oral history theoretical frame and practical directions n.
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oral history theoretical frame and practical directions




the current trends
The Current Trends
  • Increasing interest of the people toward their own social roots;
  • Disintegration of the world of the communist past leading to “a great number of incommensurable worlds” and explosion of collective memories (Пренаписванията.... 1995:18)
  • Extending the idea of the past, including the events of the end of the 20th century, and offering a new view about these events in textbooks and supplementary books in history.
didactic reflections
Didactic Reflections
  • Applying multi-perspective and multi-cultural approach - methodology, aiming at the recreation of the picture of the past as a multi-layer process;
  • New accents in choosing the school contents - everyday life, family, women, small ethnical communities, memory etc.
  • Extending the construction of the historical account - various sources including those of Oral history.
  • Change in the ways of teaching history - accent toward technological aspects of studying.
theoretical frame
Theoretical Frame

Oral History:

  • Constructing the evidence of the ones who took part in a certain events or the direct eyewitnesses of certain events (Tabakova).
  • is a record and an analysis of shared memories about the past;
  • is one of the many tools through which people communicate with each other;
  • “Instrument for gathering of data/materials”.

A way to present history, including stories about the past that are told by people who eye witnessed them.

theoretical frame1
Theoretical Frame
  • Being a researcher’s tool, Oral History is preserving the evidence of the everyday life, the stories of individuals about their experiences, feelings and their attitude towards past events in which they were directly involved or eye witnessed them.
  • The shared knowledge about the past gives the opportunity to go deeper into the meaning of the past that these people put in their understanding of the past.
  • This way, Oral History can be considered as a methodology and an additional tool of exploring past events.
specific features of the oral sources the work with memory
Specific Features of the Oral Sources: the: “Work” with Memory
  • Memory as an enormous store of various information;
  • The role of the long-lasting memory – actualizing of the stored information gives birth to the “memories”;
  • Before remembered facts have to be realized (L. Barsalou: 1988);
  • The process of understanding sets the principles of coding the memories;
  • In the evidence of certain events not only are concrete facts included, but also more general notions, so called personal memory;
  • Hierarchical organization of the memory premises; the remembering of not only joined facts, but the ones connected consecutively;
  • The facts are grouped together in categories, arranged according to their significance to the individual.
which are the specific features of the oral sources
Which are the Specific Features of the Oral Sources?
  • Professional history – reconstructs the past in chronological frame, clear and concrete time and space.
  • Oral Sources - work with the space through “its unique consistent images”, which are complex – geographical situation, physical environment, other persons involved, memorized feelings and moods, as well as other minor matters.
  • Characteristic features: description of situations instead of description of developing linear events, localization and inserted “somebody’s else” stories (Gavrilova 2004:352-353).
which are the specific features of the oral sources1
Which are the Specific Features of the Oral Sources?
  • The oral evidence as means for reconstruction of sectors which do not transfer their experience in written form / history of women, family, minorities, children/.
  • Adequate tool for reconstructing the diversity in situations, when the reality seems complex and multilayered.
theoretical frame oral evidences in teaching history
Theoretical Frame:Oral Evidences in Teaching History
  • Packing the pictures of everyday life from different epochs and giving the chance of going beyond the traditional narration “ peace treaties and battles", focusing on the anonymous , the collective, where every individual can recognize him/herself (Aries 1998:23);
  • Construction of different points of view in comparison to the traditional one in the lesson gives the opportunity to the pupils who want to know more in order to give meaning to the birth of the historical fact/event“in the dramatic conflict between the personal intentions and the general circumstances” (Kazakow 1994:18 ).
the oral evidences in teaching history
The Oral Evidences in Teaching History
  • Assists the restoration of the diversity of events, that happened in the recent and distant;
  • Contribute to the understanding of what events from the past meant for the ordinary people, in this way constructing the social knowledge as the other side of the official political history;
  • Creating personal memory about certain events and extending the collective memories; completing the white spaces of the untold in the historical memory of the society;
the oral evidences in teaching history1
The Oral Evidences in Teaching History
  • Allow to see the change of our personal perceptions about time, in which we live, revealing the unwritten traces of the memories, pictures and oral stories ;
  • Give chance to the pupils to create their own oralevidencesand to make their own conclusions on the basis of comparison of these sources with the information from other documents;
  • Develop critical thinking, responsibility, empathy and communication skills in different environments. (byStradling 2001:214-215).
  • In practice, the students are creating oral evidence by themselves while analyzing the evidence
  • During the process of their education, the young people must be incorporated in the collection of oral evidence as a part of the common process of conservation and relaying of the historical and collective memory of the Bulgarians
classification of the oral evidence by r stradling
Classification of the Oral Evidence (byR. Stradling)
  • Evidence of the past received by previous generations (oral tradition);
  • Story about life of a separate person, who can characterize them and make them significant (oral biography);
  • Personal memories of persons for events, situations or experiences, typical for a period of time;
  • Stories of eyewitnesses, taken during or right after an event took place
practical directions techniques of the oral history
Practical Directions: Techniques of the Oral History
  • Students’ skills for collecting oral evidence are linked with learning some of the basic techniques of collecting this information:
  • conversation,
  • inquiry,
  • family tree,
  • interview
Technological aspectsExample 1:The Oral evidence as additional source for defining reliability of non-formal documents

Activities:Step 1: Analysis of a photography from the position of a participant in the event

  • Pupils are receiving a task to write a short story (or describe a situation), connected with the creation of the picture, as taking part of the event (one from the two women, observer or photographer).
  • The photography is given to the pupils without other information. In order for them to find out the information, they are using the basic questions, facilitating the description.
  • Fulfilling the task is even more appealing, when it is given as a group activity. One of the pupils is asked to share the results of the group work.
step 2 writing a questionnaire about the reliability of the document
Step 2: Writing a Questionnaire about the Reliability of the Document
  • After all the groups present their results the common points and the differences that are connected with the previous analysis of the photography are outlined;
  • The next task asks for all the groups to make a list with questions concerning the reliability of the document. All the questions are enumerated on a joint poster or if there is more time, the pupils construct an “intellectual map”
  • The discussion about the reliability of the document presumes comparison on the statements of the pupils with the real facts, connected with the transformation of the social role of the woman during the Socialist regime, the participation of the rural/peasant women in TKZS, the modernization of the everyday life in Bulgaria etc.
step 3 private memory and oral bibliography as an additional source of information
Step 3: Private Memory and Oral Bibliography as an Additional Source of Information
  • The teacher gives the pupils a memory about the creation of the photograph and data about the biography of one of the women, connected with her family and the work of the young couple in the local TKZS.
  • The pupils have to find out facts that illustrate their statements in proving the reliability of the analyzed document and to add them to the list of questions.
  • After discussing the suggestions the teacher shows the method of crossing the overlapping statements of the analysis done, the questions that were asked and the information from the evidence of the eyewitnesses.
Construct a short story (not more than 10 sentences) to present the story of the photograph given.

You have 15 minutes for work.

Individual farm, 1962

example 2 the oral evidence as instrument for making the picture of basic historical processes
Example 2: The Oral Evidence as instrument for making the picture of Basic Historical Processes

Activities:Step 1:Analysis of “Blind” source and creation of collective list of questions that need additional information

  • Pupils are divided in small groups. They receive a visual source without any indicators. Задачата е да озаглавят по подходящ начин снимката.
  • Next step is a discussion on the missing information.
  • Next task is the creation of a list of questions requesting additional information.
  • The teacher explains the possibilities of the interview as a method of gathering information and shows the way to do this.
step 2 interviewing eyewitnesses
Step 2: Interviewing eyewitnesses
  • Teacher suggests for the class to be divided into several teams. In the teams pupils are grouped in pairs. Each of the pairs receives one photography that shows celebration of important event from the socialist period in their local surrounding/city/town/community.
  • The teams receive the following tasks:
      • To identify the document – event, that reveals the time of the creation, and the persons involved.
      • To find out other living evidences of the event;
      • To conduct an interview with eyewitnesses of the event;
      • To conduct interviews with respondents from different generations (including ones belonging to one family), with diverse ethnical and religious background for the celebrations in the time of Socialism;
      • To prepare a presentation about the gathered information
Step 3: Organizing a Seminar on the Topic: “Everyday Life and Official Holidays during the Time of Socialism”
  • An expert team from the teacher of history and one member of each of the teams is formed. They are supposed to prepare and explain the criteria for the evaluation of the results of the research work.
  • Each of the teams presents what was done during their work.
  • A joint discussion follows on the topic of the seminar.
  • The oral evidence allows for the acquaintance with the methods of the historical knowledge as well the construction of personal knowledge about the past on the basis of specific proofs.
  • Constructing written texts while using oral evidence is “irreversible”, inner-peculiar activity which is part of all stages of the oral history research.
  • By giving the students the opportunity to construct the social biography of the History of everyday life, we aid the processes of a clearer rationalization of the contemporary reality.
  • In this way the Oral history throws a bridge toward universal acceptance, participation and social competences.