Two new volumes of our Joint History Project are shaping up. Teachers from across Southeast Europe, as well as representatives from six Ministries of Education, have briefly reviewed the first drafts, and the first reactions are promising—they give us hope that the books will become an indispensable part, even a milestone, in history education. Not that everyone is happy with the content, as there is no perfect history text, but everyone recognises the quality in the methodology and the impact the books can have on the education of our young generation.
It is not enough for us to produce the books, if they only remain on our shelves as good examples of how history could be taught in the classrooms. That’s why the support we have from the Ministries of Education, their recommendation for using the books, is of crucial importance -- this is what makes the books come alive, and this is what they should be. If our books make even a small impact toward better understanding, so-called critical thinking and awareness that everything is not only about us, then the effort of the team of historians and the CDRSEE has paid off.
None of us is happy with current education systems. We would all like to improve them. It requires not only the knowledge, but the courage -- a step out of the comfort zone where we are all happy with ourselves, and unhappy with others, where it is always someone’s else’s fault and never ours. In our books, you can find different sources for the same event—you can find another point of view. I see no better way to motivate students to think, to motivate them to explore and think.
Just recently, a journalist asked me, "Isn’t that confusing?" Yes, it is, if the students are not used to anything but one-sided approaches, if they are not interested in anything that is outside of their “backyards”. I think we owe it to our kids to “confuse” them, to wake them up, to motivate them to think, to get them out of the comfort zone and the daily routine. We do not offer them conclusions; we offer them the possibility to make their own conclusions.