Blog ESSR

Welcome to the ESSR!

Whether by accident or on purpose, you've stumbled across the blog of a brand new Erasmus + grant project called the Experience of State Socialism Reimagined (ESSR). Welcome!

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How is this going to go?

You know what the ESSR project is, and you know who the partners are. There's still a lot for us to share, though, and the top priority right now is telling you how this is actually going to work. We have a plan for how the project will unfold over the next two years, and we hope that it will be useful for you as you put together your own projects.

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How we work with our sources

The ultimate goal of our project is not only to create a series of lesson plans, but also to give you a glimpse of how we make them. Here's how we work with sources and the kind of obstacles we have to deal with.

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On the way towards a lesson plan

In this blog post, we at the Sofia Platform would like to introduce some potential sources to you, along with the background behind them and the methodology that we used to choose them.

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Primary Sources vs. the Public Space: The Case of the Metro

This blog is happy to introduce another partner in the ESSR project: Creative Teaching Group. CTG won’t directly contribute to creating any of the lesson plans; instead, they’re organizing seminars for the public where they will deal with Czechoslovakia’s communist past. Here, you can have a look at how their workshop on Prague’s metro went.

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Building a Lesson Plan: The Aims and Principles of Lesson Plans

We're finally getting to our main goal: creating a stand-alone lesson plan. However, berofe we get down to it, our Bosnian member Haggadah presents the obstacles or wider teaching conditions that accompany the creative process of making the lesson plan. Here's the first set of their ideas.

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Building a Lesson Plan: Structuring the Goals

Second part of Haggadah's ideas on how to build a lesson plan. Blog focuses on the proper structuring of a lesson so it reaches its educational goals.

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Building Our Lesson Plan: The Election Experience During Czechoslovak State Socialism

So far, we’ve presented how we consider our sources, what questions we ask alongside them, and what methods we employ to turn them into productive teaching materials. Now, it’s time to proceed to a stand-alone lesson plan. Here we are: we proudly present our first complete lesson plan, created by the Czech team from the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes and focused on the experience of an election during the communist period.

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Building Our Lesson Plan: The Election Experience During Czechoslovak State Socialism — Part 2

We continue with the Czech team‘s lesson plan and invite you to explore our teaching materials in depth.

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Lesson Plan: Ideology and Society, Ideology in the Body of Society

While the last two blogs were focused on the lesson plan of the Czech team and invited you to the background and the ideas behind its creation, this very blog from the Innovative Teaching Group, the Slovak team, presents guidelines to their lesson plan. It is focused on the ideology and the uses of the public space. In this stage of our project, our lesson plans are still intended for the domestic students or learners - but we hope you can already draw experience and inspiration from it!

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Lesson plan: "Revival Process" in Bulgaria - Part 1

We are happy to present you the third lesson plan, created by our Bulgarian partner, the Sofia Platform. This lesson plan will not only guide you through the depths of the Bulgarian so-called "Revival process", but also tackles the topics of personal identity and ethnic minorities during communist era.

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Lesson plan: "Revival Process" in Bulgaria - Part 2

Second part of the Sofia Platform lesson plan: follow the historical background of the so-called "Revival process".

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Running Socialism Realised’s Twitter Account

One of the most effective ways to market anything in this technology-driven world is to use social media — but how do you get people to pay attention to you? ESSR’s team will be wrestling with this question once the lesson plans are ready for public use, and they’ll be able to build on what the Socialism Realised team has learned while trying to share their material with the world.

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What’s Worked For Us Before

One of the most important considerations we had to make while putting together the ESSR team was finding organizations that all had a vested interest in, and experience with, education. That said, we all came to the project with our own experiences of what’s worked, and what hasn’t. We’ll be back at you later with some of our past mistakes, but this blog’s going to be all about our best practices.

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The ESSR Team Spills: Our Biggest Mistakes

We gave you our best practices two weeks ago, but talking about our biggest mistakes — or, as we can call them, our worst practices — is potentially even more useful. After all, making a mistake or having a lesson go badly is a great way or learning what not to do for the next lesson. If we pass our mistakes along, then you don’t have to make them yourself.

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Primary Sources vs. the Public Space: The Case of Prague Spring, 1968

We already discussed the usefulness of primary sources during work in the public space in this blog, using the case of the Prague metro. This time, we’ll focus on one moment in particular when the public space played a key role: Prague Spring, 1968.

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Our Favorite Experiences in International Education, Vol.1: Bringing Socialism to America

Our project has already entered the piloting stage and the lesson plans we've presented in our previous blogs are now tested by teachers across Bulgaria, Slovakia, Bosnia and Czech Republic. In the meantime, while we're restlessly awaiting how it worked, we'd like to share with you the experience we've made during our previous international pilotings. Here's one of our most exotic assets: piloting of the Socialism Realised in the U.S.

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Our Favorite Experiences in International Education, Vol.2: Translating the Context

In the course of developing our lessons, we’ve come to the point where we’re about to exchange the lessons that each partner has put together and tested in the local context so that we can test them on a transnational level. This is a very important point for our whole project, because the assumption upon which we planned it lies in the possibility of being able to transfer the individual lessons for use in different cultural contexts. It will be interesting for teachers and students to compare experiences, then, with communism and with state socialism in various countries of the former Eastern bloc.

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