Longtime interest in the Lutheran Academy for activities based on history, and the success of our school in competitions of this sort have been recognized by the organizers of a pilot project aimed at history instruction. The Lutheran Academy has been selected as one of four Slovak schools to receive this honor!
Having the school teach history and memory has previously created tensions in Central European countries. What role does the family play in these social groups? Where did the antagonism start and where does it work to sooth family memories and the historical truth? How is this subject integrated into school curricula?
The project demonstrates the themes of the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century through the use of various types of media. During the lessons, selected clips from movies that explain the historical events are used. Students also work with contemporary posters, comics and cartoons. Students were more motivated during pilot lessons because the movie is a more attractive medium. It motivates them to pursue historical issues.
History teacher, Alena Sivoňová, sees the benefit of the pilot lessons. “During the history course, pupils purposefully develop analytical and interpretive skills. Pupils learn to understand the film media with hours of work – individually or in groups.”
School project coordinator, Dušan Haško, pointed to another benefit – the increase media comprehension of students. “Although we assume that the student is accustomed to film in their everyday world, working with a short film trailer during the lessons of history refines analytical skills. Young people interpret the media and learn to ask critical questions. These skills are used to follow other historical films, but generally a critical view of audiovisual media – including the Internet and television.”
Ninth-grader, Keny, was impressed by the essence of history. He learned about the leading personalities of political changes of November 1989, involving former Czech President, Vaclav Havel. “The teacher played us clips from three movies. Then, we were to find the main theme of each excerpt; invent a name for each clip; guess the location of the events of each one; and, assess which figures were positive and which were negative. I felt more like a spectator at the cinema. I almost did not realize that it was actually a history lesson.”
Slovak project coordinator, Mgr. Neupauer Francis, PhD said: “I am glad to find harmony between the analytical and didactic professional work of teachers in the four selected Slovak schools, Lutheran Academy in Martin included. Thus, we see that professional piloting of the project could be the source of valuable information and suggestions for teaching in all Slovak schools as early as the new school year.”
Project History and Media/Media and History is financed by the European Union and will be completed during 2016 by the launching of websites that will be available to all.