Family stories and global (hi)stories

Teaching History article

By Maria Vlachaki and Georgia Kouseri, published 27th March 2020

Exploring the past through family history

Teaching in Greece, a country with extensive recent experience of immigration, Maria Vlachaki and Georgia Kouseri were interested to examine how they might use family history as a means of exploring the historical dimensions of this potentially sensitive topic. They hoped that encouraging pupils to explore their relatives’ stories would prove an effective means of informing them about the movements of peoples – many seeking refuge in times of crisis – that had shaped their own families as well as their localities. But they also wondered whether their pupils could effectively integrate insights from oral sources with those gained from archival materials and textbook accounts, creating more collective and democratic histories, as well as developing genuinely historical thinking.

In this article they explain how they worked together (across different schools) to develop, refine and evaluate their teaching, richly demonstrating its impact on pupils’ understanding of the complexity and multiplicity of the past.

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