High School History Classes to Become More Interactive Due to a New Cinema Education Program – TEHC

Teaching European History through Cinema (TEHC) represents a new educational program which will be implemented in 4 European countries – Italy, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovenia – this year. The project aims at increasing the popularity of European film among high school students and at the same time at bringing a considerable contribution to improving the quality of history classes and deepening the understanding of important historical events for Europe, through cinema.

This is the first film education project that focuses on a particular subject from the school curriculum (history) and proposes the use of fiction to deepen it, alongside cultivating cinema education. Another distinguishing element of TEHC is the pedagogical approach used: the project is not based only on the transmission of information, but also on the development of the practical skills necessary on the long-term for students, skills that will enable them to grow into active and informed citizens.

A comprehensive catalogue of European films focusing on Europe’s history – revolutions, wars, migration, social movements, important figures, cultural trends etc. will be developed within the program. The catalogue will include both recent productions and heritage films.

The new cinema education program, which will be accessible to high school students from each of the 4 countries, focuses a lot on practical activities. Thus, movies will be teaching tools not only just to exemplify certain historical moments, but they will be also a starting point for creating other audio-visual materials: video-essays. The creation of new materials by adapting and using the existing ones is, in fact, a representative practice of the current digital society, one in which the line between consumers and cultural producers is becoming increasingly blurred. By producing video-essays, both students and teachers will become familiar with all the components of audio-visual language (image, sound, editing, graphics etc.) and will be part of the new generation of viewers.

In the spring of 2018, an online contest will be launched to challenge students from all the 5 participating countries to make a video-essay. Audio-visual materials created by them will be uploaded to an online platform where they will be voted. At the end of the program, on the basis of the votes and jury evaluation, a finalist video-essay from each state will be chosen, and then the big winner. More details about the contest and prizes will be announced early next year.

The main objectives of TEHC are to reach, in each of the countries involved, at least two high school classes, of about 20 high schools, involving 40 teachers and 1,000 students in the process.

Each country will hold 4 screenings for students and the films will be projected in their original version with subtitles. The screenings will take place in cinemas in order to make the cinematographic experience as authentic as possible. According to the latest studies, in Europe, about 55% of students see movies in the classroom, but only 18% of them go to the cinema.

Besides the video-essays generated as a result of this program, a film catalogue, including recommendations from each partner-country, will be made available for use and download.