AERA: Assimilating Experiencing Reproducing Analysing BASE
Developing a personal view on what war is like, and its consequences. The starting point of social training. Getting aware of the kind of consequences the First World War had on our society and our way of thinking.
Acquiring on the spot personal experience, e.g. on restored sites. Stepping stones to deal with the acquired experience.
Memorising and interpreting the acquired information in a personal way. How not to waste the acquired knowledge immediately. Reporting on the First World War through stories and perception.
Relating the several aspects of war. Getting to know about the complexity of war. Interpreting the influence war has on humans and nature. Relating the role of different factors such as weather and terrain, to battles, constructions and burial places.
The educational service of the Memorial Museum Passendale 1917 doesn't differentiate much between the final grades of primary schools and the first grades of secondary schools. The main reason for this is that a lot depends on different teaching standards and foreknowledge in relation to the First World war. We do however mention the level of difficulty of the questions in the workbooks. The package (for the time being) includes four units:
°didactic guidelines: to be used by the teacher in the classroom as background information for a (series of ) lesson(s) about the First World War, with papers for the pupils.
°museum guide: an aid to a visit to the museum, possibly also as preparation to the visit, with papers for the pupils
°modules: a choice from the offer, with papers for pupils
°educational box: box to be hired with tangible objects, especially for lower grades
Our primary document about the First World War in education, is a didactic guide aimed at teachers in the first place. In this document we try to disentangle the complexity of war into comprehensible units. These items can also be the starting point for a gripping class in which one specific subject can be worked out. Added to the guide are a few exercises for pupils by means of which the acquired information can be further worked out in an active way. A number of papers not only fit in history classes, but also in language classes, art education, biology and technology. It's an ideal package offer to deal with the First World War. Obviously the teacher is each time provided with keys to the questions and exercises.
The guide can be obtained in the museum at the price of 5 euros. To understand or use this guide, no foreknowledge is needed.
However, somebody with some background knowledge will still find new approaches and information about the First World War. This guide goes with both the final grades of primary school and the first grades of secondary school. It's up to the teacher to make a selection of the information presented.
Museum Guide (+papers)
In the Memorial Museum Passendale 1917, a lot of information about the First World War in general and about the Battle of Passendale in particular is available. In the first part of the museum a chronological outline is presented by means of original relics and vivid tableaux supported by conveniently arranged display boards, maps and audiovisual material. In the second part the visitor is catapulted back into the past. He ends up in a trench and a dug-out in which with tableaux and realistic sounds, a genuine situation is created six metres below the hell of Passendale. This is a unique experience. The museum guide helps the teacher through the museum, room after room. In this way he/she can add a personal emphasis during the visit. The papers are drawn up for each room, mentioning each time the level of difficulty.
The guidebook is added free to the museum booking. A visit before is highly recommended, so as to be able to prepare the excursion in the best possible way. Teachers prospecting get free admission to the museum. Pupils pay 3 euros each for their visit. Teachers and companions get in free.
Modules (+ papers)
After the introduction into history at the museum, you can explore the area. There, thousands of graves bear witness of the appalling consequences of war. Remnants of constructions such as bunkers and trenches allow genuine experience. They offer a good idea of the reality of war. The brief modules with guidelines, papers and keys provide the necessary support to explore the sites in the best circumstances. Here too room for personal emphasis is possible, because the teachers can choose from the modules available and put together their own package. These modules are conceived as teaching dialogues. Also questions are added which pupils should be able to answer afterwards.
If you book a visit to particular sites in combination with a visit to the museum, you get the additional modules and questions free. Visiting most sites is free but for Bayernwald and the underground bunker Cryer Farm (each 1 euro pp). Cryer farm is only accessible with a museum guide because it is privately owned. A previous visit by the teacher is also recommended.
The latest initiative is an educational box containing tangible objects. In this way pupils can experience for themselves how much some objects weigh, how they smell and feel. Each object is the starting point to deal with a particular aspect of war. For the lower grades there's a game-of-goose set in the box and a history story leading to a listening period in the classroom. It's about a child in a war zone, a story that appeals a lot to a pupil's world. Finally there's a media CD with a brief documentary and a few songs from the war. The music illustrates the emotional state of a soldier better than words could do. The contents of the box can be used to plan a self-made exhibition, a theme week or a school project.
The use of this box only costs 7.5 euros a week. A deposit of 200 euros however will be required, to be paid back at the handing in of the box. We advise to book this box in time.
If you visit the museum for the first time or want expert support, you can always use the services of trained guides of the Memorial Museum Passendale 1917. Generally speaking, these are (ex) teachers or educators with a thorough knowledge of the First World War.
A guide to the Memoriam Museum costs 20 euros per hour, with a maximum charge of 80 euros for half a day, and 120 euros for a full day. For a coach with 50 pupils one guide is sufficient. For a museum visit the party will be split up for practical reasons and a second guide is required with a supplement for one hour.
The total charge will then amount to 120 + 20 = 140 euros.
Still to come in 2006
- further development of the modules on offer. Ypres: its square and the Menin Gate, Messines: crypt and peace tower, Talbot House, 's Graventafel, Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke church and crypt.
- the opening of an educational space. This will be open to groups by the end of April in an annex of the château. A brief film showing about the First World War and the battle of Passendale in particular can be watched. Pupils can also try on a Belgian, German or British uniform to live a situation of a soldier in 1917.
- developing a media centre about the First World War where music, documentaries and films are available for consultation.
- opening a specialised documentation centre about the battle of Passendale with reference works, regimental records, and thousands of personal files.
- 'Battle of Passendale 90 years' – 2007 will be a special year of remembrance with some 40 events planned on different locations. This is an excellent opportunity to fit in a class trip and to experience one single activity. From September 2006 on, a special programme will be available.
- 'The Road to Passendale': an experience-orientated theme walk from the Memorial Museum up to the newly opened visitor's centre at Tyne Cot Cemetery. In between lies the historical battlefield of 4 October 1917. From 2007 on it will be possible to walk again one day out of the battle in historical uniform and with marching kit. For schools a special one day package along this track is worked out with trenches, bunkers etc. Pupils get to know about the role of the terrain, and of course, for lunch authentic soldier's food is served.
- 'Living History': in the same way 'living history' will be further worked out for the instruction of both youngsters and adults. At fixed periods there are evocations at Zonnebeke during which specialised groups re-enact history including encampments, field kitchen, drill, dressing station, and demonstrations. The special thing about 'living history' is that as a visitor you can experience what is shown 'in real time'. You can make your own choice, walking into history as if it were. The experience of 'living history' can never be matched by traditional techniques or multimedia. Inquire each time with us about the oncoming events. Top of the bill is the yearly museum weekend at the end of April at Zonnebeke, attended by thousands of persons interested.
On .... April 2007, a special teachers' day is planned in order to inform about new elements in our educational offer. Make note of this date already, because the number of participants will be limited again.
For further information:
Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917
051 77 04 41
051 78 07 50 (fax)