Vēstures skolotāju biedrība (VSB)
History Teachers’ Association of Latvia (HTAL)
About the organisation
The History Teachers' Association of Latvia is a non-governmental, voluntary organisation of professionals; it consists of history teachers of different nationalities, both from schools with Latvian language of instruction and various ethnic minorities' schools.
The HTAL was founded in 1992. In March 1995 the Association officially became member of EUROCLIO. The HTAL with its central board in Riga, connects a number of project groups and working groups throughout the country that organise in-service training and seminars. The HTAL aims at bringing together creative people; promoting the development of history teaching in schools; facilitating the development and approbation of new curricula and textbooks for history teaching; contributing to history teachers' professional development and co-operating in international networks such as EUROCLIO.
Many of HTAL's activities aim at developing methodological advice and HTAL is co-operating with external partners such as museums and archives, but also publishing houses. HTAL is organising various competitions for pupils, working together with institutions of higher education and the Ministry of Education. Finally, the HTAL engages in international co-operation, for example sending teachers abroad for internships and to conferences.
The history competition
The title of the Latvian history competitions is "History around us" (in Latvian "Vēsture ap mums") and it started in September 2001. The patron of history competition is State president of Latvia. The competition's task is to promote the knowledge about and the collecting and analysing of historical sources as well as the ability to interpret them; to support the ability to present the research work done. The competition's goal is to support the information process among students; to develop a more profound understanding of history by letting pupils research the historical sources themselves; to develop and strengthen the ability to write and finish up an academic research paper.
Participants can be pupils from grade 5-12. The papers will be evaluated by three categories: Group A: 5.-7. grade; group B: 8.-9. grade; group C: 10.-12. grade. In the distribution of places the whole amount of points are taken into account independently from any group category. The paper can be done individually as well as in groups of up to 3 pupils. The student can get a tutor's advice. The papers of group A + B can be submitted in the mother tongue; for those not either in Latvian or Russian, a translation into Latvian is required. The papers of pupils belonging to group C have to be in the state language. The source appendix can remain in the original language.
The research work can be done in various forms: as an academic research paper, as a CD-ROM presentation, as video or audio tape, as a model, a historical game, theatre performance (film or script), historical narration or novel etc.
The jury consists of university lecturers, Archive and museum workers as well as representatives of the HTAL. They evaluate the papers according to the following criteria:
A) How is the chosen topic explained. Structure of content and its correspondence with the topic.
B) Choice of sources and their use, the ability to interpret them.
C) Visual creation, its originality and its correspondence with the criteria of an academic research paper.
D) For the finalists: the defence of their paper. If the student group consists of different age groups, the evaluation is based on the criteria for the eldest group.
All pupils and tutors, who participated in the competition are invited to the final Award Ceremony. All participants and tutors receive a certificate. There are cash prices for the first, second and third places. The jury has the right to decide about the distribution of places. There is also the possibility for award winners to participate in international seminars abroad - knowledge of English or German is required.