the morning of the 27th we had the chance to participate in a Tea Ceremony reflecting traditional Korean modes of social interaction which are, to a large extend, not practiced by new generations of Koreans. The day was concluded with the participation to a teacher training seminar with Korean history teachers hosted by Dokdo Training Institute. The session had two lectures from EUROCLIO delegates followed by a fruitful discussion with Korean teachers about issues and challenges in History Education in Korea and Europe.

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How can History Education Help with Dealing with a Difficult Past? – Part II

Michael Robinson

Working with Dylan Wray from Shikaya, a “non-profit civil society organization that recognises the crucial role that teacher can play in deepening and strengthening South Africa’s democracy,” the IJR produced a series of case studies (written by Wray) entitled “Classrooms of Hope: Case studies of South African teachers nurturing respect for all.”

Case Study 3 on Discrimination and Racism is a good example of the tools given to teachers on how to deal with a possibly uncomfortable situation in their classroom. In this example the black students felt that the coloured students did not want to interact with them because they believed the coloured students saw them as “lower class.” The next part of the curriculum goes through what the school and teacher did to rectify this problem, how the students responded to the teacher’s actions, and ends with reflections on the overall issue.

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How can History Education Help with Dealing with a Difficult Past? – Part I

Michael Robinson

It is after 9 PM, and I have just arrived in Cape Town, South Africa, for the first time. I am met at the airport by a driver that was arranged by my hotel, Frank Mountanda, a smiling, lively, funny, man who also happens to be an immigrant from Congo. As he took my luggage and was putting it in the trunk of the car, I walked up to get into the car, and he started to laugh and said, “You are welcome to drive it you want.” Without thinking I had walked up to the driver’s side of the car, which is on the opposite side of where it is in the United States. I had just done what was normal for me to do, proving that we humans definitely are creatures of habit.

The word “habit” is an interesting word. Its meaning is simple enough: it is something you regularly do that is often times hard to give up or change. It is needing to brush one’s teeth every morning before work, biting one’s finger nails, smoking cigarettes, or benignly walking to the wrong side of the car. Habits are not inherently bad; many are good, but they are most certainly difficult to change. We get used to doing a thing, and it becomes common practice. It is just what we do.

What if you grow up in a society where the social norms dictate that you separate yourself from people who look different than you, perhaps a place where white people don’t use the same public buses or bathrooms as black or colored (mixed-race) people? It is just normal life. How does a society go from changing the mindset of its people so that one group is not superior to all other groups? This has been the challenge of South Africa since ending apartheid— institutionalized racial segregation laws and practices— in the early 1990’s.

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Dealing with the Past in History Education: A Study Visit to Cape Town, South Africa

Khaled El Masri

On March 1st, 2017, Michael Robinson and I arrived at one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town, South Africa. This visit was meant to start our study about peace making in one of the model countries, “Dealing with the Past in History Education”.

My first day wasn’t very fruitful. Our contact, Mr. Cecyl Esau, and I were shocked because our first interview was canceled by a voice note after we had waited two and a half hours for the representative of Robben Island to attend the meeting, which was prescheduled by Mr. Cecyl. This limited the study visit to one interview, and we missed important information about how Robben Island was transformed from a prison to a peace figure.

On our second day, March 2nd, my colleague Michael and I conducted our first interview with Mr. Ceycl, Senior Project Leader for Building Inclusive Societies at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR). We had a beautiful and detailed introduction from him about South African history and the huge shift from the apartheid to democracy. He talked about the efforts given to ensure that these changes were made. One of the most beautiful examples of Mr. Cecyl’s interview is detailed in Michael’s blog report, which talks about a lady who told her daughter to make way for the uncle.

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Humans of EUROCLIO: Ineke Veldhuis-Meester

EUROCLIO Secretariat

Ineke Veldhuis-Meester EUROCLIO Affiliate 1992-Present “It is best to connect past and present, and this is what EUROCLIO does.” Ineke Veldhuis-Meester stood at the threshold of EUROCLIO and has remained active within the organization ever since. From the start, she has been part of the Historiana Learning Team, developing innovative […]

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Humans of EUROCLIO: Irina Kostyuk

EUROCLIO Secretariat

Irina Kostyuk EUROCLIO Affiliate 2000-Present “EUROCLIO has been the best part of my professional life.” Irina Kostyuk has 25 years of teaching experience as a History and Social Studies teacher and more than 10 years as a teacher trainer. She cooperated with the Ukrainian Association of Teachers of History, Social […]

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Humans of EUROCLIO: Bob Stradling

EUROCLIO Secretariat

Bob Stradling EUROCLIO Affiliate 1992-Present “EUROCLIO gives me an opportunity to have my own views challenged.” Dr. Robert Stradling has brought the thinking about history education in Europe to a higher level by sharing his insights in books, lectures, and workshops, contributing to policy recommendations, and developing educational resources. He […]

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Humans of EUROCLIO: Huub Oattes

EUROCLIO Secretariat

Huub Oattes EUROCLIO Affiliate 1995-Present “EUROCLIO got me flying again.” Huub Oattes (1955) was a Board member (Communications Officer, Vice-President) between 2005-2010. His involvement with EUROCLIO started as early as the mid 1990s through attending and participating in Annual Conferences (in Prague, Bologna, Cardiff, Riga, Malta, Nijmegen, and Erfurt) and […]

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Humans of EUROCLIO: Benny Christensen

EUROCLIO Secretariat

Benny Christensen EUROCLIO Affiliate 1994-Present “I have come to greatly appreciate the EUROCLIO family.” Benny Christensen served as a board member of the Danish History Teachers’ Association from 1997 to 2003 and was chairman of the International Committee from 1999 to 2003. He was project manager and expert in the […]

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