How to teach sensitive and controversial topics in history seminar held in Belgrade, Serbia

From 26-27 November 2016 the seminar ‘How to teach sensitive and controversial topics in history’ was held at Hotel Mazestik, Belgrade, Serbia. The event was organised by Udi-Euroclio and Education for the 21st century with support of Forum ZFD and aimed at opening the discussion on dealing with the past, in particular the 90s war on the territory of former Yugoslavia.

Professor Marco Suica opened the seminar with a presentation on ‘Stereotypes in History Teaching’. The presentation aimed at empowering teachers to recognise stereotypes, and through breaking and deconstructing those promoting values such as human rights, multiculturalism, a culture of dialogue and reconciliation. Then Aleksandar Todosijevic spoke on ‘The Research on Methodology of Social History’, introducing the participants to the most essential and decisive problems of history teaching today as well as to ways to overcome these problems by applying innovative approaches in teaching.

After a preparatory workshop about “Learning about the wars of the 90s by Emina Živkovic and Aleksandar Todosijevic, the participants had the opportunity to learn more about the use and abuse of the past in order to homogenise and separate between ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina in a focus group on ‘Us and/or Them’, also by Emina Živković. The workshop represented an example of good practice in the field of cooperation between colleagues from the region, namely members of the History Teachers’ Associations in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Finally, participants had the chance to participate in a seminar on working with visual historical sources in the classroom and on ways to teach sensitive and controversial topics, in particular the 90s war.

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