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To that end, the author examined 20 history textbooks and distinguished seven most prominent innovations. Keywords: history, textbook, innovation, teaching, Lithuania, school. Po m. Texbook: Research and Writing. During the period — the eastern part of Lithuania with its capital Vilnius was a part of Poland. Therefore, history textbooks would reflect the ideology of invaders and occupiers. Under the Soviets, all history textbooks were written in Russian and published in Moscow.
Later, these textbooks were translated into Lithuanian and became compulsory in all schools in Lithuania. In attempts were made to publish history textbooks in Lithuania; however, owing to Russification and Sovietisation, these textbooks were saturated with communist and Russian interpretations. After Lithuania regained its independence from the Soviet Union, the content and curriculum of Lithuanian textbooks was updated leading to the publication of better textbooks.
About two decades ago textbooks rapidly absorbed new ideas and features in their layouts and contents. Two factors were prominent: the ability to examine the available Western European textbooks and the free publishing market. With the arrival of independence, new opportunities for collaboration with Western countries emerged. At that time several seminars were held where education specialists and textbook authors from Sweden, Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany introduced Lithuanian historians to the established methods, techniques, and trends in creating effective teaching materials.
In , , several historians and textbook authors attended the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research in Brunswick Germany. In the institute organised seminars and workshops for history textbook authors where tutors from the UK and Germany specialising in the creation of educational material gave lectures and seminars to share their best practices. This co-operation provided Lithuanian specialists with new insights into creating the most effective educational materials, including textbooks.
As stated earlier, from the free market encouraged advances in textbook writing. Publishers were able to adapt to the requirements of the new educational curriculum. Competition stimulated more interest as more historians and teachers were involved in the process of textbook writing. Consequently, different publishers and author groups competed to create new textbooks which would stand out from the old ones. Currently, there is a large variety of new history textbooks available in Lithuania.
Over the last two decades researchers have produced very few academic publications, which focused on history textbooks. There were also several attempts to define the ideal model of a history textbook. One of the studies analysed the first series of history textbooks for grades seven through ten published in — In addition3, concluded that there was too much political history dominated by wars and suggested placing a greater emphasis on the periods of peace and the daily lives of people.
His publication Ideal History Textbook: between Reality and Endeavour outlined the guidelines for textbook authors. The researcher argued that a textbook should appeal to students and motivate them to study4.
He suggested the use of more colourful visuals, various critical thinking assignments, such as distinguishing between a fact and a historical interpretation, and literature, which would relate to students. Other studies emphasised the necessity to reduce the amount of facts presented in textbooks, such as dates, names, and places. Researchers suggested more appealing and simpler texts, including differing interpretations and greater selectivity in the choice of history sources for textbooks.
The shortcoming of overwhelming the student with too many sources and related assignments soon became apparent. Therefore, authors were recommended to include more effective ways for students to acquire new skills and information by giving assignments which would be more understandable.
Authors were also advised to reduce redundancies in textbooks5. Critics complained about the lack of primary and reliable sources; some sources were not compatible with the topic; not all sources had the authors listed; sometimes, the questions were too vague and did not match the content; moreover, some questions were confusing and students did not understand what the issue was6.
The prominent Lithuanian politician and member of the European Parliament Vytautas Landsbergis7 criticised some history textbooks for being overloaded with old Soviet interpretations. There are five publishing houses in Lithuania which publish history textbooks. Recently, they have attempted to include new methods with the aim of creating appealing history textbooks for students and teachers. The primary objective of this study is to analyse the advances and innovations in Lithuanian history textbooks.
In order to achieve this objective, secondary objectives were devised. Mokykla, , Nr. Istorija, , t. Istorija ir sovietinis propagandinis balastas. Vilnius: VPU leidykla, , p.
Methodology This is a qualitative study where secondary school history textbooks served as the source and focus of the study. In the first stage 50 textbooks published in Lithuania during the period — were chosen for the analysis.
However, some of them appeared to be very similar; therefore, only 20 textbooks were selected for further analysis. In the second stage of the research the author focused on the remaining 20 textbooks. History is taught in secondary schools from grades five to twelve in Lithuania. There are three concentric patterns. The first includes grades five and six grade five — Introduction to the History of Lithuania; grade six — Introduction to World History.
Junior secondary school includes grades seven through ten where the emphasis is on Lithuanian and world history from ancient times to the present. The third stage of the concentric pattern includes grades eleven and twelve, which concentrate on the review of history from ancient times to the present days. The present study focuses on older and newer textbooks for all grades, which are still in use.
Several criteria were used in the textbook selection process. The other two publishing houses, Tyto alba and ELN, have published only one or two textbooks; however, as these textbooks feature considerable differences in their content, style and layout, they were also chosen for further analysis. A summary of the textbooks analysed in the study is provided in Table 1 by their publishing house and the grade they are intended for.
Table 1. Until the major innovations and changes occurred within history teaching content, which included new topics and themes, new previously neglected facts and evaluations. However, no major changes occurred within textbook layout. Starting from major changes took place in history textbook content from the perspective of didactics: new and colourful illustrations, extracts from primary sources and various assignments for students were used more frequently.
Thus, textbooks excluding one published after were chosen for the study. A summary of the history textbooks analysed in the study by publishing year is presented in Table 2. Table 2. In the final stage the identified innovations were summarised and characterised. Only the most prominent innovations, which affected the history teaching and learning process, were presented. The Oxford Dictionary defines the word innovation as a new method, idea or product.
Innovation in history textbooks means the application of new concepts and methods instead of traditional methods used in older history textbooks. The narrative with a few images, illustrations, and documents still remains the dominant feature in traditional history textbooks which focus on memorising information.
Traditional textbooks are based on the old paradigm of teaching, while the innovative textbooks represent the new paradigm in teaching. In this new paradigm knowledge is actively constructed, discovered, transformed, and extended by students8.
Results The analysis of Lithuanian history textbooks was followed by the identification of the most frequently used innovations. These innovations and techniques are briefly presented and discussed below. Cooperation in the classroom. Boston: Allyn 8 and Bacon, The author would include a few questions and assignments at the end of the chapter. This tendency changed dramatically when the publishing house Briedis published World History for the sixth grade9.
Lithuanian and world history is integrated in these textbooks. Before the series appeared, separate textbooks were used to present the history of Lithuania and the world. The tradition of separating the history of Lithuania from the rest of the world was popular in the independent Lithuania of —, as well as in Soviet Lithuania during the period — However, the integration of world and Lithuanian history received some criticism owing to too much focus on world history at the expense of Lithuania The new series of four textbooks includes a variety of historical sources.
Based on French and western models, an attempt was made to use various sources for each topic, including documents, diagrams, maps, and photographs. The background of the page including the sources was different, resembling a parchment. The innovation was various assignments relating to every source thanks to which teachers were able to use these assignments and save time instead of creating their own.
In two new history textbooks were published: Lithuania and the World for the eleventh15 and twelfth16 grade. Approximately ten historical sources were used for analysis in the case of every topic. Vilnius: Briedis, Vilnius: Kronta, These textbooks include as many as fifteen to twenty different primary and secondary sources together with assignments and questions. The newer generation of textbooks did not gain popularity.
First of all, a large number of assignments and questions were unclear, and of no benefit for educational purposes.
DISCOURSES AND DEPICTIONS OF HOLOCAUST EDUCATION IN LITHUANIAN HISTORY TEXTBOOKS (1992-2012)
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