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Pedagogy of remembrance

According to this assumption, the educational process carried out within the frame of the pedagogy of remembrance is supposed to combine reflection on the past with reflection on our own predispositions, opinions and attitudes. It is, therefore, an attempt to activate historical memory of totalitarian crimes in a moral and social dimension.

The didactic model of the pedagogy of remembrance is based on two fundamental criteria: taking learners’ subjectivity into consideration and creating opportunities for them to be educated by discovering. The key role is played by the creative and individual work of the participants in the programme, as well as research efforts made by them. This research should lead to free formulation of value judgements and personal conclusions. In this way, the pedagogy of remembrance combines historical and social values, thus contributing to developing such skills as critical acquisition of historical knowledge, problem recognition, judgemental self-formulation, andbecoming engaged in the discussion of the past and present.

The general aim of the pedagogy of remembrance is initializing mental processes in the act of acquiring knowledge about the history of a specific place (taking the general historical background into account), whereas the particular aims are connected with activating and organizing the cognitive process and, therefore, with making observations, which can have normative meaning for the inner development of a human being.

Contents of education

Historical and social education in places of remembrance is not only limited to conveying knowledge, but also affects personality development, helps to shape the moral values system, and teaches social justice and respect for human rights. The main point here is to counteract discrimination, eliminate prejudices, tackle acts of aggression and violence, show the dangers resulting from social indifference, and create behaviours based on empathy, tolerance and sensitivity.

Forms of education

Different forms of education are used in the pedagogy of remembrance: visiting the Museum, broadening cognitive and emotional aspects; study days combining a visit to the museum with individual work in the archives or library; project-based workshops; historical training oriented on searching and substantiating traces of the past (so called “spoken history”); international youth meetings within the frame of intercultural education, and educational seminars for multiplicators and teachers.

A project-based education is that which gives the most didactic and pedagogical benefits. A project is understood to be a programme based on a plan and work division, whose aim is to carry out a specific task, for example to organize an exhibition or collect documentation. This kind of education is practice-oriented and simultaneously teaches concept and team work. It can also be combined with physical work aimed at preserving objects and historical space.

Preparation and realization of the programme

The programmes, that constitute extracurricular historical and social education in places of remembrance, ought to consist of five stages: introductory stage, preparation, realization, summary, and documentation and presentation. Within the first two stages it is recommended to complete basic preparatory activities: explain the motives, students’ expectations and interests; formulate the aim of the project; recognize the opportunities and pedagogical potential of the visited museum; prepare basic information about the history of a place, and plan the course of the visit to the museum. Cooperation and work division between the teachers and the students is of great importance. The stage of realization includes visiting the museum, exhibition and historical space with regard to particular issues. In the case of longer sessions, a meeting with a history witness as well as individual work in the archives or library can be added. The main component of the summary stage is exchanging impressions and feelings and discussion concerning the form of the possible documentation of the project and the way of using it. During the last documentation and presentation stage, the participants may prepare a school exhibition, a play, newspaper article or a set of materials like, for example, photographic documentation and publications containing reports about the project.