University of Mons (BELGIUM)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2021 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 3905-3912
ISBN: 978-84-09-27666-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2021.0800
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
In the French-speaking Community of Belgium, the work around the "duty to remember" is a fundamental school’s mission. In that respect, a specific decree specifically supports 'the transmission of the memory of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and acts of resistance or movements that resisted the regimes that gave rise to these crimes' (FWB, 2009). This legislation defines a broader framework for action in favor of all outstanding memories, as often recommended by specialists (Rioux, 2002, Gensbuger, 2015, Hommet, 2017). Visits to sites of remembrance can play an important role in the school education of young people. However, these places must be pedagogically adapted to this particular public. To welcome adolescents in museums and memorials requires indeed specific thinking: the proposed activities must pursue varied cognitive and affective objectives, encourage active participation, strengthen the accountability of young people, and take place in a structured learning environment (Allard, 1993). It is also increasingly recommended that they integrate new information technologies to convey their message, especially to young audiences (Timbart, 2013).

The Bastogne War Museum (BWM) focuses on the history of the Battle of the Bulge (1944-1945) and maintains its memory (context of the conflict, historical events, consequences). To support the duty of remembrance, the BWM developed an innovative scenography, including new technologies (multimedia installations, films, interactive terminals for young people and schools, etc.), in addition to animations supervised by professionals. The objective of our study was to evaluate the contribution of the visit to this museum to the development of “duty to remember” among secondary school students. This visit was part of an educational project in their school. We interviewed 43 students (21 girls and 22 boys) on two occasions: before and after the visit. The previsit survey allowed us to identify students' representations of World War II, their expectations and perceptions of the BWM visit. The purpose of the second survey was to identify any change in their knowledge of the Second World War and their satisfaction with the visit. Our results showed that a large majority of the students were globally satisfied with their visit and its contributions (41/43; 95.35%); 67.44% (29/43) said that the museum allows an awareness of the importance of not forgetting the presented events; 60.46% (26/43) felt that the museum brought them new knowledge; 55.81% (24/43) felt that it preserves the memory of those who lived during these conflicts and 39.53% (17/43) felt that visiting sites of remembrance contributes to the development of their critical thinking. Finally, 13.95% (6/43) added that they would also recommend visiting the BWM for its use of new technologies. Overall, it can therefore be considered that an educational visit to a place of remembrance dedicated to the World War II, and adapted to a young school audience, can effectively contribute to the development of the "duty to remember" among students.
Duty to remember, Word War II, Bastogne War Museum, Educational Visit.