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Disconcerting past – History education on mass atrocities
Resource
Manual
Theme
History Education
Resources

Violent Past Teaching Manual

This free downloadable teaching manual engages with history teachers and offers student-centred methods and interactive ways of learning about mass atrocities and violent pasts.

The manual was originally developed in Khmer, as an outcome of the Disconcerting past – History education on mass atrocities project, to offer guidance and interactive activities to teach and learn about Cambodia’s violent past. However, the manual can also be used in other context to teach and learn about difficult histories, therefore, it has been translated into English and Spanish and is available as a free download in all three languages.

Discussing difficult history
Teaching a violent past is not easy to do. It is demanding for the facilitator and the learners. Teaching a violent past needs more than providing knowledge about the timeline of events, number of victims and causes of death, the regime’s politics or the motivation of the perpetrators. If the violent past affected family members of the learners, or the topic is still controversial in society, then it is important to not only learn about the topics, but also to deal with the past in an active way.

Learner-centered or teacher-centered?
This manual offers ideas on how to discuss a violent past in an active manner. The manual mostly focuses on methodology: how to make learning about the past interesting for learners. There is less focus on the specific content of the past. To spark learner’s interest in the (violent) past, it is helpful to choose a learner-centered approach. This manual uses the following elements of learner-centered learning: to give learners a voice in what they want to learn about the past based on their own interests, to first let them find out by themselves before information is provided, to foster curiosity, to encourage joint learning and to link local findings with the wider history.

Encourage discussion
As the title shows, a main aim of this manual is to provide learners – and facilitators – with activities to not only learn about the past, but also to discuss it. The activities let learners practice key elements of discussion, such as active listening (with the attempt to understand the other well), responding to each other’s statements or arguments, not judging others’ opinions, aiming to understand motives and intentions, etc. In this process, it is the facilitator’s task to guide the discussion, to keep it on topic and not let it get personal, ensure that different perspectives are included and that all learners can express themselves.

Violent Past Teaching Manual - English Version

Download your free copies of the teaching manual here

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Violent Past Teaching Manual - Khmer Version

Download your free copies of the teaching manual here

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Violent Past Teaching Manual - Spanish Version

Download your free copies of the teaching manual here

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