Post-factEUal. Transforming Europe from the 1930s to the Present
From September 2018 to August 2021, five European Schools collaborated in the Erasmus Plus Project – “Post-factEUal” – which was sponsored by the European Union and coordinated by the Goetheschule Essen.
Goetheschule Essen, Essen, Germany
This multinational project aimed at helping students from 14 to 18 to become critical thinkers in an era where the presence of fake news is worryingly rising. The goal is that such critical thinkers can then eventually build a Europe that is founded on mutual respect, understanding, tolerance and freedom of thought.
Europe has recently seen a rise of populist and nationalistic feelings together with an increase of fake news on the traditional as well as the social media. If we look at History in the 1930s, one can argue that there are some striking similarities in terms of mass manipulation, populist rhetoric, and misplaced patriotism. Against this background, it is paramount to have a conversation with young students regarding the extent to which we can learn from the 1930s in order to differentiate between fact and post-factualism while navigating the current realm of politics and of the media.
In light of this, this Erasmus Plus Project has been designed for secondary students from Germany, Denmark, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Italy with the overall aim of supporting their development of critical thinking as well as of intercultural awareness. The designed learning activities ranged from creative writing, exhibitions, acting, case studies, cartooning, and debating.
The project ran from 2018 to 2021 and consisted of four student modules and a final module aimed at teachers:
Module 1: The Power of Memory - a focus on cultural heritage, collective memories, and historical legacies;
Module 2: The Power of Data - its reliability and possible manipulation;
Module 3: The Power of Literature - its potential anti-totalitarian function;
Module 4: The Power of Propaganda - its role within nationalism and the nature of political criticism;
Module 5: The Power of Digital Media - a series of teacher training workshops on the role of digitalisation in the production and acquisition of knowledge.
The reflections and outcomes of this project are for all current and future teachers who are interested in the power of international collaboration geared towards supporting a Europe whose values are mutual respect and tolerance, intellectual honesty, and freedom of expression.
Special thanks to RISS’ former Erasmus+ Coordinator, Carolyn McNanie, for designing and implementing RISS’ Module on The Power of Data.
If you would like to know the final product of this project in the form of a free Ebook or if you have any questions about the Erasmus+ programme, please do not hesitate to contact Marco Dessi.