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Regards crois‚s sur la premi‡re guerre mondiale

Why and how should the First World War be dealt with in secondary education inEuropean countries?Our project, based on a partnership between universities, training institutes, Europeanteachers' associations and secondary schools, emerged from a series of observations.History teaching plays an important role in the system of representation of peoples;particularly the way in which men and women see themselves with regard to their ownnation and in their relationship to other nations. It is therefore important for Europeancohesion.Studying the First World War in terms of the events it involved, its immediate aftermathand its long-term legacy, is essential to be able to understand its influence on the historyand construction of Europe, and indeed its effects on our modern world. This conflict isa good example of an event that has been treated for a long time from a national ornationalist standpoint. We intend to take this event that is so important for the historyand formation of Europe and subject it to a methodology involving “crossed viewpoints”,as a way of overcoming the narrow approach of national considerations, to propose aEuropean reading of this part of our common history and to feed the contribution ofrecent research trends towards multiple and compared approaches to history into theteaching of this conflict.The project aims not to indulge in a theoretical reflection on the subject andmethodology, but to confront and compare the experiences, practices and concepts ofthe various participants in order to build teaching tools and an initial and continuoustraining module for teachers.The subject matter Ä the First World War Ä should also serve as a starting point to helpacquire sustainable and transposable skills. The project should provide teachers withtools and methods for applying these “crossed viewpoints” to other aspects of Europeanhistory. Moving outside the purely national dimension and participating in theconstruction of a genuine European identity, exchanging and sharing experiences,comparing ways of seeing and doing things, cannot help but enrich the considerationsand practices of history teachers, who are helping to form future European citizens, andtheir students, the citizens of tomorrow.
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