Stereotyping is a form of discrimination that judges whole groups of people by perceived features. Stereotyping can be funny; it is widely used by cartoonists. However, it also encourages fixed prejudices, denies individuality and diversity, and is often found associated with the undermining of human rights, such as through racism and sexism. Stereotyping has been identified as a step towards the intolerance that can ultimately lead to crimes against humanity. It is one of the responsibilities of a teacher to challenge stereotypical thinking. For history teachers this is relatively straightforward. Open-mindedness, multi-perspectivity, and the use of evidence are at the core of the discipline of history. Stereotypes rapidly look unpersuasive as evidence is applied to test them. Historians respect debate and difference, and the practice of the discipline in schools encourages students to develop the dispositions of mind which discourage stereotyping. Through studying history students learn to develop the skills of imagination to identify with the experience of others and to understand that the world has been and is experienced in varied ways. They also learn the consequences for societies of not celebrating diversity.
Challenging stereotypes: reflecting on the relationship between women and the male control of the public space, in the past and in the present.
What was forbidden and what was enhanced in women’s image and role under the fascist dictatorships? What about nowadays?
Students learn about the aims and the importance of the forest brothers in the context of Estonian history.
Who were the forest brothers?
Students analyse different perspectives on people and learn how views about people can be manipulated for a purpose.
How should we remember the camp and commemorate its victims, although many of those interned were accused of perpetrating crimes in the Nazi era?
Students learn about diverse experiences of the end of the war among a group of soldiers.
How differently did individual soldiers experience the end of World War 1?