Current Wars in Class

The topic of ongoing conflicts has gained new urgency in schools. War is no longer conveyed via media only. A growing number of pupils have been forced to flee from war areas themselves, and/or have relatives still living there. Others are confronted by war because their parents or relatives serve as soldiers or civil peace experts in conflict areas. Teachers are thus faced with the challenge of incorporating very heterogeneous experiences into their teaching.

The project will develop learning materials, which enable teachers to deal with current wars in a sensitive and pupil-oriented way. The starting point will be authentic reports and opinions of pupils on how they experience and perceive ongoing wars. Therefore, interviews are conducted. These personal perspectives will be supplemented with background information and adapted for didactic use in class. The project especially deals with the question of what people can do against war and to promote peace.

Timeframe

2014

In an increasingly interconnected world, students in Germany are also being directly or indirectly affected by wars occurring around the world and their repercussions. Many of them have relatives or friends who have previously experienced or are currently experiencing war. A growing number of German school children were themselves forced to flee from war-afflicted areas. Media coverage about wars provokes powerful emotions, is often ambiguous and thus highly complex. Many students find it difficult to understand and reflect upon information about wars worldwide. The more children and youth are directly affected by war, the more important it becomes to deal with ongoing wars and their consequences in school. Existing teaching materials on global learning fall short on addressing this dimension.

Approach

Authentic accounts and opinions of children and youth on how they experience and perceive ongoing wars are the starting point of this project. These personal perspectives are to be supplemented with background information and adapted for didactic use in class. Building on this material, learning arrangements are developed to not only help children and youth better grasp the causes of war and peace, but also enable teachers to deal with current wars in a way that is sensitive and pupil-oriented.

Aims & Outcomes

Research shows that children and youth understand and remember factual information significantly better when it addresses concrete situations and the everyday lives of people. Consequently, teachers need vivid learning materials which promote the development of individual perspectives and active deliberations on war reporting as along with personal direct or indirect experiences. For this purpose, the project “Current Wars in Class” takes interviews with students who have experienced war first hand as its point of departure. The project develops learning arrangements which enable school teachers to address the topic in a sensitive and student-oriented way.

The results will be published in print and online on the website for children www.frieden-fragen.de (in German).

Partners

Project partners are the NGO “Brot für die Welt” as well as the educational institution EPIZ in Reutlingen. Schools from Baden-Württemberg are also involved as partners in the project.

Funders

The project is funded by the Stiftung Entwicklungszusammenarbeit Baden-Württemberg with funds provided by the State of Baden-Württemberg.

May 2014 - Expert Meeting

An expert meeting took place with 6 individuals who are particularly experienced in school education and global learning (e.g. Brot für die Welt, EPIZ). Purpose of the meeting was to analyse the concrete requirements teachers have regarding the envisaged teaching materials, and to establish an advisory group.

  • Verena Brenner: Krieg und Flucht im Unterricht. 2014. Tübingen. Educational & Multimedia. Hardcopy >