History Teaching

"Learning and teaching about the history of Europe in the 20th century" – Project results

The European home

"The European Home: Representations of 20th century Europe in History Textbooks" is a study carried out by the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research in Braunschweig, Germany. Using a cross-section of secondary school history textbooks, it informs on the general developments in the presentation of history over the last decades, and provides an overview of how certain aspects of European history are dealt with. Some of the topics discussed are taken from the darker side of Europe’s past, such as occupation policy, the Holocaust, genocide and war.

Others deal with textbook market structures, the space allotted to regional, national, European and world history, and the importance of textbook layouts and tasks assigned to pupils – whether they develop key skills of critical investigation or encourage pupils to digest pre-structured knowledge.

Relevant to European integration is the issue of what “Europe” and the “European dimension” really mean to the young. What are key concepts in the circles of pan-European decision makers are sometimes undefined, underlying assumptions in history textbooks. This books calls for a definition(s) and discussion of Europe to be brought to the forefront. The author has included in his recommendations, partly directed towards textbook authors and curriculum designers, ways and means to help young people perceive “Europe” as having a meaningful and positive role in their daily lives. This concept of Europe goes beyond economic policy and politics and will emerge through a study of European commonalities, mentalities and lifestyles, and tasks which allow pupils to exchange ideas on this topic.

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[Russian version]: "Европейский дом: изображение Европы 20-го столетия в учебниках по истории"

Link to ISBN publication
available in English, French and Italian