Abstract Dr. Björn Onken (Kassel): Practical Report from School about the Topic “Crusades”

The curricular experiences display, that the crusades are a topic featuring various chances und possibilities for history lessons which so far have not been valued enough in the didactical literature. Especially the comparatively big interest of the pupils for the topic Crusades open didactical chances which distribute a peculiar learning potential. Empirical surveys showed that pupils especially appreciate mysterious and adventurous topics of history and this definitely is related to the crusades in the eyes of the pupils. Contributing to this is that since 2004 almost every year a television or movie production about the in secrecy clouded Knights Templar is to be seen. But also historical novels respectively books for adolescents or computer games raise the interest of the subadults. Therefore some pupils even acquire very useful and expansive knowledge about the Crusades via television documentaries or non-fictional books outside the classroom. Those media were especially produced and released for a subadult audience.

For teaching the difficulty of very heterogeneous condition inside the group of learners occurs. But also many pupils without special precognition of the topic of the Crusades are easily inspired by the adventurous and exotic aspects of this topic. Especially the boys’ interest can be raised comparatively fast given the fact, that most of them are interested in the topic ‘Knight’ in general. But the fascination of travelling to distant countries and different cultures can also fascinate the girls. The topic ‘Islam’ is not lastly interesting for the pupils because of the debate started by Thilo Sarrazin. In this case however the precognition is embossed rather by prejudices than by realistically based information. Particularly the Muslims are mistakenly assumed to have the general duty to spread their religion by using the religious war but this can be disproved vividly with the help of the Crusades.

Based on the fact of the distinctive interest of the pupils the topic Crusades offers the chance for intercultural learning and multiperspectivity. For this matter of fact the competences of the pupils for the orientation in a globalised world can be promoted especially. In addition to this there are the daily political terms since the term Crusade has got a major role in the contemporary intercultural discourse. Thinking about the actual paradox murdering in the name of God in this coherence leads to a training of reflexion- and interpretation competences. For the pupils very surprising and remarkably seems to be the Crusade of Frederick II. This displays that there is a possibility for a peaceful way of dissolving a conflict even between antagonistic and militant embossed societies.

Regarded to the methodical the topic Crusades allows various accesses. It has to be prevented to get lost in the chronological numeration of the Crusades. The chronology can be fielded by a timeline to produce the frame of a work-sharing intergroup development or to produce a thematically orientated teacher- centred teaching.