Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Radio programme: The Teaching of History in British Schools


  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 David Bryant

David Bryant

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • 290 posts

Posted 15 October 2011 - 09:36 PM

Recently listened to 'Archive on 4: The Red Bits are British - The Teaching of History in British Schools'. The BBC web page can be found here.

Presented by David Cannadine, this is one of the fruits of the Institute of Historical Research project on the teaching of History in English state secondary schools during the past century. Mostly from oral historieas given by pupils, teachers and policy-makers, with much of the material, unsurprisingly, related to the period after the Second World War. The first half of the programme focused on the whether History teaching was an agent of British imperialism. The rest looked at developments in the history curriculum and teaching methods since the 1960s, as well as clips from such fictional teachers as Miss Jean Brodie and Mr Irwin (from 'The History Boys'). Among those heard were Simon Schama, Kenneth Baker and our own John D. Clare.

I would be interested to hear what other people thought. It is repeated on Monday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. which is hardly peak listenting time for teachers. You can, however, 'listen again' for seven days from today, 15th October 2011.

#2 Giles Falconer

Giles Falconer

    Long-term Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 703 posts

Posted 16 October 2011 - 08:44 AM

Thanks for the link - just listened to it.

Having been teaching for 30 years a lot of the resources/arguments/voices in the latter part of the programme were familiar to me...sometimes in a welcome way, at other times as if from a nightmare I thought I'd forgotten! Particularly nice to hear JDC in person (never actually heard him speak before, despite having read much he has written!) And since David Cannadine led the project, I am sure it was balanced and rigorous...but I couldn't help wondering just how much it, or any survey, can truly cover all the variety of history teaching that exists, and has existed. Were we really so straight-jacketed by the introduction of the NC, for example? Did we all use the facile examples of empathy quoted by Chris McGovern? Did we all teach using 'How we Lived then'? I know I didn't (probably showed less than 10 episodes of it in my whole career...), nor did all my lessons turn into empathy with words put into the mouths of the dead...

One definite recommendation from Canndine and the others he speaks to is continuing History for all to 16 - now part of me says 'great', but - and it is a big 'but' I think - do we really want to teach the current GCSEs to all students? All of the courses I know seem to be far more aimed at the more able end of the spectrum, and anecdotal evidence (such as other posts on this forum) suggest that even teaching GCSEs to younger pupils can prove difficult without ending up with poor results. While league tables continue to exist history departments could end up as the whipping boys for SLTs if their results were thought to 'ruin' a school's results...In reality extension to 16 for all will require new courses, I think. And is anyone planning for this now? 'May you live in interesting times' may, actually not be an ancient curse, but it does seem appropriate given the challenges that may well face the next generation of history teachers as mine shuffles off into the 'old codgers' section of the staffroom...

#3 Richard Kennett

Richard Kennett

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 16 posts

Posted 18 October 2011 - 04:16 PM

I was recommended this by numerous people and have now recommended it to my entire department. What a fab little summary of the history of history teaching. The publication date of the paperback version of the book that explains the full research has been put back by Amazon every two weeks since May, very annoying!

Love Cannadine's point though that not only have history teachers at the start of the twentieth century not glorified Empire, but in fact some didn't teach it at all or taught that it was a bad thing. I love the tradition of left-wing history teachers!

#4 alf wilkinson

alf wilkinson

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 24 posts

Posted 20 October 2011 - 08:09 AM

We do live in interesting times! David Cannadine is giving the key note talk at the Historical Association's Annual Conference in Reading May 11th and 12th 2012. His research is rigorous, and he has consulted widely. I'm sure the discussion will influence Simon Schama and his report to Gove. By January we should know if history is to be one of the core subjects. There is a lot of discussion about making history compulsory to 16 - something personally I favour, because it then frees you from the Yr 9 C20th World/GCSE C20th World conundrum. There are plenty of moves afoot to provide courses more relevant than current GCSEs for lower ability students. The HA is working with ASDAN to produce a history-specific course, OCR is relaunching the 'pilot' GCSE as a Level 1/Level 2 qualification, and I'm sure the other exam boards are doing the same. It is a time of flux, and we are in a position to influence the way things go. Simon Schama is listening to history teachers. The history community is [mostly] talking to each other about what kind of history they would like to see taught in schools. And of course, with every school an Academy, no-one will need follow the National Curriculum anyway!

Edited by alf wilkinson, 20 October 2011 - 08:10 AM.

Alf Wilkinson: www.burntcakes.com

#5 Norman Pratt

Norman Pratt

    Advanced Member

  • Validating
  • PipPipPip
  • 149 posts

Posted 20 October 2011 - 11:16 AM

I thought it was a great programme, with interesting insights, and fairly balanced. However, it missed the chance to help detoxify the debate, by implying that so much History teaching was 'extreme', one way or another. I found Chris McGovern's irritated dismissal of all the 'filters' of different points of view alarming. But the embedding of this particular 'gobbet' in the narrative of the programme somehow made his point sound reasonable – which I found even more alarming. Similarly, and equally funny in its way, was Lord Baker claiming he was saving History - when in fact part of his plan was to ban the mention of anything in History that happened within the last 20 years– a rule that could have made History, well, history.

Edited by Norman Pratt, 20 October 2011 - 11:17 AM.


#6 Mark H.

Mark H.

    Long-term Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 958 posts

Posted 26 February 2012 - 08:45 AM

Cannadine was one of my lecturers at University. He was very entertaining but spoke so fast that it was impossible to take notes unless you had advanced Pitman shorthand. He didn't give out handouts either , if I recall correctly, so his methods would probably not have impressed a modern Ofsted inspector!
In memory of my boyhood hero Jim Clark (1936-1968): 'Chevalier Sans Peur et Sans Reproche'.

#7 David Bryant

David Bryant

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • 290 posts

Posted 26 February 2012 - 11:58 AM

Cannadine was one of my lecturers at University. He was very entertaining but spoke so fast that it was impossible to take notes unless you had advanced Pitman shorthand. He didn't give out handouts either , if I recall correctly, so his methods would probably not have impressed a modern Ofsted inspector!


However, as we all well know, universities don't have to worry about OFSTED. I'm not sure quality of teaching is necessarily that high on the list of priorities nowadays either.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users