Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Historical Reenactment

Historical Reenactment

I had a very successful lesson this week using the formate of a reenactment of the Congress of Vienna. The feedback from the students was very positive and I think they found it an interesting way to learn about the Congress of Vienna. This activity took an entire double lesson easily. 

1. Basically to start the lesson off, I created a Voki greeting of Metternich setting the stage of the Congress of Vienna, I got the idea from Geographyalltheway.com. The avatar gives the students the purpose of the Congress, I based the avatar on Metternich because Austria hosted the congress.

2. The students were paired into five groups, each representing a country at the Congress. They were given a brief based on their countries goals, political context as it relates to their country and a point as to why their country has sway at the congress. See sample below:
The Habsburg Empire.

Represented by: Prince Von Metternich (Nicknamed, the Policeman of Europe).

Emperor Francis I: was the Congress’ official host. Although he detested Napoleon Bonaparte he agreed to the marriage between Napoleon and his own daughter Marie Louise in 1810. His subsequent alliance with Napoleon against Russia ended in defeat. However, the Treaty of Paris of 1814 boosted Francis’ I territorial powers. He came to rule the largest territory the Habsburgs and their predecessors had ever possessed. Austria has the most to lose from the Congress of Vienna, because her empire has many ethnic groups and national groups. Democracy, Republicanism and all forms of liberalism are a threat.

Your goals at the congress:
1. The borders of Europe to be redrawn to create order.
2. Monarchy to be the main form of Government in Europe, suppression of Republicanism.
3. Austria to be charged with ruling over the Southern German states and Northern Italy.
4. All forms of Separatism and Nationalism and Liberalism to be stamped out.
5. Avoid the creation of new states, particularly a unified Germany, Poland or Belgium.
6. Prevent Russia from becoming too strong.

Your power:
You are Europe’s central power and the strongest power on the European Continent.
3. The students had 15 minutes to prepare an introduction speech at the congress on behalf of each country present.
4. Then a series of scenarios were presented on a powerpoint that would have been dealt with during the Concert of Europe and each group had to debate based on their countries perspectives. I limited the degrees of freedom by providing options for each scenario....
5. For each scenario, each country was given a chance to present their viewpoint and a final decision would be made by voting.

What was great about this lesson was the students got really involved in their roles and give sound debates from the perspective of their countries. I also deliberately worded the 'goals at the congress' for each country to encourage some debate and some alliances to form based on the actual congress.

Each scenario presented opened a lively debate amongst the class which was great and by the end the lesson became student led.

As a plenary, the students were interested in seeing how their decisions to the scenarios compared to the real Congress of Vienna and we had some motions that matched the Congress and some that didn't.