Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Teaching History

The teaching of history in schools is hugely controversial.  Rightwing people want it to be all about Nelson and Churchill. Leftwing people want it to be all about the slave trade and the chartists.  Apparently the current solution is to dodge aside from the fire fight and make it all about Hitler- because everyone can agree about the rights and wrongs of him.

Quite apart from the politics- or the lack of a "common culture" as Martin Kettle has it- there's the problem of just how much history there is to teach- 3,000 years of it and counting (that is if you don't include prehistory, which archaeology is making less and less opaque).  So your grandkids know lots about Martin Luther King and nothing about Martin Luther? Yup, that's bad- but would you really want it the other way round? And where are you going to find time in a highly pressurized curriculum to make sure they learn about both? 
Are there things that should absolutely be in the syllabus?  Probably. But I don't know what they are, because I can think of so many.

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