‘Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed’
Preamble to the UNESCO Constitution
The different faces of war
This scenario attempts to embody the above preamble in the light of the current influx of war refugees from countries like Syria into European countries. I strongly believe that young minds are constantly challenged into upholding the meaning of peace and, eventually, defending the concept of peace regardless of their origin.
How to talk about wars to students
It is painfully difficult to talk with students about war. And given students’ access to media, it is almost impossible to protect them from frightening and confusing world events. What we say to our students depends on their age, the questions they ask, and our own political and moral beliefs. Whatever we feel about what is happening in current wars, we want to encourage students to continue to be curious about the world, to value peaceful resolutions to problems, and to feel free to come to us with questions and concerns.
History is always integrated into the core curriculum of the education system in Europe. Nevertheless, I envisage that these classes will provide students with a hands-on approach to learning and discovering the many ‘Faces of war’. Real photos, documentaries and first-hand accounts of eyewitnesses of war have more impact than just words written in textbooks. And this is essentially the basis of this scenario: making the young generation aware of all the dimensions of war.
This scenario attempts to
- take advantage of collaborative learning (discussing issues in groups, but also writing manifestos in pairs, contributing to the brainstorming activity online, creating a GoogleDocs dictionary, discussing the content of manifestos and voting for the best ones on the Internet);
- use various online tools in a pedagogically justified way (for example, AnswerGarden for collecting ideas, GoogleDocs for creating a thematic vocabulary collection, Tricider for an online discussion and Quizlet for preparing quizzes and other class games);
- develop skills in a holistic way;
- combine various methodologies to enhance students’ engagement;
- give students a lot of autonomy and prepare them for continuous professional development in the future;
- take advantage of inquiry-based learning, personalized learning, the concept of multiple intelligences and students centred methods of instruction.
War themes are not easy for anyone to comprehend or accept. Understandably, many students feel confused, upset, and anxious. We can help by listening and responding in an honest, consistent, and supportive manner. And that is what the “Faces of War” scenario puts into practice.
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CC BY 4.0 – The featured image used to illustrate this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution. It can be found in the Europeana 1914-1918 collection. The image has been resized and labelled to illustrate this article. To find the original image click here.