Challenges and Opportunities in Heritage Education for Responsible Citizenship

A new school year begins and with it expectations and illusions about the system’s capacity to train and educate in the knowledge and values ​​they need as responsible citizens. Lately we filled the box with the competencies to be developed in the students of different “cross-cutting” subjects that deal with the most varied concepts, also including the much-used “education for the respect of our Cultural Heritage”.

There is a lot of talk about educating in and with the environment, in educational outings, etc. Something that was in the DNA of the ILE (Institución Libre de Enseñanza) and the best-known pedagogical currents. But such is the accumulation of curricular knowledge, school regulations, and, beware!, possible civil and criminal responsibilities of teachers, that fewer and fewer transgressions are made against normative orthodoxy, extracurricular activities and, not to mention outings and study trips. .

At the time, ESO allowed an elective called “Heritage Historical and Cultural” that some teachers adapt to our environment. In many places the contents were filled with ethnographic heritage or intangible cultural heritage, in Toledo I designed a material that was awarded by the Ministry of Education in its day about the surroundings of San Bernardo de Toledo – when it was still a single farm, today it would be almost impossible to put it into practice.

The outings allowed our students to enjoy and learn about the city of Toledo, its archaeological sites, archives, libraries, museums, monuments and urban planning, thanks also to the complicity of the center’s management who facilitated the outings.

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In addition, the IES ‘El Greco’ de Toledo is one of the Historical Institutes of Castilla-La Mancha, and with its historical collections and archival and bibliographic funds, there we were able to develop a team of teachers who collaborated in the didactic material project that facilitated their knowledge and enjoyment, an experience that we were able to show other Historical Institutes of Castilla-La Mancha thanks to the efforts of the Ministry of Education to promote their knowledge, conservation and enhancement of said educational heritage.

Training and informative work

I must say that, due to my professional work and dedication to Cultural Heritage, I have enjoyed the training and dissemination work of teachers who, like those who formed the “Tránsito” group, carried out through publications and teacher training courses held at the CPR. from Toledo, with a special memory of Enrique Lorente Toledo and Alfonso Vázquez González.

Likewise, proposals were made, so far without result, to the competent authorities to prepare and publish didactic materials by educational stages and adaptations that would allow visiting the heritage cities of Castilla-La Mancha, since, for some years now, the Junta de Communities and provincial councils promoted school visits to different parts of the region, with accompanying teachers having to prepare – as always at the expense of their time and dedication to other teaching tasks – specific material for each outing.

There is so much left to do in terms of Heritage Education that, after a lifetime of teaching, it seems that we are at the starting point. It remains very difficult – I also know this from my own experience – to interweave the two vice-ministry departments: that of Education and that of Culture, to carry out projects that combine these two facets, which, although they should go hand in hand, remain dissociated.

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The result can be seen by readers in the following illustrations: some graffiti on the walls of the Toledo Weapons Factory, a building declared BIC, a lesson in the lack of appreciation and respect for cultural heritage on the part of our young people.

#starting #point

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