On 21 November 2016 Maria Laura Marescalchi piloted the learning activity ‘Would you like to play in the orchestra’ in Modena, Italy, with 19 students with an average age of 18 years. The learning activity was developed within the transnational project Silencing Citizens through Censorship – Learning from Europe’s 20th-century dictatorial & totalitarian past which aims at developing resources on striking historical examples of censorship.

The activity was tested in a two-hour lesson forming part of a larger module on Fascism. Marescalchi used the previous lesson to familiarize the students with the context of the aftermath of World War 1 in Italy and the origins and rise of Fascism until Mussolini’s appointment to the position of Prime Minister. This made it possible to start with the learning activity without prior introduction to the topic. The students were divided into four groups consisting of 4-5 students each and received copies of original sources and corresponding worksheets.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive with ¾ of the students responding that they enjoyed the lesson. They found working with original sources particularly engaging and felt encouraged to discuss and compare their opinions on the sources within the group. They, however, pointed out low quality of some images and the lack of sufficient time to reflect on and complete all tasks.

Read more about the project here silencing citizens through censorship.