EXPERIENCE OF STATE SOCIALISM REIMAGINED (ESSR)
Purpose of the project
The project 'Experience of State Socialism Reimagined (ESSR)' that was funded by The Erasmus +aims to develop and put on a test some teaching techniques and materials. These materials try to present the specifics of communism, that are unique to each country, where the project partners operate - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
In the project we partner with the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes in Prague, Czech Republic;
The Haggadah Association in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Centre for Education and Innovations from Kosice, Slovakia; Group on Innovative Teaching Methods from Prague, Czech Republic. As part of the project, each partner prepares a lesson plan, that should be tested by different schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic in the summer of 2019. students participating in the lesson testing have the opportunity to take part in a summer school on 'State socialism beyond texbooks' in Prague. More information about the project can be found on the project blog website.
Each partner has developed a lesson plan that can be taught within one or two lessons. All of which were later tested in different high schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
'The Revival Process' – the lesson plan from Bulgarian side
The topic of the lesson that we have developed within the project is called "The Revival Process in Bulgaria". We present it through photos and memories of people who were affected by the process. The purpose is to give the students the chance to discuss the sources of information and try to individually form and understand the main purpose and message of the lesson. The whole lesson content is available in Bulgarian and English.
Lessons on Communism in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia and the Czech Republic
Our partners' lessons are also to be found on the project website. They are available in English only:
- 'The election experience during Czechoslovak state socialism' - developed by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes in Prague, Czech Republic;
- 'Ideology and society' - developed by the Centre for Education and Innovations in Kosice, Slovakia;
- 'Relationship between religion and state. The Jews in Bosnia and Herzegovina' - Developed by the Haggadah Association in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina;
Lesson testings in schools
Each one of the lessons, prepared by the partners was delivered by teachers in different schools in Bulgaria. After that the teachers provided their valuable feedback. We are grateful to the Friedrich Schiller Secondary School for Teaching German, Rousse, Bulgaria; Profiled High School of Mathematics "Dobri Chintulov", Sliven, Bulgaria; Professional High School of Tourism "Prof. Dr. Assen Zlatarov", Plovdiv, Bulgaria; Uwekind International School, Sofia, Bulgaria.
'State socialism beyond textbooks' Summer School - Prague, 19 - 23/08/2019
Summer school 'State socialism beyond textbooks' brought together students from Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, as well as representatives of partner organizations, in Prague. During the summer school, the youth discussed how communism was presented in schools currently and how important it is for them to study and remember this period of history. Before the event each participant was tasked to bring one item that they personally relate to the period of communism. Among these items there were communist medals, old banknotes, pictures of panel blocks, an old shirt that belonged to the Czechoslovakian national team at the time, and many other interesting findings.
At the summer school, we discussed communism from four different perspectives - memories, personal histories, ideology and repression. The students were tasked with writing a short text for the project blog that had to be inspired by the lessons learned in Prague. They also had to address the four different perspectives we discussed.
The first text that was published on the project website describes the largest Stalin monument in the world, tauntingly called the "meat queue" by the citizens of Prague. The monument is destroyed and doesn’t exist anymore. Its site on the other hand offers great views of Prague and thanks to that today it has become a popular meeting place for the youth.
The text is inspired by the family history of one of the participants in the summer school - Gabriela. The subject she associates with communism was a headscarf that symbolized the repression of the Bulgarian Turks during the “Revival process” and recounted the bitter memories of her mother from that period.
The third blogpost of the series presents how four of the participants of the Summer School think about the life during communism and how they perceive it from their current point of view
The fourth text presents a short story inspired by the story of a Czechoslovak girl who during communism wrote the text "Russians, go home!" on the facade of a panel residential building.