Elementary School: „Sečenji Ištvan“ Subotica
Class topic: Napoleon’s era – invasion on Russia in 1812, Napoleon’s fall.
Teacher: Rudolf Weiss
Multiperspectivity methods were used during this history class.
The following multiperspectivity methods were used:
A) – with women, children and mothers of French soldiers who took part in the invasion to Russia in 1812.
B) – with Russian wives, mothers and children
C) – with ordinary French soldiers
D) – with ordinary Russian soldiers
After the introductory part containing teacher presentation, documentary materials, photos, the teacher offered the roles according to the empathy list above and asked the students to put themselves in those roles (shoes) and to imagine that they are writing letters to their beloved ones or to the family members from the battlefield. After their individual work they read their „letters“ to their classmates, who raised different questions, needed clarifications and engaged in a debate ( why.. questions)
There are multiple teaching ways to be used in the elementary education level classroom. One of the popular way is to have students (in hot chair) to research a character or a topic and then have his classmates ask as many questions as possible while he/she is in the hot seat. However, students can also work in groups to research a topic or a character, then take turns being in the “Hot seat.” This requires a similar level of knowledge of the topic (or a historic character). All of the students have read the same book for this activity. The Hot Seat teaching strategy is proven effective, interactive method to be used in the classroom. Students can improve communication skills (especially the one in the hot chair), but they will also learn how to ask thoughtful questions and give high-quality answers.
Teacher’s introductory presentation of the ‚burnt land tactics or scorched earth policy‘ – for example of the Russian army defence, could be presented and learned effectively through the method of „hot chair“ in history teaching. A student who has dealt with this topic additionaly because he/she is more interested in military history has volunteered to be the one in the „hot chair“ to answer the questions of other students and justifies the use of „burnt land“ tactics. He was in the shoes of army general and defended his tactics with arguments in response to the classmates‘ questions.
ANALYSIS OF MORE SOURCES IN INTERPRETATION OF ONE SINGLE EVENT
Students have found on the Internet, on the school computer in the classrom, three versions of Napoleon’s death: versions from French, English and Italian sources. Three students read the versions from the Internet. The students paid special attention to the parts substantiating the evidence in support to certain interpretations.
Students were the jury at the „historic court“. After presenting all three versions of Napoleon’s death and after analyzing the enclosed evidence in the read texts, they voted as a jury in the court, what was the cause of Napoleon’s death. It is interesting that they supported the French verion of the cause of his death with the most votes.
Given that the duration of the class lasts for 45 minutes, it was not possible to implement more than 4 methods of multiperspectivity on this class. What was pleasing to hear at the end of the day was the question of the students: „When will we do a lesson like this again?“. The practice in our school showed that students are very fond of applying multiperspectivity because they are also asked for their opinions and are encouraged to come to their own conclusions.
Prepared by Rudolf Weiss, history teacher