Chatting to tom before going to school this morning I asked him what he was learning at school, he said he was learning about the great fire of london and explained to me about peeps, pudding lane etc. As he spoke I flashed back to my time at primary school and learning exactly the same thing. This train of thought led me to ponder aspects of the national cirriculumn, firstly is it healthy for our society for all children to be taught the same bits of history, there is quite a lot of history out there, would’nt it make more sense for different schools to teach whatever bits they thought relevent (within a loose framework). If nothing else it would give adolesents something to talk about :-). Now dont get me wrong i am a fan of the national cirriculumn especially when it comes to scientific subjects as its clear what topics must be covered to grow knowledge, science is a structured subject. Humanities are a less structured discipline so why give it structure?
Oh and in other news, I also pondered how/who decided what historical events should be taught .. .. .. a set of civil servants pondering the relative importance of historical events pah!
4 thoughts on “Selected history”
Where did you grow up then?
Only that I don’t recall studying the fire of london at primary school and wondered if that was in fact a local thing for london(ish)ers *&)
I don’t remember what history was taught at my primary school (if any) though. We did study the local history at high school as we looked at the slitten mill in the village and did quite a large piece on Styal Mill.
I remember us being told about the fire of London at primary school, and I grew up in Nottingham. We didn’t study it in detail, we just got told the basics about how it started in a bakery on Pudding Lane sometime in 1666.
Gloucester so sauf (ISH) but not near london
At least he’s being taught historical fact. Back when I was at school it was all “write an essay describing your day pretending you’re watching the vikings attack”. It was 4th year before the tricky topics of classes of sources turned up.
And hence history was a completely naff subject. I did quite well at it, but that’s because I can write fiction. History, largely, isn’t fiction. Interpretation, possibly, but there’s not a lot of fiction.
The odd “fact” showing up would be a Good Thing.
And then there’s the embarrassment about being British. The problem with that is that, trying to pretend that the industrial revolution was not something that we did first doesn’t work. And we DID used to run the world. And then there’s this whole scrabbling around, looking for things in the 1800s which were invented by someone who wasn’t British.
Frankly history would be a lot more interesting if it went back to be a rip-roaring tour of poisonings and plots and battles and kings.
At least kids would have a sense of where we came from, and why this country is the way it is. Mind you, it might also give them ideas which is probably why we don’t do it.