History Teaching

Cooperation with Cyprus

The Council of Europe started its work on history teaching in Cyprus in 2003 on the initiative of the Secretary General. During the period of 2003-2006, six activities have been organised, among these, seminars, workshops and meetings of experts which brought together about 500 participants from different communities reflecting the fact that Cyprus is multicultural.

The activities provided an opportunity for an exchange of views on the preparation of new teaching materials as well as on teacher training issues. As one of the main challenges of education today in Europe concerns teaching about diversity, one of the main goals was to supply the participants with information on such practical approaches in teaching history as multiperspectivity.

The main partner of the Council of Europe was the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research, the only non-governmental organisation in Cyprus which brings together history educators from all communities. Strong support was also received from all teacher trade unions across the divide which strengthened links with practicing teachers.

Project outcomes

One of the main outcomes of this co-operation was the publication on multiperspectivity in teaching and learning history based on the discussions held in Cyprus. This booklet was published in 2004 in English, Greek and Turkish and was disseminated in all schools in Cyprus. It contains practical methodological information which could be used by teachers in their everyday classroom practice.

Another trilingual (English, Greek, Turkish) publication on "The use of sources in teaching and learning history" was published in January 2009. This publication in two volumes is the result of an unprecedented collective effort by history educators from all Cypriot communities facilitated by the Council of Europe. The two volumes provide information on the European experience in teaching history for reconciliation and tolerance, and include a set of common teaching materials based on the social, cultural and everyday history of Cyprus.

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Next steps

The activities of the Council of Europe received positive evaluation from Cypriot history educators as they provided unique opportunity for specialists from all communities to work together on the development of new teaching methods motivating pupils to communicate peacefully with representatives of different cultures, religions and linguistic groups on a basis of a dialogue.

Taking this into consideration, a new programme of activities is now under preparation.

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