Category Archives: 11.11.2014

Schedule 11.11.2014

A: Working in small groups: Developing pedagogical concepts for the year 2100 in which there won´t be any contemporary witnesses any more.

B: presentation of the results of the small-groups

C: House of democracy and human-rights: Input and visit – oppositions in the GDR

D: Input & presentation of members of “church from below” about their organisation and their experiences/role during the protestsin the GDR 1989 and their invisibility in the common discourses after the reunification

Group results – Pedagogical concepts for the year 2100

While working on pedagogical methods for the year 2100, our group’s first issue was what kind of topic to chose in history and from what perspective to approach it? Should we speak about a long term reality such as the Berlin wall, should we pick a specific moment in time such as spring 1968 or some other iconic event? And also, should we conceive the class as a history lesson (and then, how do you go about it with objectivity?) or a class where we “teach” a value?

We decided on choosing the construction of the Berlin wall in August 1961 and treating it as an even relevant for building (material and non-material) borders. The intention behind building the wall, defining two separate German states, was made reality with deciding on a more or less arbitrary location. On the one hand, we also though about the fact that physical division preceded the mental one, but, as a later visit to “West: Berlin. Eine Insel auf der Suche nach Festland” showed (for example, in the creation of separate currency for West Germany in 1948), mental divisions had already been created.

Our lesson for the year 2100 targeted adults that work as public servants, so that the lesson bears reminding of the fact that from their position, they can either reinforce the laws and customs without giving any thought to how just or oppressive they are, or they can keep a critical eye on their daily routines and question, if necessary, the authority.

The lesson would, on the one hand, be a multimedia immersion. Footage of personal experiences of people with similar position to theirs who had experienced the building of the wall, accounts on the same event from two opposite positions (Eastern and Western), in order to see differences in ideology and propaganda (e.g. in newspapers) and many more would all offer comprehensive accounts on multiple aspects of the historical event. Personal stories, the official discourse, counter-stories, experiences of minority groups would be experienced by the participants in an individual manner, for as long as they need or desire. On the other hand, our lesson wanted to offer a collective experience, that would move and irritate the participants.

Two trainers would moderate the sessions. At one moment during discussions, they would separate the room using a string that would allow participants to see everything, yet feel a separation. The two trainers would simultaneously show the same images in a synchronized presentation, yet their explanations would be different. The narration on the events or realities shown would represent the two ideologies, politics and interests (Eastern and Western). The participants from the “Eastern” side will be denied access to coffee and refreshments and will be refused breaks for a solid 2-3 hours. Any act of disobedience will be condemned and “punished”. The activity will be followed by the acknowledgement of the fact that it was a simulation, that the trainers played well rehearsed roles and that such feelings of confusion and injustice were common and fueled by the state.

Many points in methodology were also raised during the Q&A session ofter the groups’ presentation, concerning how (much) should trainers use emotions, feelings, how to respect personal boundaries while also making an impact on participants, how to make the content (a past event) relevant for the present etc.

The Present is the Past of the Future

I liked the idea of creating pedagogical material for the year 2100. Although I would not have phrased the title like that – because in our small group, it fuelled discussion about what 2100 will be like, and how we would have to attune our pedagodical concept to the reality of this time. In order to prevent these sci-fi-discussions, perhaps going even further and creating pedagogical material for aliens might make sense?

Anyway, it was a good exercise to try and step out of our everyday patterns of thinking and extrapolate from concrete historical events broader significance for future generations. I also had the thought that, in times of audio- and video recordings, a lack of contemporary witnesses is not such a big problem anymore. Instead, I think being able to find relevant information in the massive amounts provided will be the real challenge.

Coming back to the task, it nicely demonstrated which questions are relevant when creating such material: Who is adressed? What is to be told? How do we create such material without simply reproducing dominant discourse(s)?

I appreciated the field trips later that afternoon. House of Democracy and Human Rights is now a well-established institution, situated in a representative building close to Alexanderplatz (the centre of former East-Berlin, and a hub of the unified city). Church from Below is basically a punk youth club, ties to the 1980s East-German opposition and, indeed, the church, being represented mostly by individuals and certain practices (decision-making by consensus, youth self organization, lived solidarity on an everyday level…).

They stand for choices oppositional movements must make, when faced with changing political realities: seize the opportunity to grow as an institution and civil society player, which comes with with the potential for broader political and social impact, but also the need for compromise. Or continue work on the grassroots level, with very little attention, but the independence to follow individual convictions?

It was great to visit both, as already the locations spoke volumes about their respective discoursive power. Preparation, in my opinion, would have been useful, to have more background upon which the monologue in House of Democracy could have been turned into a dialogue.


Bonus-points for having a fixed spot for an interims-evaluation! I think most people were glad there was the opportunity to get some things off their chest and have some time to talk about basics.

The 5. day

We were divided in small groups,as usual and I appreciate it a lot.The topic in our group was “propaganda”.Unfortunatelly,I can’t say that was really involved in the discussion-for some reason I fell myself uncomfortable.Anyway discussion was interesting,we had mostly the same points of viewes.We were talking about target group in age between 16-20 years old and how to teach those young people.
The obvious thing for all of us was that propaganda like phenomenon will never disappear.It will alvays exist,but in different ways.
After that we were going to two different places,which were interesting in other way.
The first one was the home of democracy and for me it was something new,because I have never faced with those organizations before.
The second place I love more,anyway.
For me it was a small excursion to other time ,what was unexpectable.I like his maner of speeking.For me it was great,thathis spoke in mother-tongue.I didn’t understand,but I fell his emotions,which is very important for understanding person’s relation.For me it was all in all great:atmosphere,place and the man,which talked with us

Two thousand one hundred and…


Something will happen in the future. That’s for sure. We won’t get to see what, we can only pretend to imagine a scenario or two or three or…

It was a good imagination exercise, where each had the chance to express what he dreams about.

The small group in which I was assigned came to a common agreement that technology will shape the minds of those who want to learn about the past. And the history is written by the winners, as we all well know. But what if there will be more versions to pick from? Each will tell a similar, but different story. Unless someone will hack the system and will let only one version exist. And then, what will the history look like?

Wouldn’t it be fun to see that it was forged, as it is today on so many events that took place?