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#1 MJHB

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 10:48 AM

Hi,
I am currently studying towards a History BA with the OU, and am deciding on which options to take. I would like to specialise in Classical History, which would be 150 credits out of a total of 360. Another 60 each would be in Medieval to Modern 1400 - 1900 and Empire 1492 - 1975. The remaining 90 would be on humanities more generally. My intention would be to teach History with Classical Civ as another option. (secondary level).

Does the content of a History degree make a vast amount of difference, all other things being equal ? Would a more generalist route be more beneficial ?

I would be very grateful for any thoughts/suggestions.

Many thanks,

Matt

#2 john bassett

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 11:09 AM

Hi Matt,

I also took this route - don't know what courses are on offer now - but I did History for 5/6 and psychology for final year

John

#3 Jenjane

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 05:41 PM

I did Ancient History at uni and can say that pretty much none of the content has ever been useful! I think I can say that I have learned more content being a teacher than I ever did as a student. However I love sources, unlike my modern History colleagues and I think this gives me a bit of an advantage. Being realistic: no 2 schools teach the same history as there are soooo many options out there! Learn what you want and you will have done the best thing: cemented your love of History, which is actually what makes the best teacher and what the kids respond to the most.
Jane

#4 BarbaraH

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 05:59 PM

You will certainly learn more history through teaching than studying it, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that no two schools teach the same. You only have to look at how closely the various textbooks follow each other to see that there is a generally accepted core, with individual schools doing a few other topics which their staff particularly like. You'd be pushed to find a school which didn't teach quite a few of the follwoing: Romans, 1066, medieval life, Black Death, King John, Beckett, something about the Tudors - at least Henry VIII or Elizabeth, Civil War, slavery, WW1, WW2, Empire, Cold War, Hitler, USA either before or after WW2, Black Civil Rights.
Anyone want to claim they do something entirely different? Am happy to stand corrected!

#5 JohnDClare

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 07:37 PM

You will certainly learn more history through teaching than studying it, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that no two schools teach the same. You only have to look at how closely the various textbooks follow each other to see that there is a generally accepted core, with individual schools doing a few other topics which their staff particularly like. You'd be pushed to find a school which didn't teach quite a few of the follwoing: Romans, 1066, medieval life, Black Death, King John, Beckett, something about the Tudors - at least Henry VIII or Elizabeth, Civil War, slavery, WW1, WW2, Empire, Cold War, Hitler, USA either before or after WW2, Black Civil Rights.
Anyone want to claim they do something entirely different? Am happy to stand corrected!

This is a wonderful post and point, because it highlights that one of the biggest problems about the 'what-should-the-history-curriculum-include' debate is that we are not really sure what IS being taught in schools.
I am not aware of any study which has collected this information - or is there something out there I don't know about?

It strikes me as rather important that - before Simon Schama and the others start judging what History teachers are teaching - we should establish what they are teaching.

#6 Sally Thorne

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 02:25 PM

You'd be pushed to find a school which didn't teach quite a few of the follwoing: Romans, 1066, medieval life, Black Death, King John, Beckett, something about the Tudors - at least Henry VIII or Elizabeth, Civil War, slavery, WW1, WW2, Empire, Cold War, Hitler, USA either before or after WW2, Black Civil Rights.
Anyone want to claim they do something entirely different? Am happy to stand corrected!


Not claiming difference, just measuring myself against the list ;) the ones we teach are bolded.

We also teach Ancient Civilisations, Vlad the Impaler, a local History unit about the town and surrounding area (ancient Wiltshire etc), a bit of Art History, entertainment through time, the 60s, and the development of democracy. And Industrial Revolution which I'm sure you meant to include on your list.

My degree was exclusively in east European History and it hasn't caused me any problems. I have yet to meet a PGCE student who isn't panicking that their lack of subject knowledge will hold them back, but equally I have never come across one who has struggled.

#7 BarbaraH

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 02:36 PM

Certainly did mean to include the industrial revolution! And suffragettes. Am sure there are other things I've forgotten. Yours is the sort of pattern I would expect - a large part of the 'core' with some additions which are either locally relevant or of particular interest to the staff within the school.
Sadly I think a lot of schools teach Jack the Ripper - I've never really been able to see the historical relevance of this as a topic.

#8 john bassett

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 02:53 PM

Sadly I think a lot of schools teach Jack the Ripper - I've never really been able to see the historical relevance of this as a topic.


Totally agree - my daughter has just done this at her school as an elongated murder mystery.

If they had included the growth of cities, problems of law and order, the formation of the police force, I would have been happier.

Instead you get a lot of boys who seem to enjoy the fact that prostitutes were murdered in a grisly manner in a grisly manor.

#9 Jenjane

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 04:00 PM

If you have just done the CA part Bi and ii on Jack the Ripper with Edexcel you actually could have been mistaken that was an English language essay rather than any of the above. I congratulate Edexcel in selecting 2 of the most dull represenations to have ever been compared on Jack the Ripper! But I think that's another thread...

On the plus side for JtR I do enjoy the way that you can teach it though sources, especially the cartoons/images from newspapers: focussing on the sources available to the police rather than who it was (futile anyway as there is no answer)and it makes utility and reliability really clear in this situation.
Jane

#10 MJHB

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 09:24 AM

Thank you all for your valid input: very reassuring ! I shall continue with my intended route, much relieved !

#11 Sally Thorne

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 01:28 PM

Sadly I think a lot of schools teach Jack the Ripper - I've never really been able to see the historical relevance of this as a topic.


I forgot, we do have a Jack the Ripper unit in year 9 as well. It focuses on racism in 19th century Britain, rather than just being a grisly romp though some murders. I don't teach it though; I usually set an independent project on a topic of their choice for the last half term in year 8 and 9.

#12 jennyg

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 07:21 PM

I never studied modern history at school or university, except for a speciality in African decolonisation and independence. I'm desperately angling for greater inclusion of 'world' history in our curriculum, which seems dominated by Hitler and twentieth century international relations.

The greatest thing I learnt at university was how to learn a topic quickly. I had no experience of any of the topics I taught during my PGCE and when this includes A2 (the English Civil War and Hitler), it can be a little daunting. Even this year, I found myself keeping one step ahead of my AS (twentieth century British politics) and A2 classes (the League of Nations). They had no idea, because the skills are what make you good at teaching history - and they can always look up what you don't know!




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