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ERIC Number: EJ815219
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 28
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 57
ISSN: ISSN-0010-4086
Teaching History after Identity-Based Conflicts: The Rwanda Experience
Freedman, Sarah Warshauer; Weinstein, Harvey M.; Murphy, Karen; Longman, Timothy
Comparative Education Review, v52 n4 p663-690 Nov 2008
In response to the educational challenges countries face after violent conflict, the authors explored the links between larger political processes and decisions about teaching history. The authors focus on secondary schools in Rwanda, where they have been working on educational issues since 2001, and ask the questions: How can material for a history curriculum be developed to avoid propaganda? What tensions surface when teachers negotiate an increasingly repressive political climate? What opportunities can encourage and support democratic teaching and debate about multiple perspectives? Their data come from a case study of an intervention project on teaching history in Rwanda. Their research in Rwanda revealed two tensions related to the influence of ongoing political processes: first, the government's political goal of teaching history to promote a unified Rwandan identity while also emphasizing an understanding of historical evidence and thinking; second, the teaching of history to shape this new national identity while also incorporating the social realities of continuing ethnic identities in productive and nondivisive ways. These tensions were heightened by the government's educational policy, which stipulated that only its official historical narrative should be transmitted. This insistence on having only one official narrative conflicts with another official goal for education reform in Rwanda--to embrace so-called modern, democratic teaching methods that foster skills thought to be essential for successful participation in an increasingly global economy, such as critical thinking and debate. In a postgenocidal context that continues to be marked by repression, the authors found, through their research, that educators may inhibit disagreements--including potentially productive ones--for fear of their erupting into larger and more destructive conflicts. The authors argue that suppressing open debate might actually lay the foundation for further societal violence. (Contains 12 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Rwanda