School “Not much else has been done in the last three weeks” – high school students now get an iron dose of war, but some textbooks expired in the blink of an eye

“Russian the media occasionally conveys the president Vladimir from Putin images in which he rescues endangered animals or appears emphatically manly. The Russians are contradictory to their leader: he is criticized for being authoritarian, and he has brought much-needed stability to the country. ”

This is explained in the caption in the history book for eighth-graders. The Memo textbook printed by the publishing company Edita in 2019 is in use in many Finnish schools. The stability Putin brings to Russia is now shattering as Russia has continued its invasion of Ukraine for four weeks.

Ukraine war has revolutionized many things in the world. School textbooks, especially those in history and social studies, also became obsolete in some respects in an instant.

“In a situation like this, it’s impossible to get real-time instructional material from previously ordered textbooks. Currently, teachers produce it themselves. In these situations, teaching and handling are based on the high level of education and professionalism of the teachers, ”says the principal principal. Jyrki Huusko Joensuu Normal School, the University of Eastern Finland’s Teacher Training Internship School.

He recalls his time as a teacher of geography in the 1990s, when the Soviet Union had disintegrated, but textbooks still talked about state farms and collective farms, that is, state-owned or state-controlled cooperative farms.

“Or the happy melting pot of the peoples of Yugoslavia was once a piece of text when the war was at its worst in the Balkans. Even then, black lines were drawn and the matter was reviewed on the basis of current self-produced material, ”says Huusko.

Kimmo Kotro, a teacher of history and social studies at Joensuu Normal School, went through the social studies class to go through the things that are required for a dictator to rise to power and stay in it.

Textbook publishers identify the need to update learning materials. This is also done in Edita, says the producer of history and social studies materials Minna Sallanen.

Updates to digital materials are available faster, but according to Sallane, new editions of printed books are taken at the point when old editions run out of stock, unless something really radical happens.

He points out, however, that the challenge in updating history textbooks is that the latest events cannot be analyzed quickly.

“The science of history is such that you have to think really carefully about the end of history [tuoreimmista tapahtumista] can say, ”says Sallanen.

“The world is changing all the time and there are conflicts all over the place. We are used to dealing with them, explaining the causes and consequences in the longer term. ”

Otavan business manager Eeva Lahdenmäki according to which digital learning materials can be updated flexibly during the school year. New editions of books that have already been printed are taken annually, with changes if necessary.

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The authors of the take-up textbook are now writing the teaching material for the EU course in high school social studies, which can already take into account recent changes in world politics.

“We are in such a whirlwind of fundamental change that there is a need to update the learning materials in history and social studies. These are related to, for example, the power relations between the countries, the role of the EU, the balance of power in Europe or Finland’s security policy, ”Lahdenmäki says in his e-mail reply.

Sallanen points out that even if publishers now quickly revamp their textbooks, it does not guarantee that the revamped editions will reach students quickly. Many municipalities recycle the same textbooks for students for years.

History and chairman of social studies teachers, teacher Eero Kitunen does not consider it a serious problem that the information in the textbooks does not keep up with the recent world political situation.

“Skilled teachers know how to handle it without textbooks. What happens in the classrooms is just as essential – perhaps more essential – than what the textbook reads, ”he says.

Kitunen, who teaches at Haukilahti High School in Espoo, states that the occupation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine are mentioned in textbooks printed in the late 2010s. Some books also report Russia feeling threatened by NATO’s strengthening near its borders.

Kitusen already sees this information as a good basis for lessons.

“Textbooks tell about the past, giving students the tools to deal with the present. This is one of the key purposes of teaching history, ”he says.

“The world is changing all the time and there are conflicts all over the place. We are used to dealing with them, explaining the causes and consequences in the longer term. This war is coming near physically and mentally. I know that in class, students have also been scared. It poses the challenge of how to deal with it so that it does not inadvertently feed fears. ”

Board of Education (OPH) has been published for schools support material on how to deal with the war in Ukraine with children and young people. The OPH website contains tips on, among other things, providing psychosocial support, preventing hate speech and bullying, and how to deal with war and its consequences. by subject.

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“The idea is that every child and young person should have enough basic knowledge of the world to be able to grasp the news they inevitably come across. To avoid unnecessary fears, ”says OPH’s educational advisor Satu Honkala.

According to Honkala, the subject materials have received a lot of praise from teachers, as many find the topic difficult.

“It’s easier to approach it through your own subject. It also gives students the opportunity to talk about fears and wonder in a safe atmosphere with a safe adult. ”

In Joensuu Teacher of history and social studies at Tulliportinkatu normal school Kimmo Kotron during the Ukrainian war and its effects have been much discussed.

“After all, we haven’t had much else to do in the last three weeks,” Kotro says.

According to Kimmo Kotro, a teacher of history and social studies, high school students are actively monitoring the situation in Ukraine. “It can’t be the case in the classroom that the teacher just analyzes events, but students have to be given the opportunity to share their own views. They need to be given space to think, ”he says.

He currently teaches history to high school students and social studies to high school students.

With the seventh-graders, Kotro went through the basics of Finnish security policy right at the beginning of the attack, even though the subject was not yet on the syllabus.

“In a sense of calm. That Finland has not failed to take its own security policy measures, ”he says.

High school students On the course of Finland’s and the EU’s security policy, war and its consequences have supplanted other issues.

“This is a topical and so revolutionary topic. We assess, for example, Finland’s security policy, energy dependence, the blue-eyedness of Finns and the burden that Finns have had in relation to their eastern neighbor. And the fact that democracy has been a foreign concept in Russia throughout history, ”says Kotro.

Last Thursday, Kotro’s social studies class discussed Finland’s security of supply, Belarusian society and the preconditions for a dictator’s dominance.

High school students Emma Laatikainen, Jasmin Rouvinen, Aapo Frisk and Aatu Kemppilä say they are actively monitoring the situation in Ukraine, but they think it is good that there is a lot of talk about it in the lessons as well.

“Things put in context. That’s why this happens and how this is possible, ”Frisk says.

“It has been a relief to have been able to discuss this issue here and the concerns are being listened to. Otherwise, I would probably deal with these things with my roommate all the time inside the four walls, ”says Laatikainen.

Tulliportinkatu The high school of the Finnish-Russian school in Eastern Finland also operates on the premises of the normal school. Shock and fear were the main emotions of studying there Arina Sharapovan mind when Russia invaded Ukraine.

Sharapova, who moved from Russia to Finland eight years ago, feared that Russia’s actions would affect Russians living in Finland. He thought he was getting at least nasty glances, but they haven’t come.

Arina Sharapova, who moved from Russia to Finland eight years ago, feels that the school has received good support in dealing with a difficult matter. He attends a Finnish-Russian school in Eastern Finland in Joensuu, which operates on Tulliportinkatu in the same premises as the normal school and teaches the same teachers.

Instead, teachers became concerned about Sharapova’s well-being. The principal sent a message reminding them to ensure safe schooling for everyone, and the school psychologist reminded them not to think about these things alone.

“It is possible to get help, but at the same time it is good not to talk about it all the time. There will be no more stress and worry, ”says Sharapova.

“Those first few days were just awful, but now the feeling and mood have calmed down a bit. Yet this overshadows life for a long time to come. ”

Read more: At the end of February, Russian schools received a teaching package related to Ukraine and “liberation of the fraternal people”, but not all teachers use it

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