The project ‘More History: Diversity in Focus’ supported by the ENRS aims to support the development of Lithuanian civil society by improving the quality of history educational programs as well as teachers' and museum educators' professional skills. The project was officially launched on September 15th in Vilnius with a conference entitled "Do we find non-Lithuanian speakers in the narrative of Lithuanian history?".
The project ‘More History: Diversity in Focus’ aims to create a harmonious and mature Lithuanian civil society. A society that is resistant to inter-ethnic strife, political manipulations, and hostile propaganda. One that is open to intercultural dialogue, positive cultural and social cohesion, and objective knowledge. It is also marked by the evaluation of the "other", through rethinking the prevailing narrative of Lithuanian history in today's schools and museums. By incorporating a multi-ethnical view, we can prepare auxiliary methodological notes for Lithuanian history teachers and museum educators, to present multi-identity knowledge of Lithuanian history.
Research shows that in Lithuania, even today, manifestations of discrimination due to gender, nationality, etc. occur. Likewise, the history curriculum and the tasks it poses, the educational activities carried out in museums are slow to grasp these problems and more attention is not paid to their solution.
In addition, history-telling focuses on facts and single paradigms, which undermines students' ability to interpret knowledge and see a wider context. It should be noted that not only is not enough time devoted to developing students' ability to independently and critically analyze sources, but also teaching them to work with different types of historical sources, in general. Therefore, it can be difficult for them objectively perceive the historical process and contemporary surroundings.
Currently, the political agenda aims to change the situation at a national level by approving new history-related education programs to strengthen students' historical literacy as well as encouraging teachers and students to freely explore and discover multifaceted history. The project aims to enhance the quality of newly prepared history educational programs as well as improve teachers' and museum educators' qualification skills.
The project consists of four parts:
Part I - September 15, 2022 (Thursday)/ House of Signatories, National Museum of Lithuania - the conference entitled "Do we find non-Lithuanian speakers in the narrative of Lithuanian history?" dedicated to the 160th anniversary of the birth of Stanislovas Narutavičius, the signatory of the Act signed on February 16, 1918.
Part II – September 2022 – May 2023 – the project-research work will be carried out with non-Lithuanian-speaking and Lithuanian-speaking schools with the purpose to identify the existing image of multiethnicity and multiculturalism among 10-11 grade students in the three participating municipalities. At the end of the project research, the introductory training course will be held at the House of the Signatories for history teachers of the participating municipalities and museum educators (topic - localization through historical personalities/processes connecting non-Lithuanian speakers with Lithuanian history), and tasks will be prepared for the students for their project work.
Part III – June 2023 – The integrational-practical camp for the group of students of the 10-11 grade participating in the project, during which there will be a presentation and evaluation of the tourist routes prepared by the students, as well as targeted educational trips to Telšiai/Brėvikai (home of the signatory Narutavičius), Šalčininkai/Jašiūnai estate, Signatories House, a subdivision of the National Museum of Lithuania
Part IV - July – September 2023, the seminar at the House of Signatories - based on the research carried out during the project and tested practices, preparation, and presentation of a practical methodology for history teachers and museum educators, presentation of qualification improvement certificates to the seminar participants.
The expected long-term value of the project:
- based on social consensus, the multifaceted narrative of Lithuanian history will be integrated into school history lessons and museum educational activities;
- reduction of discrimination, development of mature and open-minded individuals;
- training of students' historical literacy, strengthening of local identity, promotion of intercultural dialogue and thinking in universal values;
- improving the competencies of history teachers and museum educators and the quality of education in history;
- establishing a network of history teachers and museum educators.
Barbara Stankiewicz, PhD, Institute for Education Research and Innovation
Dalia Strimaitytė, PhD, The House of Signatories, National Museum of Lithuania