The Joint History Project (JHP) seminar series of 2011 started in Western Serbia with a workshop in Uzice (Zlatibor). 28 teachers from Uzice and 11 surrounding municipalities gathered to discuss attitudes towards history teaching and current methodology. During the workshop the last copies of the 2nd edition (2010) of the JHP workbooks were distributed which closes the rapid dissemination of 1500 copies within 7 months. More copies will be produced in 2011 as a response to the accelerating demand in Serbian schools.
In Zlatibor amongst other discussions participants also argued about the readiness of each of the participating countries to address and face the past from a multi-perspective way, and to which extend responsibility for crimes is admitted in public. The seminar thus reconfirmed the lack of trust that is still prevailing and at the same time validated the need for more regional teacher training activities were cross border exchange of perspectives and views takes place not only theoretical, but also on a people to people basis.
The workshop was headed by the historian and president of the Association for Social History Dr. Goran Miloradovic and the sessions are moderated by history teachers for their peers. The teachers, who acted as trainers beforehand received an intensive training by the CDRSEE in modern methodologies and use of multi-perspective materials.
The seminars reinforce the aims of the project mainly by giving practical guidance for steering history teaching away from simply memorising dates and facts, but instead offering students the possibility to participate, research and argue their views. Original historical sources in the JHP work books serve as the basis for the methodology and they are structured around four prominent topics “Ottoman Empire, Nation and States, The Balkan Wars and World War II”; the sources provide first hand unbiased material for teachers to spark discussions and inspiration in class rooms. In the seminar, teachers team up in four groups and prepare a total of 16 model lessons which are then presented and discussed with all participants.