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to think it is outrageous that our children are not taught the truth about Britain's history?

(72 Posts)
OneStroke Sat 05-Sep-09 00:40:17

Why aren't our children taught about, for example, the Biafran War, the effects of colonization, the legacies that these actions leave today?

It should be part of the national curriculum and if it was many people would not be as ignorant and complacent about their lives as they are.

Just a thought.

nickschick Sat 05-Sep-09 00:43:49

I actually think that most of secondary history is irrelevant to schoolchildren - I agree they need to know more stuff that happened that makes the world today.

Tortington Sat 05-Sep-09 00:44:08

i totally believe that history should be taught differently than it is.

theres so much of it ( obviously) that i suppose we could all argue a diferent part should be taught

however i truly believe that if history was taught in such a way as to teach how britain came to be, to make people think about britishness and the different cultures that probably run through our veins

then it might make people thnk diferently regarding race and racism

Marrenon Sat 05-Sep-09 00:44:27

i would like to know more about this,

please teach me.

MavisEnderby Sat 05-Sep-09 00:52:32

I think when I was at school history was taught in a manner that only really focussed on white people.

For GCSE I did socio-economic history and this focussed mainly on Victorian Britain.

For A level it was Tudor History,mainly.The only other ethnic grouping was a slight mention of Sulieman the Magnificient and his effect on GB.


nickschick Sat 05-Sep-09 00:54:48

We did the spinning jenny and agricultural history thats why im so disgracefully bad at history - it just never gripped me.

dancingnakedintherain Sat 05-Sep-09 01:00:49

I must count my self lucky then as part of my secondry history lessons I studied sutton Ho, lindow man, the art of sifting through sources for accuracy.

GCSE: history of medicine, china's long march, American west, and something that was so interesting that i cant remember it.

But I never studied the War of the roses, the 100 year war with pakistan, the Orange dude that invaded irelande, the uprising of the scottish in their battle for freedom (bonnie prince charlie etc)
The young pretender, the 100 year war with europe, at far to much that has actually shaped the country. History can be interesting but it depends on the context its learnt.

nickschick Sat 05-Sep-09 01:03:27

The thing is I am actually interested in history but dh who is well into history explains it v factually whereas ds1 who loves history and is about to study it at A level tells me blushthings and he makes it come alive and its so interesting -but he has learnt a lot for himself.

nickschick Sat 05-Sep-09 01:04:08

What I was trying to say and totally missed was that a good history teacher is an excellent story teller imo.

dancingnakedintherain Sat 05-Sep-09 01:07:10

grin so it should be AIBU to think history teachers should be more interesting?

<dunks flour and waterbombs lobed by the history teachers>
<runs back to lab to make sink bomb and aims>

MavisEnderby Sat 05-Sep-09 01:07:12

i think what the op is trying to get atis that,given we are such a diverse society the curriculum is still based upon "White" experience.I have a passing knowledge of all the stuff about slave trade,living in a city where a major abolitionist is feted (Ironic given the fact it is one of the most racist places I have lived)

History is so vast,however.What to choose?

nickschick Sat 05-Sep-09 01:12:50

oh god dancing dont start that off grin- no what im saying [rather badly] is that history can come alive but the curriculum as it is doesnt leave much scope for interlacing it with 'real life' - for example I home educate (dont worry dh covers the history side wink)and when Obama became president my son and I were looking at how America was for black people years ago.

maize Sat 05-Sep-09 01:16:31

As part of my history A'Level we did the de-colonisation of the British Empire. Also did the reunification of Italy which was even more dull...

Was deathly dull it has to be said but important non-the-less.

nickschick Sat 05-Sep-09 01:19:21

Ds says he will be looking at roosevelt and the new deal ?in his first year of A levels.

MavisEnderby Sat 05-Sep-09 01:25:57

I don't see how people can see history as boring.

It influences everything that happens today.

If I could have my time again and become gainfully employed I would study a history degree.That or literature.Both very different from my current job!

MrsChemist Sat 05-Sep-09 02:29:02

For our A-levels we studied the civil rights movement in America; the First World War; American foreign policy from 1889 to 1994 (a mahoosive subject); James the first and Charles the first and the British Civil war.

It would have been nice to learn more, but what we did learn, we learnt in great detail. There is so much history and only so many lessons. People will never be able to agree on what is relevant history, because it is all relevant in it's own way.

LastTrainToNowhere Sat 05-Sep-09 02:35:20

I'm a history buff but that definitely wasn't due to any influence at school. On the contrary, the syllabus tried its hardest to kill any budding passion I might have for the subject. Not blaming the professors, mind - some of them were brilliant, but were limited by the curriculum.

But it is true that basic facts influencing life today just isn't covered. For example, my neighbour is Malaysian and she often has people asking her how she learnt such good English. Answer - because she was taught in English in school. Cue even more wonder from the person asking the question - but why do they talk English in Malaysia? Because it used to be a British Colony FGS. Repeat experience every time she meets someone new. To her credit, she never gets annoyed, while I'm biting my lips to keep the scathing remarks in. blush

mathanxiety Sat 05-Sep-09 04:26:09

You should see what they think is history in the US, in elementary schools anyway. Starts out with Pocahontas and how the native Americans were 'our' friends, glosses over the genocide of the native Americans in The Settlement of The West, somewhere or other, things were not so nice for the African slaves and their descendants, then came WW1, which America won, then WW2, which America again won, and the saga ends with Martin Luther King and how great America is because now, after killing off the natives and enslaving millions and denying them civil rights for another century, all is well, and America Leads The World. It should have been called 1776 And All That. It really bothers me that my poor DCs were exposed to such twaddle. High school history was much better, though.
Growing up in Ireland, we learned how bad the Brits were, which involved quite a few details of British politics, economic history and discussion of the Empire blush, but absolutely no British geography. We learned all about the European mainland and the rest of the world, but if I had been asked to find Manchester on a map at age 10, it would have been like pinning the tail on the donkey.

Othersideofthechannel Sat 05-Sep-09 07:06:32

The problem is that there is an awful lot of history to fit into not much time, especially as many issues such as the one the OP mentions require a thorough treatment at GCSE or higher.

I couldn't imagine trying to teach those to a class of younger secondaries. Whereas it is possible to do how the Romans lived, the Stone Age, the Aztecs and Incas, the Tudors etc.

At A level, we learnt about 'the Irish Question' in the late 1980s which was very useful seeing as it was still very much current affairs. It would probably have been just as useful to do colonization but we would have missed out on something else equally important. As it was we did the causes of WW2 up until the outbreak but not the actual war so if it had been left to my school education only I would not have known anything about concentration camps or even who won!

nymphadora Sat 05-Sep-09 07:12:37

We did socio- economic history of the Victorians/industrial revolution etc loads of politics which interested me. I did this twice though gcse/ a level which seemed a waste!

CheerfulYank Sat 05-Sep-09 07:20:02

Sighs. Mathanxiety, you're probably completely right about history classes here. The only reason I know anything about history is from reading historical fiction or watching a series like Rome and then going to the encyclopedias to figure out what is fact and what isn't. Can anyone recommend some good books?

I'm tired of being an idiot!

passionfruity Sat 05-Sep-09 07:53:53

The most worrying thing for me is that schools don't teach any WOMEN'S history! (well, they didn't when I was at school 15 years ago).

Women have been 'airbrushed from history', which means that people today aren't aware of all the amazing things that women have done in the past - and this has a huge impact on the assumptions etc that we have about women in the present.

I studied history at a top 5 university and took a few modules in women's history - we learnt about women's role in the first and second world wars (anything from the Land Girls to women's war poetry to factory work to code breaking at Bletchley Park), education, suffrage, scientists, art, culture, women in the workforce, witchcraft etc. Fascinating stuff.

I also did a course in the philosophy of history where I heard the famous quotation "History is written by the winners" ie because the majority of history is written by wealthy European white men, most of the history we are taught is about such men (ie political, military etc history). So there's the answer to your question!

MaryMotherOfCheeses Sat 05-Sep-09 08:29:49

Are colonisation and the slave trade not on the curriculum these days or are you simply thinking they should be compulsory for all students?

Problem with history is that it's so vast you always have to select which stories to tell. I'd be interested in making sure history teachers have the capacity and flexibility to enthuse students to help them explore subjects and ideas outside the confines of school. [idealist]

retiredlady Sat 05-Sep-09 08:33:33

I am going to show my age again.

Now I do a bit about the Biafran War - south eastern corner of Nigeria. Ditto colonisation.

What exactly do you mean by truth. Wicked whitemen came and stole our Nigerian heritage or wonderful whitemen came to stamp out slavery.

franklymydear Sat 05-Sep-09 08:35:49

"truth about history"

hmmm - that's an interesting concept isn't it.

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