“Why did he attack young people at Utøya?”
“I think the police should have killed the terrorist”
“Will it happen again?”
Teachers we collaborate with report of a range of questions and opinions from students when talking about the terror attack in Norway 22 July 2011. Some questions and remarks might be easy to answer, while others more complex, controversial or sensitive, and thus require a more thorough exploration.
A departure from the students’ curiosity and opinions might be one approach to teach about 22 July 2011, but it also introduces the question: Should 22 July be taught in schools only when the topic is randomly brought up in the classroom, or should the education system make sure students in Norwegian schools learn about the terror attack by the virtue of being democratic citizens? The latter requires a wholistic approach to teaching about 22 July and brings up the question: Why, what and how should students learn about the terror attack 22 July 2011 and how should it be connected to democratic citizenship?
The terror attack is briefly mentioned in the draft for a new national curriculum in Norway, where it is placed within social science and the interdisciplinary topic “democracy and citizenship”. As a result of the curriculum being competence based, the individual school and teacher decide what and how to teach about 22 July 2011. As a consequence, a variety of different methods are used, and subsequently it can sometimes be challenging for teachers to find appropriate teaching materials that clearly connects to the curriculum. Moreover, the emotional and political sensitivity of some aspects of 22 July – as shown in some of the questions above - might be difficult to manoeuvre.
All of the issues above are addressed in our current cooperation with the Institute for teacher education at NTNU (Norwegian University for Science and Technology) to develop learning resources for educators to use when teaching about 22 July and democratic citizenship.
While our first step was to get an overview of current learning resources, our second step is to collect teachers’ experiences and input. Therefore, The EWC and our partners at NTNU have invited teachers from all over Norway to a seminar at Utøya 17-19 March to exchange experiences and explore the question of why, what and how students should learn about 22 July 2011. Moreover, we want the teachers’ feedback on already available resources, what types of educational materials they are missing, as well as their views on how to utilize the qualities of their own subjects to contribute to the interdisciplinary topic of democratic citizenship.
Teachers will try out the learning resources and give feedback throughout the process, and the resources will be available from the fall of 2020.