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.

IneedAgoldenNickname Sun 30-Dec-12 21:45:50

I saw the same story in the mail today. I wonder how they decide who is worthy of learning about, the people they are taking out of the curriculum are worthy IMO.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 21:48:20

YANBU. This is a bizarre way to teach history and incredibly stupid.

Btw 'returned' ... since when had Churchill gone away? It must have been a very brief absence since I tutored someone doing A Level last year who'd done the GCSE WWII option!

Anonymumous Sun 30-Dec-12 21:49:04

YANBU. It is also about Shouty Men.

OTheYuleManatee Sun 30-Dec-12 21:51:40

More facts, more connected narrative, less 'skills' that are useless without a grounding in facts - I fail to see what's not to like here.

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 21:51:44

"History" as a subject in school (to me at least) was less about learning about things that happened (and memorising them for pub quizzes) than it was about learning how to find out about things and how to assess evidence.

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 21:53:12

For example I don't need to remember the pieces of writing that we read, but I use every day the ability to look at something that is written down and think:
who wrote this?
who was their intended audience?
what did they hope to achieve by writing it?
what assumptions did they make, and do I agree with them?

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 21:54:52

How can you know what are 'facts' if you never learn how to assess historical documents? I agree with trills.

HollyBerryBush Sun 30-Dec-12 21:56:42

History is subjective, it is written by winners, not losers - look at poor old Richard III, totally dissed over by the Tudors, who must have the medieval equivalent of Max Clifford doing their press releases!

kim147 Sun 30-Dec-12 21:59:52

I just think they should watch Horrible Histories.

Events are fascinating - as are the people behind them. I just think that it's the wars and the Monarchy that get looked at rather than the progress made in social change.

The role of the Church, the development of science understanding, Renaissance, impact of technology. So much to cover. Development of democracy.

mathanxiety Sun 30-Dec-12 22:00:49

Yes of course there's more to it, but children need a framework they can fill out with more subtle evaluation, or with social or economic history or the history of ideas later in their school careers.

The 'connected narrative' approach Gove speaks of makes absolute sense to me (it is about the only thing he has said that makes sense to me I must add). For children to understand history and place trends in context they need to see a general drift and that involves facts and a sense of chronology, a beginning, middle and end (or arrival at modernity if you will).

This is how history was taught in Ireland, and I sometimes have a suspicion from threads here on MN that I know a heck of a lot more about British history than many Brits thanks to the 'beginning with the stone age and working your way forward chronologically' approach.

MsElleTow Sun 30-Dec-12 22:01:17

I wonder how they decide what gets taught and what doesn't?

I presumed Churchill was being taught about, because DS1(18 Yr13) knows so much about him, and History in general, but I have just asked DS2 (16Yr11) and he said they aren't taught about him. I guess DS1 must have read up about him, which fits really because he wants to do Histroy at Uni.

I wish History was a core subject, I think there is so much to be gained from learning about it, and how it influences what we are and how our lives are today.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 22:03:15

I think the chronological approach suits those whose brains work that way. Other approaches suit others. It should be possible to find a combination that's broad enough to suit everyone, and IMO this isn't it.

mathanxiety Sun 30-Dec-12 22:03:47

You can learn the more advanced skills when you are intellectually ready to do it. Document based teaching is wasted on primary age children. Enough at that phase to know that documentary and other evidence is the way 'history' is compiled.

mathanxiety Sun 30-Dec-12 22:05:02

The chronological approach works well because of the subject, imo.

kim147 Sun 30-Dec-12 22:08:44

I think it's what's covered that's important - but I have learnt a lot more about history since leaving school than at school.

And DS is teaching me a lot more thanks to HH.

The role of the Church seemed to be left out when at school - especially the more controversial aspects of its role.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 22:11:48

I know what you mean, math, but I think that it should be possible to give a sense of chronology, but not have it be bound to 'stories of famous men'.

I saw a proposal recently saying it'd be helpful to look at, for example, themes that run through history in different countries. That'd be chronological in part, but would also show how Britain has a lot of points of comparison with other countries.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 22:14:39

FWIW, I am a medievalist and I still have no idea why Henry II's dispute with Becket is terribly significant. I know why Tories and the Telegraph think it is - because it's one of those nice stories, like King Alfred Burning the Cakes, that they learned in the 50s. It has significance, but it would be much more useful to teach about continuities than about small snapshots of 'important people'.

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 22:16:52

Many of my historical "facts" come from reading Phillipa Gregory.

Luckily I have the grounding in figuring out what is accepted as true and what's made up for effect.

trapclap Sun 30-Dec-12 22:18:21

The Black Development Agency used to run a summer-school where we live, which gave history from a black perspective iirc...it is so eurocentric in schools

And I couldn't agree more...history at school was so boring, I learnt nothing...tis not till later I realised how interesting and relevant it is

Maryz Sun 30-Dec-12 22:20:15

You should come to Ireland hmm

History =

1. The nasty English subdue us
2. We rebel, and all the rebels (usually led by a priest) are shot/deported/whatever
3-8. Same as 2.
9. The famine
10-15. Same as 2.
16. We ignore WW1
17. Same as 2
18. We get our independence
19. We fight each other
20. We ignore WW2.

The end.

Maryz Sun 30-Dec-12 22:23:00

Personally, I think the most important thing is looking at one's own country in relation to all the other countries at the time.

I think our children need to learn about different persectives - how the attitude of the time was to American "indians" and Australian "aborigines" and to slavery and other social disasters.

We can't clean up history and we shouldn't try.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 22:28:08

I agree! I think that is really important.

(While, you understand, feeling a deep sense of guilt about what my mum's ancestors did to my dad's ...)

Vagaceratops Sun 30-Dec-12 22:28:08

I agree that Henry II's implication in the murder of Thomas Beckett is a bit of a non-story, but it does make a nice tale to tell, and keeps people coming to Canterbury.

Vagaceratops Sun 30-Dec-12 22:30:08

I also think History is important from the perspective of ordinary people. Its much more interesting to lean about William Davies, a factory worker from London who took part in the D-day landings than it is to learn about Churchill's experience of WW2.

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