to think History is more than famous white men, the monarchy and wars?

(112 Posts)
kim147 Sun 30-Dec-12 21:22:29

www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9771609/Churchill-and-Cromwell-returned-to-history-curriculum.html

New curriculum - Churchill, Cromwell, Nelson, wars and battles.

Still at least suffragettes get a mention. And slavery. Hope more important developments get a mention. It's not just wars that have shaped us.

kim147 Sun 30-Dec-12 22:32:59

And I bet a lot of the real Churchill does not get taught. He's a very complex character. WW2 could have been very different.

Will Middle East history be taught? The role of the UK in that.

Delalakis Sun 30-Dec-12 22:33:08

I think this is just Gove trying to appeal to his perception of Daily Mail readers by going back to History teaching as it was 60 years ago. It will bore children into giving up history at the earliest opportunity, and will deprive them of the opportunity of learning decent research and analytical skills, let alone understanding properly how we got to where we are today. But hey, so long as it furthers Gove's political ambitions, what does any of that matter?

Maryz Sun 30-Dec-12 22:33:34

Oh, God yes. We should all feel a tad guilty about what our ancestors did.

The thing is, though, that if they hadn't done it we wouldn't exist, because it was the survival of the fittest in those days.

My various family branches changed religion almost every generation in order to survive in Ireland. I'm sure various ancestors did dreadful things.

Vag, I agree that learning about ordinary people is interesting for children. But as they get older they have to be able to put those ordinary people into context, and therefore learn about the wider historical events. And also, it would help if William was a real person, not just a made up name.

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 22:34:16

When I go to museums I'm far more interested in everyday paraphernalia than I am in ceremonial vases and paintings.

I want to know what people ate and how they cooked it and what time they got up and where they went to the toilet and what they did all day.

(hence my liking of Jean M Auel's books - they are ridiculous but at least they acknowledge that humans have periods)

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 22:35:16

I don't see why we should feel guilty about what our ancestors did.

We might say "that was a bad thing to do and they should not have done it" but we shouldn't feel guilty, we didn't do it or have anything to do with it, we didn't exist.

Vagaceratops Sun 30-Dec-12 22:36:18

I bet they brush Churchill's involvement in Gallipoli under the carpet.

Vagaceratops Sun 30-Dec-12 22:37:28

I agree Trills.

I get very cross when Prime Ministers/ Leaders say sorry for things that they had absolutely no control over. They can express regret, or remorse, but it feels like a hollow apology.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 22:37:35

That's true - all our ancestors probably were a mix of good and bad. Studying it helps people realize we're all connected.

I agree about learning about ordinary people and putting it into context.

The issue with doing 'chronological' history as a list of events that happened to 'great men' is that it doesn't teach you what life was like for ordinary people, so you're not equipped to realize what decisions people could realistically have made back then.

Maryz Sun 30-Dec-12 22:38:23

Yes, actually, guilty is the wrong word.

It's hard to teach history without putting it in context though. Especially Irish history, which is so tied up with religion. There is so much "right" and "wrong" and putting people into boxes.

whathasthecatdonenow Sun 30-Dec-12 22:38:33

Meh, History teacher here, only bit we would have to add is the War of the Roses. Being Lancastrian, that wouldn't be a hardship! I think what a lot of people forget is that the maximum time History gets at KS3 is 2 periods a week for 3 years. Some schools that is 1 period for 2 years, or even worse a carousel approach with the other Humanities subjects. It is all a bit of a squeeze, so we can't do justice to it all as we would like. History is a powerful political weapon, so it is no surprise that it exercises politicians quite so much. I'd much rather teach the kids to see through spin than to recite the Kings and Queens of England in order (btw, I can do this myself, even though I was never taught it).

However, History is an incredibly popular option subject at my school and we have well over half of the year opting, in 2014 we will be entering 180 students for GCSE History. Gove likes to tinker because he hates teachers and needs to be seen doing 'something'.

uptheamp Sun 30-Dec-12 22:38:40

new curriculum looks like it will bore the arses of the majority of children.

i'd prefer if our kids could learn recent world history instead, american civil war reasons why china is becoming a global leader, russia's recent history and communism etc.

we need to get children interested in history by getting them excited by things they see around them all the time. The recent shootings in the US, why america has such gun laws etc.

Maryz Sun 30-Dec-12 22:39:01

Yes, LRD, Governments saying sorry is just silly hmm.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 22:39:22

I didn't say that?

Vagaceratops Sun 30-Dec-12 22:40:40

I can recite the kings and queens and the dates of their reigns too - its my party piece :D

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 22:40:49

I was agreeing with you about guilt.

I don't think guilt is always about saying 'yes, I was directly to blame'. It's sometimes about accepting that we've benefitted from something in the past that wasn't fair. Sure, we didn't ask for it, but we got it. So where is the harm in admitting that and saying we're sorry it happened?

InExitCelsisDeo Sun 30-Dec-12 22:42:59

It might seem like a bad thing to us now, but at the time it probably seemed like the right thing. Everything has a context, and the context needs to be appreicaited.

It is interesting to look at Joe Bloggs' experiences of the D Day landings, but WWII could hardly be studied without reference to Churchill surely confused

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 22:44:15

But WWII never has been studied without ref to Churchill? Has it? If it happened, it was so quick I blinked and missed it.

Daft to say he's being reintroduced when he's been part of the curriculum for so long.

Vagaceratops Sun 30-Dec-12 22:46:23

I dont mean that Churchill should be left out, not at all, but he shouldnt be the only focus.

When most of us studied ww1/ww2 at school, most of us would have known someone who had lived during that period, but that may not be true for much longer, so we need to work harder to put a human face onto what has happened.

The same is true for now too. It is much better to learn about the war in Afghanistan by evaluating a source from a soldier who has served there, than David Cameron's opinion on it, or the part he played in it.

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 22:46:29

I am sorry that this happened
is different to
I apologise for this

(IMO)

Maryz Sun 30-Dec-12 22:47:16

That's the right way to put it LRD. I'm sure there is a better word than guilty though confused.

We are all the descendants of survivors. And to survive in the past you had to be prepared to do some pretty nasty things. I can't regret the fact that my ancestors might have done some things that kept them alive, when others died.

I can, however, feel regret at what happened to some other people - one of the most horrifying things I ever read was the story of the Spanish conquest in South America, where they wiped out an entire race. But that doesn't even appear in most history books.

I'm going to buy "World History for Dummies" and see what's in it.

whathasthecatdonenow Sun 30-Dec-12 22:47:40

Gove might have a fit if he came to see me teach about Churchill. We explore all of the evidence and reach our own reasoned conclusions in my lessons. They aren't usually positive conclusions. (Well, unless it is period 6 on a Friday and then they just repeatedly say 'Miss, what do you think?' as as way of trying to avoid work).

I also teach my Year 13s that both Phillip of Spain and Elizabeth I thought that God sent the wind that wrecked the Armada. This year they interpreted this as 'God farted and the Armada was defeated'. Hotbed of academic perfection in my classroom.

Vagaceratops Sun 30-Dec-12 22:48:03

Actually that is a rubbish comparison.

Its better to learn from a person who has served on the ground that from Mike Jackson for example.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 22:48:10

I think that's right, trills, but IMO it's graceless to split hairs when you're speaking from a privileged position. And also, I think in some political positions, you are speaking not just for yourself but as the figurehead of a nation.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 22:49:04

maryz, did you see my post? confused

Maryz Sun 30-Dec-12 22:50:29

You are right about knowing someone who lived through it Vag.

My parents went in and spoke to ds2's class about ww2. Both my parents were in England during the war, whereas most Irish people don't know much about it.

My mum brought in a tray with rationed food (a week's worth of butter, cheese, meat etc).

The kids simply couldn't believe it. They had been told about rationing, but didn't realise what it meant.

But in another ten years there won't be any first hand memories of WW2, and the holocaust and many other historical things.

Everything will have to be learned through books or online.

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