• December 4, 2013
  • 291

Interactive History lesson

© Wilnoteka.lt

What should a teacher do in order to interest a student in History? Is the dictum that “Contemporary teenagers are not willing to learn humanistic studies” still valid? Can students learn on their own? In Jan Paul II Junior High School, two-day long conference about History was organized and carried out by the students from schools in Vilnius and Warsaw. It was devoted to a hundred fiftieth anniversary of January Insurgency and twentieth anniversary of the Pope’s apostolic visit in Lithuania. Not only did the symposium gathered the hosts who were initiators of the meeting, but also Lithuanian students from the Junior High Schools and the High Schools in Warsaw – T. Reytan and A. Kamiński.

To be favourable to integration

Jan Paul II Junior High School from Lithuania has been cooperating with Lithuanian Junior High Schools for many years. Within the confines of its cooperation, 10 History teachers went at the meeting to Warsaw at Polish History Institute’s invitation. The aim of the meeting was to improve the knowledge of Polish History not only for Polish students, but also for Lithuanian ones. Teachers from Lithuania participated at the conferences organized at High Schools in Warsaw, they visited places connected with January Insurgency in the Polish capital, the Museum of History and the Museum of Warsaw Insurgency. There, the idea of creating an international project “Otwórzmy drzwi przeszłości” (“Let’s open the door of the past”) formed.

Adam Błaszkiewicz, the director of Jan Paul II Junior High School in Vilnius, stressed that the whole conference and the papers were created not only for learning History, but also for integration reasons. “Youths are welcomed by Polish families in Lithuania and Lithuanian families. An agreement has to be reached and if we are to create similar projects together, the relationship between the Poles and the Lithuanian will improve in the future.” – said, the director.

To challenge stereotypes

The project lasted from 13th November to 17th November. Polish youths were living at the Lithuanian’s, who participated at the conference. They noticed that stereotypes should be challenged and such projects are good for it. The participants were in the cathedral vaults, in the Palace of the Sovereigns and visited the Old Town, especially places connected with January Insurgency. They also took part in the lecture of History Professor Alfredas Bumblauskas.

People from Warsaw, who were asked about their impressions of their stay in the Giedymin Borough, stated that they like the idea of the cooperation between Polish and Lithuanian youths.

Youths for youths

The organizers of the conference suggested concentrating on two issues to the youth. The issues were as follows: apostolic visit of Jan Paul II and the anniversary of January Insurgency. Before, they had visited places connected with the insurgency in Vilnius and Warsaw. They made their knowledge about commanders, weapons and ammunition complete. What is more, they also watched many fragments of the movies about the visit of the Pope in Warsaw and Lithuania. Then, they shared their obtained knowledge with their peers. When it comes to understanding the papers, the translation by youths from Jan Paul II Junior High School turned out o be helpful.

The lecture on Plater family, told by a descendant of the family, a student of A. Kamiński Junior High School in Warsaw – Ksawery Plater, was an interesting fact.

To stimulate creativity

After the lectures, the youths could attend the workshops organized by Wiktor Łozowski , a History teacher, and Brygida Nadtoczy, a catechist. At History classes, the students were to prepare a presentation on the matter “How the history would have changed if the Republic won the insurgency”. At religious education, the youths were using the fragments of Jan Paul II’s speeches on the peace and blessing in order to draw the symbols of the statements.

At the conference, the students of Jan Paul II Junior High School performed a show based on the fragments of Karol Wojtyła’s drama “Przed sklepem jubilera’ (“In front of the jeweller’s”). The artists presented the show in both Polish and Lithuanian in order to help the spectators acquaint with the work of Jan Paul II. The use of two languages showed that love is above all divisions.

“By creating the project, we wanted to stress that Polish schools in Vilnius cooperate with those from Lithuania and it is good for welding purposes.” – said, Lina Činčiuvienė and Eglė Ratkevičienė, the Lithuanian teachers from Jan Paul II Junior High School. They also stressed that history proves that the welding the Poles and the Lithuanian is possible. Whereas, the study of history and making students interested in it gives an opportunity to create the relationship between the Poles and Lithuanian people similar to those from 1863.

Source: http://www.wilnoteka.lt/pl/artykul/interaktywna-lekcja-historii

Tłumaczenie by Anna Kwiatkowska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Anna Kwiatkowska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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