History Teaching

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

The project "Learning and teaching about the history of Europe in the 20th century" was launched in May 1997 upon a mandate of the European Ministers of Education

  • to be a product-oriented project developing innovative teaching resources for secondary schools;
  • to approach events not through the learning of dates, facts, figures and battles, but to help teachers and students develop critical skills of investigation using the same skills and assessment criteria as the historians.

The aim of the project

To develop teaching material that will enable students to:

  • understand the links between past and present;
  • understand the forces, movements and events which have shaped 20th century history;
  • understand the historical roots and the context of the main challenges and conflicts facing Europe today;
  • reflect on the kind of Europe in which they wish to live tomorrow;
  • develop skills and reflexes enabling them to think for themselves amidst the wealth of information now available, deal critically with statements and historical interpretations,
  • take in another person’s point of view, recognise and comprehend differences,
  • detect errors and prejudices in historical representations and not to be swayed by biased information.

The project adopted an interdisciplinary and pan-European stance which stressed the importance of social, scientific, cultural and oral history, amongst others. Similarly, the project encouraged teaching history using a wide range of sources and topics, such as the new technologies, cinema, women's history, archives and museums, and developed the concept of "remembrance" as vital to the prevention of crimes against humanity.

Project outcomes

a complete teaching kit for secondary school history teaching made of

  • a handbook for history teachers
  • a series of additional teaching material related to a broad range of topics

a publication "The 20th century – an interplay of views", presenting and assessing the above mentioned teaching resources, and compiling the presentations made at a final Conference in 2001 by distinguished historians and writers from across Europe about their views on the past century

a Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers on history teaching in twenty-first-century Europe (Recommendation (2001) 15)