HISTORY TEACHING IN A MULTICULTURAL ENVIRONMENT - A STEP FORWARD FOR THE EDUCATION SYSTEM IN BULGARIA
Project: „Teaching History in Multicultural Society - Challenges and Models“
Beneficiary: Center for Research and Analysis
Partner: Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences
Financing: 27 291 Euro
Period of implementation: 3.07.2015 г. – 2.07.2016 г.
Goal: Support for history teachers in multicultural environment and encouraging exchange of good practices and knowledge between Bulgarian and Norwegian experts.
(part of the project team from left to right: Ms. Tsetsa Angelova, Associate at the CRI, Mr. Petko Hristov, project leader, Ms. Diana Ilieva, History teacher in 56th School in Soia, Ms. Marina Vasileva, project coordinator, Ms. Maya Nikolova, Director of 56th School in Sofia, Ms. Svetlana Mihaylova, History teacher in 127th School in Sofia, Ms. Bistra Lipovska, technical assistant, Ms. Violina Liubomirova, representative of Sociological Agency "Global Metrics", Mr. Momchil Hardalov, Administrator)
„Teaching History is telling the nation's story, which helps to each of us in developing national identity. The European Union and the migration waves have changed the environment and brings the need for a new approach in telling the story", says Docent Dr. Petko Hristov, leader of the project.
What is multicultural education?
Multicultural education is related to every form of education or training that includes stories, texts, values, understandings and points of view of people from different cultural and ethnic groups. The leading principle here is equality in education for all students. The core of the project is the development of a handbook for teachers that serves as a basis for adapting teaching materials on the basis of the cultural background of the students. The development of the handbook was far from being only theoretical. On the contrary - aiming to have a final product that is practically oriented and based on the real environment in the Bulgarian schools, the project team has been running an extensive communication with a stakeholders from various fields. Three schools in the cities of Sofia, Blagoevgrad and Isperih have joined the initiative and organised open lessons in history, a large number of in depth interviews and online surveys with history teachers and students.
A successfull partnership
A major contribution to the success of the project had the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences. "Norway has a different understanding on multuculturalism and rather links it to the migrant communities from the last 40 years", says Mr. Hristov. The College took part in a number of the events under the project and contributed with its specific experience and perspective. A case that was discussed was the Nazi occupation in Norway in the period 1940 - 1945 and how the topic is taught in school.
Why is it important
Diana Ilieva, Maya Nikolova and Svetlana Mihaylova (from lef to right) are teaching History in Bulgarian schools. Their approach is an excellent example how being in class could mean to participate in an entrataining game where the teacher is more of a facilitator and studying is through live experience. The students are actively involved in class - they analise information, compare sources, work in groups in search for links. What's more, multicultural history is a strong weapon against society stereotipes based on religion, sex, age, etc.
The way forward
The project activities are complete, but the real test for the achieved results is yet to come - the teachers handbook has to be recognised by the teachers and directors in order to become part of the History teaching in the Bulgarian schools. The handbook will be presented during the upcoming annual meeting of teachers in History and is also available for download on the website of the project. The Center for Research and Analysis will bring the handbook to the attention of the Ministry of Education and Science as well as to other events it attends.