In collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) and the Center for Educational Research and Development (CERD), the British Council celebrated the conclusion of the pilot phase Teaching Divided Histories (TDH) project with representatives from the 15 public and private schools that contributed to its success.
The event featured presentations by the participating students of the TDH projects which they designed and showcased in their schools. The presentations were given in the presence H.E. British Ambassador to Lebanon, Mr Tom Fletcher, CERD President, Dr. Nada Oweijane, representatives of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, and British Council Country Director, Ms Donna McGowan.
‘Teaching Divided Histories highlights the importance that studying history has on understanding and shaping society’ said McGowan. She added: ‘We see that this approach to history is developing critical thinking skills and emotional intelligence which will help young people better understand themselves and others, their communities and those of others’. Ms McGowan announced that the TDH project has allowed 500 secondary students from 15 Lebanese schools to develop projects focusing on peace building and reconciliation. The project allowed these students to master new skills such as film making, digital photography, comic drawing and webcasting to express their understanding of conflict and peace building.
In her turn, Dr. Oweijane thanked the British Council, concluding that ‘our endeavour has been fruitful and the yield could be seen through the products, films, snapshots and publications, produced and displayed by students of participating schools’. The CERD President also hoped Minister Bou Saab will succeed in his efforts to unify the Lebanese students’ history book adding ‘our gathering today is a part of our effort to fill the gap that resulted from suspending the history book’.
TDH has introduced new approaches to the study of conflicts into school curriculum and has been implemented in Northern Ireland, India, South Africa, Sierra Leone as well as Lebanon. Teachers and educators underwent training and then cascaded their knowledge and skills to their students, empowering them to engage practically with issues of conflict and division.
The ceremony concluded with the distribution of certificates to the schools which participated in the programme and with a tour of the school booths’ where the students showcased their projects.
Teaching Divided Histories aims to make a strategic impact on current approaches to the teaching of history, culture and identity in schools by introducing moving image and digital pedagogies into the teaching of History and Citizenship as well as a wider range of subjects such as English, ICT, Art, and Music and in cross-curricular programmes of learning.