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.

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 22:50:46

I'm not talking about splitting hairs, I'm talking about saying something that makes sense and means something.

Someone expressing regret can do so from the heart.

Someone apologising for something that they had no control over can't possibly mean it - they either don't understand what they are saying or they are lying or trying to say what sounds best without thinking about the meaning of the words they are saying.

whathasthecatdonenow Sun 30-Dec-12 22:53:46

Vagaceratops it depends what you are trying to find out. Soldiers on the ground can tell you about their experiences, but it you are looking for motives etc then other sources of information might be more useful.

Maryz Sun 30-Dec-12 22:54:04

LRD, I think we are cross-posting all over the place blush. I'm a few posts behind all the time.

My post should have been "yes LRD, I agree with you".

And separate sentence "I think governments saying sorry is silly".

I'm a bit slow tonight.

I could blame the internet. Or not, maybe wine

Vagaceratops Sun 30-Dec-12 22:56:00

whats

I agree with you.

What I am trying to say is that it shouldn't be about one or the other, it should be a mixture of both so that children can learn about experience as well as theory.

whathasthecatdonenow Sun 30-Dec-12 22:58:17

That's the thing, it is already. Gove is tinkering where no tinkering needs to happen.

I'm going to cry into my schemes of work now. The ones I had to change and resource 3 years ago.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 23:03:36

Sorry! Thanks for clarifying maryz.

trills - I take your point, but I think it's not honest either for people to claim they can't apologize for something they have benefitted from.

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 23:04:30

Maybe we're just disagreeing about what we think "apologise" means.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 23:06:21

Could well be.

Pantomimedam Mon 31-Dec-12 00:14:30

I think it's fine for governments to apologise for the actions of previous governments - the government as an institution carries on, even though the people involved change. I'm not sure anyone holding office in the Australian government today had anything to do with systematically kidnapping the children of Aboriginal Australians but it was the Australian government of the time that was responsible (which may implicate the UK as well). So it makes sense that it is the government that apologized, even if it took decades. Especially as many of the victims, both parents and children, are still alive.

kim147 Mon 31-Dec-12 09:31:32

I think it's important for history lessons to inform us of how the modern world is.
The development of Islam in the Middle East and beyond.
Empire building and its relevance to today.
The rise of the Far East.
The impact of WW1 and WW2.
The Middle East
The role of religion
Superpowers and conflict
Social changes

So much to cover - how relevant is Henry VII and the Vikings to today - apart from making younger children interested in how things used to be.

Maybe it should focus more on why things are the way they are?

soverylucky Mon 31-Dec-12 09:51:55

The new scheme of work isn't actually that different to what I have been teaching for well over a decade. Luckily our department never switched from chronological to thematic as we knew it would switch back again. They are always changing and tinkering with things!

What is required is the teaching of skills within a chronological framework.

I do think that Gove wants to go back to learning names, dates and dry facts. I think this will make the subject boring. I have lost count of the number of parents who say to me that when they were at school (60's, 70's, 80's) history was so boring - if you had a good memory for dates you were ok. There was very little understanding of the significant and impact of the events they were learning about.

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 31-Dec-12 13:03:14

I think Henry VII and the Vikings are relevant, because if you study them, you learn that we're not a country that's stayed the same for hundreds of years, but we've had influxes of immigration, we've had violent upheavals and coups and civil wars, and we're not really so different from other countries where these things are happening now. I think that's important to learn.

But I agree people need to learn about why things today are how they are. I remember at school making a suggestion about what was going on in Iraq being linked to what Britain did in the Middle East in the past (granted it was 2002 so it was a hot topic), and my otherwise very good history teacher absolutely shot me down and wouldn't let anyone discuss the possibility anyone except the Iraqis were responsible.

kim147 Mon 31-Dec-12 13:10:19

The thing about history is it's all so subjective. Unlike science or geography, history is open to interpretation. Which is what makes it so fascinating. The world we are in today and attitudes are shaped by our past and how different countries perceive historical events.

The role of Britain in the Middle East, why we have the EU, the UN - it's a minefield. Critical analysis and discussion are good tools for children to learn - rather than merely learning the facts and propoganda.

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 31-Dec-12 13:19:50

I think geography is open to interpretation too? I'm only saying that because a mate of mine is doing her masters in it and I'm gathering from her comments that it's a very different subject from what I thought it was based on lessons at school back in the day.

But I totally agree it's fascinating.

mathanxiety Mon 31-Dec-12 13:51:42

It is subjective when a student becomes intellectually capable of making it so. Until then, teaching a chronology gives the basic context that is necessary in order to start asking the important questions when the time is ripe.

I agree the names, dates and dry facts approach is not good, but there can be much more to teaching chronologically and even focusing on British history than those elements.

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 31-Dec-12 13:59:32

That makes sense math.

I've got to say, I remember at primary school we were all quite interested in 'was King John good or bad' early on, which I'd say is a kind of subjectivity.

But I'm not knocking some chronological framework - it's just this proposal sounds very like dry facts, and a peculiar choice of 'famous names' to string them together.

skratta Mon 31-Dec-12 14:05:51

I think, although you should obviously focus on the important people in important events (which are usually men, because of the times then), but you can't understand history unless you understand ordinary life.

For instance, DTDs are currently learning about Native Americans (we're in America). They learnt about important men in important tribes, and important battles, but that shouldn't be all they learn. To understand big things, you have to be able to understand the small things, ordinary life, because ordinary life is what shapes a lot of opinions and shows the differences and similarities. Ordinary life for a soldier in the trenches or whatever, they were ordered around by the men we learn about, but they were the ones who made the difference by fighting in WW1. We have a responsibility to learn about the ordinary people and we need to understand ordinary people from the past so we can get a bit of perspective on history and how things change or are changing.

kim147 Mon 31-Dec-12 14:08:07

I think that programmes like Horrible Histories are good as they challenge conventional knowledge and get children to think.

History is interesting. Understanding how ordinary people lived is also interesting.

But there's only so many lessons and a lot of history to fill in.

skratta Mon 31-Dec-12 14:08:38

Also, just saying, but it sounds a lot like what my children, when we lived in the UK, were learning. They all learnt about Churchill from an early age and went back to it, and I know my friends' older children learnt about Cromwell, the separation from Rome, and the War of the Roses in Yr8 (I think it was the Norman invasion, Black Death and Thomas Becket in Yr7). It sounds like the stuff they're already taught really.

chris481 Mon 31-Dec-12 14:29:42

I disagree with the view that studying history should be about developing skills. What I want from history is to carry around in my head as comprehensive a narrative as I can fit in.

To use an analogy, learning to read is not a substitute for actually experiencing great books. If you can't read, having a book read to you is a good substitute. If you can read, you don't say it's enough that I could read "Crime and Punishment", so I won't bother actually doing so.

The amount of relevant and interesting history is always effectively infinite, so anyone who isn't in training to be a writer of history should using their history hours for content rather than skills.

I have a fantasy in which history teaching consists of handing over a 1000 page textbook at the start and giving access to computerised adaptive testing so people can test and retest their mastery of the material until they meet their target standard.

Vagaceratops Mon 31-Dec-12 14:38:27

I have a fantasy in which history teaching consists of handing over a 1000 page textbook at the start and giving access to computerised adaptive testing so people can test and retest their mastery of the material until they meet their target standard.

That sounds like a barrel of laughs!

kim147 Mon 31-Dec-12 14:41:05

<thinks chris481 is actually Michael Gove>

whathasthecatdonenow Mon 31-Dec-12 14:41:44

Well, I'd have a lot more spare time!

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 31-Dec-12 14:42:02

'mastery of the material' - what do you mean? Was that just an old-fashioned way of saying 'until they've learned it by rote'?

Why would you do that in a history lesson, when it has nothing to do with history?

TandB Mon 31-Dec-12 15:11:22

I wish I'd had a better old-fashioned history education. I got as far as the tudors at one school, left and went to another school and went back several hundred years, got as far as the Tudors again, and then gave up history at GCSE level.

I have been researching family history for years and actually write for a family history magazine, but I always have to check key dates that I really should know. I don't have an instinctive understanding of what was going on at any given time. For example, it took me ages to work out that some weird comings and goings in 17th century ancestors was due to the civil war!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now