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Teaching Black and Asian History in Schools


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#1 Dan Lyndon

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 08:34 PM

Who is the better known? Emperor Augustus or Septimius Severus? Florence Nightingale or Mary Seacole? There's no contest. Augustus and Nightingale get star billings in most popular histories, while Severus and Seacole are at best consigned to the footnotes…Black history is largely neglected in British schools ... all that most schoolchildren hear about is the slave trade of the 18th and 19th centuries. The Guardian October 5, 1999.

History teachers [are] urged to include imperial past … the story of the British empire has been airbrushed out of history … it should be at the core of what we teach people about modern British history (Dr Niall Ferguson) … we have school after school doing week after week of British social history and only one week on the empire. In terms of significance, that isn’t enough (Scott Harrison, head of history for Ofsted) The Guardian July 5, 2003.

It seems almost uncanny to have woken up this morning knowing that I was going to write this seminar and then open my newspaper over the breakfast table to find the second of the articles cited above staring at me over my ‘Special K’. What I intended to argue in this seminar was that Black and Asian British History should become one of the prescribed elements of the National Curriculum. It seems that (indirectly through the vehicle of ‘empire’) my ideas have chimed with a wide spectrum of contemporary historians.

If one of the assumptions of the National Curriculum was that all students should be prepared for “life in a multicultural society” (NCC 1990 p.2), then History has a strong responsibility for this. Departments should lead their schools in putting forward a curriculum that reflects the fact that Britain in the 21st century is a multicultural society and has been for thousands of years. In ‘Minority Ethnic Pupils in Mainly White Schools’ Tony Cline et al argue that ‘mainly white schools do not adequately prepare their pupils for life in a society that is culturally and ethnically diverse’ They then state that this ‘is unlikely to change unless greater priority is given to that goal in … curriculum development’.

There has been a failure by government, QCA, Ofsted and schools to develop a curriculum that reflects the Black and Asian experience in Britain and how it has shaped our current position. To be sure the National Curriculum for History stipulates that there must be units of European and World History, but my experience of teaching topics such as ‘the crusades’ or ‘black people of the Americas’ has been unsatisfactory – often crammed in at the end of the year, and limited in the ways in which the content can be related to the student’s own experiences. Why black peoples of the Americas instead of black peoples of Britain? students ask.

Niall Ferguson’s argument that ‘empire’ has been neglected from the curriculum can be addressed by using this as a vehicle to demonstrate the ways in which Britain developed into a multicultural country hundreds of years before the SS Windrush docked in Southampton in 1948; the study of Elizabethan England can be enhanced by a debate about her proposal to repatriate the ‘Blackmoores’ that were living in poverty and begging. This can be compared to contemporary arguments about immigration and asylum seekers. The study of the Chartists and the Cato Street Conspirators can be enlivened by the stories of William Cuffay and William Davidson respectively (see their entries on John Simkin’s Spartacus website). Fabrics patterned and styled along Indian lines were produced by British manufacturers across the Midlands and Yorkshire. These are but a few illustrative examples.

Black and Asian British History is not separate but integral to our history. It is not something that should be tagged on as an afterthought; it should pervade throughout the curriculum.

As well as raising the awareness of all students of the Black and Asian presence in Britain, the teaching of Black and Asian British History can be an effective tool for challenging the underachievement of ethnic minority students. Only 30% of pupils from black Caribbean families achieved 5 or more A*-C grades, Black African pupils 40% and Bangladeshi 45% (Institute of Race Relations 2003) As QCA argue, the multicultural ‘approach … enables young people from minority ethnic groups to identify with the curriculum and engage in the learning process, with the desired outcome of raising their educational attainment’.

My own experience of teaching in a multicultural school in London confirms this. I believe that one of the best ways to raise a student’s level of achievement is to make the history that they learn relevant to their lives. Whether this is through comparative examples – the genocide in Rwanda and the genocide against the Jews in the Holocaust; the crusades of the 11th and 12th centuries compared to the current conflicts in the Middle East – or by identifying the influence that Black and Asian people have had on key events in British history – the role of black abolitionists, the impact of Indian textile techniques on the textiles of the industrial revolution, the black chartists - all contribute to a sense of belonging and ownership of our collective history. One of the highlights of my year is hearing the response from students (of all races) to the events that have been organised for Black History Month every October. Students feel that their experience is being reflected in their school and their motivation and aspirations soar. If only this was an everyday experience.

Until recently the dearth of resources for teaching Black and Asian British History has meant that teachers have had to rely on their own interest in the topics to carry out the research and produce classroom material. Although there were obvious exceptions: Individuals such as Olaudah Equiano, Ignatius Sancho and Ottabah Cugoano have been more thoroughly documented. The BBC made a good schools programme on Equiano while individuals such as Martin Spafford and Marika Sherwood’s have produced excellent resource books including ‘Whose freedom were Africans, Caribbeans and Indians defending in World War II?’.

However a lack of resources is now no longer an acceptable reason for not teaching Black and Asian British history. The Internet has many excellent sites which offer fantastic resources for the classroom teacher. The National Archives has taken a massive lead in producing an almost definitive guide to the pre-1850 presence of Black and Asian people in Britain:

http://www.pro.gov.u...story/index.htm
The National Archive, pathways to the past, Black presence: Asian and Black History in Britain 1500-1850.

http://lmal.org.uk/p...avigationID=161
The London Museums Archives and Libraries Black History resources for schools.

http://www.irr.org.u...tory/index.html
The Institute for Race Relations Black History resources

http://www.be-me.org/body.asp
The Black and Ethnic Minority experience archive

Now is the time to address the fact that Black and Asian British history has been ‘hidden’ for too long and find a place for it at the heart of our curriculum.
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#2 Andrew Field

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 10:30 PM

This is an excellent start - thank you. Really interesting with some great new links. I thoroughly agree with your final point.

I don't wish to draw this seminar into anything related to George Bush (so please don't!), but it's interesting that the day this is published here, the US President is also trying to do his bit - http://news.bbc.co.u...ica/3055050.stm


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Posted 08 July 2003 - 11:00 PM

the US President is also trying to do his bit -

I suspect the Shrub's motives are less honourable than you imply

Edit: by Andrew Field. I most certainly didn't imply he had any honourable motives. A quote from a related BBC page sums it up - "intended to send a powerful message to black electors who could well help decide the next American presidential election. "

Black and Asian British History is not separate but integral to our history. It is not something that should be tagged on as an afterthought; it should pervade throughout the curriculum


I agree wholeheartedly, but the History NC written as it was by a group of appalling Nazis offers us only tokenism. That said, there is no legal compunction to cover ALL the units of the NC - why then do we as teachers spend so much time on white British history? At best we are timid, at worst far worse.

Edited by Andrew Field, 08 July 2003 - 11:09 PM.


#4 Carole Faithorn

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 12:09 AM

I find little to add to Dan's article. It is deplorable that the contribution made to our History by Black and Asian people has largely been ignored for so long, and I regret that I have contributed to this. Lack of time and access to suitable resources may have been a deterrent in the past, but is certainly no excuse now given the resources that Dan mentions.

Andy thinks "timidity or worse" are to blame for the situation and in some cases I suppose he is right but I suspect that ignorance has rather more to do with it. History teachers who have never learned about the part played by Black and Asian people in our History are unlikely to feel confident about such topics themselves.

What opportunities are there to study relevant topics as part of a degree course? If I think back to the way in which 'Womens' History' used to be ignored (and no doubt still is in some schools) there are clear parallels to be drawn. It was only when the contribution that women have made started to be studied at University and as female historians became respected that topics like Women's suffrage began to be taught in schools. When I was at school (all girls grammar/all female staff) in the late '50s/early'60s not once was any reference made to the contribution made by women. We were airbrushed out of the History textbooks..... and to some extent still are.

This isn't just a matter of 'appalling Nazis' (a b****y stupid thing to say if I may say so Andy) writing the History curriculum, it's more to do with ignorance and lack of empathy.

#5 Richard Drew

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 06:37 AM

If one of the assumptions of the National Curriculum was that all students should be prepared for “life in a multicultural society” (NCC 1990 p.2), then History has a strong responsibility for this. Departments should lead their schools in putting forward a curriculum that reflects the fact that Britain in the 21st century is a multicultural society and has been for thousands of years. In ‘Minority Ethnic Pupils in Mainly White Schools’ Tony Cline et al argue that ‘mainly white schools do not adequately prepare their pupils for life in a society that is culturally and ethnically diverse’ They then state that this ‘is unlikely to change unless greater priority is given to that goal in … curriculum development’.

i am reminded of an interesting discussion i was part of on my PGCE a couple of years ago. our lecturer was asking us to reflect on whether the amount to black and asian history that should be taught in a school ought to reflect the ethnic mix of the school - i.e. if this premise was accepted schools with few or no ethnic minority pupils (there are many in the south wales valleys!) would need to pay less attention to this aspect of history than schools with greater ethnic diversity.

i wonder what vievs on this members of the forum have?
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#6 John Simkin

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 07:01 AM

Carole is right to compare the situation with the debate that went on about women’s history in the 1970s. I remember one discussion that took place at the History Workshop Conference (an organization set up to promote the teaching of working class and women’s history). Carol Adams argued that the situation will only improve when good resources are available and the topic is fully integrated into the exam system.

A lack of good resources is part of the problem but the issue of how you teach black history is also a factor in this. In the 1980s Carol Adams and her supporters produced several topic books on women’s history. The problem with this approach is that only the committed purchased these resources. I also thought that the most important strategy was to fully represent the role of women in mainstream textbooks. In this way you have an influence over the teaching of those less sympathetic to the need to teach women’s history.

The same can be said about the way we teach black history. I noted that at the SHP conference there was a workshop on “Black Heroes of the Industrial Revolution”. However, only four people signed up for it and therefore the workshop has probably has had little impact on the teaching of the subject.

How then we can integrate black history into the curriculum? Teachers have several opportunities to look at the role black people played in events that appear on the traditional history curriculum.

For example, when looking at the struggle for equal rights you can study William Davidson and the Cato Street Conspiracy. He was also one of the first black man in Britain to be fitted up for a crime he probably did not commit and died a terrible death.

When studying the struggle for the vote it is also important to look at the case of the Chartist William Cuffay. Like Davidson he was fitted up by the government and was deported to Tasmania for 21 years. When he was released he became involved in radical politics and trade union issues and played an important role in persuading the authorities to amend the Master and Servant Law in the colony.

The First World War provides another opportunity to study black heroes. Walter Tull, joined Tottenham Hotspur in 1908 and therefore became only the second black man to play professional football in Britain. The first was Arthur Walton, the Preston goalkeeper.

On the outbreak of the First World War Tull immediately abandoned his career and offered his services to the British Army. The Army soon recognised Tull's leadership qualities and he was quickly promoted to the rank of sergeant. In 1917 he became first ever black officer in the British Army. 2nd Lieutenant Tull was killed while leading an attack across No Mans Land in 1918.

It is also worth looking at the careers of Britain’s first black MPs: Dadabhait Naorji (Finsbury, 1892-1895) and Mancherjee Bhownaggree (Bethnal Green, 1895-1906).

I believe it is important that we should challenge the way that history has been represented in the past. For example, when studying Florence Nightingale we should also look at Mary Seacole. Nightingale is often used as a way of showing how women could make their mark in a male dominated society. However, her story also tells us a great deal about race and class.

Mary Seacole, an expert on disease, travelled from Jamaica to England in 1853 when she heard about the cholera epidemic that had emerged during the Crimean War. Her offer of help was rejected by the British Army. Soon afterwards, Florence Nightingale, who had little practical experience of cholera, was chosen to take a team of thirty-nine nurses to treat the sick soldiers. Mary Seacole now applied to join Nightingale's team but was once again rejected.

Unwilling to accept defeat, Mary paid for her own trip to the Crimea and started up a business called the British Hotel, a few miles from the battlefront. Here she sold food and drink to the British soldiers. With the money she earned from her business Mary was able to finance the medical treatment she gave to the soldiers.

It is very important that when studying black history they are not portrayed as victims. A classic example of this is the topic of slavery. Nearly all school textbooks feature the role played by William Wilberforce in this struggle. Very few of these authors point out that until just before he died Wilberforce was in favour of slavery (he was a campaigner against the slave-trade which is not the same thing although most textbook authors think it is). As Wilberforce pointed out in a pamphlet that he wrote in 1807: "It would be wrong to emancipate (the slaves). To grant freedom to them immediately, would be to insure not only their masters' ruin, but their own. They must (first) be trained and educated for freedom."

Textbook authors also give the impression that Wilberforce was motivated by a sense of religious morality. In fact, Wilberforce had been converted to the campaign by Adam Smith who argued that capitalists could obtain higher profits from free workers than slaves (Smith provided plenty of examples from the costs of production of sugar, etc. throughout the British Empire).

Although it is important to study Wilberforce when dealing with the slave trade it is also important to look at the role of others like Elizabeth Heyrick(Wilberforce refused to allow women hold senior positions in the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade), Olaudah Equiano, Ottabah Cugoanoand Zamba Zembola. It is also worth looking at those freed slaves from the United States who travelled to England to campaign against slavery. For example, people like Frederick Douglass, a great role model for young blacks.

Edited by John Simkin, 09 July 2003 - 07:07 AM.


#7 Elle

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 07:15 AM

Slightly off the topic, but did anybody watch "redcoats and rebels" last night? There was the interesting piece of info given that one of the first people killed by the British Army in the run up to revolution was of african/native american descent, however the engraving done of the event by Paul Revere showed him as white.

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#8 John Simkin

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 08:17 AM

I am reminded of an interesting discussion I was part of on my PGCE a couple of years ago. our lecturer was asking us to reflect on whether the amount to black and asian history that should be taught in a school ought to reflect the ethnic mix of the school - i.e. if this premise was accepted schools with few or no ethnic minority pupils (there are many in the south wales valleys!) would need to pay less attention to this aspect of history than schools with greater ethnic diversity.

I hope you asked him if this rule should apply to all aspects of history teaching? Should we also reflect the percentage of white upper-class students in the school in our teaching. If so, we would get plenty of time to study working-class history, another area that is much neglected in our schools.

Edited by John Simkin, 09 July 2003 - 08:17 AM.


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Posted 09 July 2003 - 10:49 AM

This isn't just a matter of 'appalling Nazis' (a b****y stupid thing to say if I may say so Andy) writing the History curriculum,  it's more to do with ignorance and lack of empathy.

:ouch: In the light of this timely reprimand from Matron perhaps someone could shed some light on the actual political leanings and motives of the original team who wrote the history National Curriculum?

#10 Dan Lyndon

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 11:31 AM

Before we get too sidetracked, can I raise a few points from the interesting discussion that has arisen so far:

I am reminded of an interesting discussion i was part of on my PGCE a couple of years ago. our lecturer was asking us to reflect on whether the amount to black and asian history that should be taught in a school ought to reflect the ethnic mix of the school - i.e. if this premise was accepted schools with few or no ethnic minority pupils (there are many in the south wales valleys!) would need to pay less attention to this aspect of history than schools with greater ethnic diversity.


This is an important point that Richard makes - I would strongly argue that the inclusion of Black and Asian British history is vitally important in schools with few or no ethnic minority students. Schools are not isolated bubbles; part of our role (outlined in the NCC /QCA quotes in the seminar) is to educate our pupils for life in the outside world. The reality today is that most metropolitan / urban areas have some ethnic minority population. History teachers (amongst others) need to challenge the stereotypes / preconceived ideas about ethnic minorities that exist in our society. I would argue that the tension over race relations that led to events such as the Bradford / oldham riots may have been averted had the communities involved had a greater understanding and respect for our shared history. I read a posting recently (I think by John [not Simkin]) that involved a discussion about the BNP boycotting David Beckham because he has a Jewish grandparent - if there had been some discussion in the History classroom about the contribution that ethnic minorities have made to this country then groups like the BNP would not be able to breakout even further from the foothold they are establishing at the moment.

Elle has raised a valuable point, which links in with John Simkin's and Carole's postings about resources. Not only does Elle highlight the lack of knowledge that we have about our fellow African / Asian British citizens, but it also shows the legacy of slavery / imperialism / racism that existed in the past and still continues today. We should know about this soldier already, it should not be something that we are learning for the first time now.The benefit of the Internet is that we can discover new histories and we SHOULD be using this knowledge in the classroom.
There has been a much greater drive on Television / textbooks to include history that had, until recently been 'hidden' (W/C, ethnic minority, women, gay, disabled), which is encouraging - I forgot to mention John D Clare's work on the Raj in India and Olaudah Equiano / Slavery in the Hodder series new worlds into old, which has some excellent activities and details.
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#11 John

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 11:53 AM

So it reasonable to assume that Asian and Black history has been neglected in the NC. It is also resonable to assume that Women's history has been neglected, as working class history has been neglected, as Welsh, Scottish and Irish history has been neglected. Therefore whose history do we actually teach in schools? If your an ethinic minority living in Britain, a female, working class, Scottish, Welsh or Irish, then your access to history has been curtailed. A fundimental failure in my opinion.

Even if the N.C curriculum covered every aspect of world culture, someone could could still stand up and claim they were being neclected. The Chinese community of Manchester has not been mentioned. The Croatian community of Watford or the Polish community of Cardif. There is too much stress on the system for all these histories to be summed up in one document 30 pages long and too little time is given to history teaching schools, to allow children foster a belief in a compemtory multiculturalism. But there is the aim, to stop racial tension through good history teaching and promote muliculturalism.

If we really wanted this happen then a new curriculum needs to considered, which works in harmony with all the socially excluded people of Britain. Is this ever going to happen? The answer is painfully, No. The system needs to relie on history teachers, whom, in which ever community they work and practice in are allowed the freedom to teach what syllabus they see fit and are not constrained by documentation. This arguement leads back to my comments on 'professionalism' in education. If history teachers were to be really considered 'professional,' then they would have far more freedom to manipulate a syallabus to their own community. Hence we would have a fair reflection of culture, inter related to community ideals in culturally diverse areas, in the history classroom. History teaching would no longer reflect the white middle class ideals of Whitehall, but the community, country and area of Britain that teacher and pupils were from.

In Gloddick, Oldham, the epicentre of the riots in Lancashire two years ago, my mother works in Asian primary school that is constantly working to these goals. It could be achieved in secondary schools. The school is fantastic example of what I have just outlined. They only have one problem, however, that is all the teachers who work at the school are middle aged white women.
Without a fair representation of ethnicity in the teaching profession then we can all kiss goodbye to multicultural Britain. A new tolerant Briatin. Inside education lip service is always paid to these issues but never followed through, or to the extent which we can see real change.

Then there are a whole host of other problems in areas such as Oldham. Poverty is the main issue, and to be specific, the enforced poverty of the Black and Asian community through the white hands of the local government. Policies of discrimination have been standard practice in Oldham, ever since these communities were brought to Lancashire to work as slave labour in the textile factories of the Pennies. Inside these factories the Asian and Black workers had no chance to practice professions or apprenticeships they were there to lift and carry. They were segregated in terms of housing and education. Which in itself reflects the entire relationship that Britain has had towards other nations and other races. I didn't need to go to India in the 1910's to see British people explotiting Indian people, I just walked down my street in 1990's when I growing up.

There has been no real fundimental shift these ideas of the British government. Britain to almost every Parliamentarian means 'white' middle class Britain. This is where the votes a kept and whom politicians must pander to keep power. Social excluded people are socially excluded for reasons. The goverenment has a lot to lose by reversing these trends. Not is five years, but fifty years in the future, when mulicultural Britain will eradicate Middle Class Britain and traditional power bases of the 'elites' in our country.

Racism is everywhere in our country. The police force has been condemed as 'institutionally racist.' The Army is racist organisation. And through no fault of its own Education displays all the hall marks of racist environment. There was one Asian lady on our P.G.C.E, who had to quit because all she got was racist comments, everday from white children. And why should she work through all that hastle, just to perpetuate historical emprical themes which in probabilty are going to dominate our culture forever.

Everyone will disagree with me over my last point: You cannot blame ethnic minorities in Britain for saying "we want our own schools." I personally support empowerment to people who have been excluded from active social participation and I would be tempted to say 'Well set up your own school and see if you can't empower the children of your community to break through the all the barriers in the country you now find yourselves in.'

Edited by John, 09 July 2003 - 12:06 PM.


#12 John Simkin

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 11:55 AM

In the light of this timely reprimand from Matron perhaps someone could shed some light on the actual political leanings and motives of the original team who wrote the history National Curriculum?

I have written about this at:

http://www.schoolhis...topic=1497&st=0

I would also recommend Robert Phillips’ book History Teaching, Nationhood and the State (Cassell, 1998) for a detailed account of this process.

However, the problem is not with the National Curriculum. It is with the textbook authors (with honourable exceptions) and with the vast majority of history teachers who do not think deeply enough about this issue. Unfortunately, they are unlikely to be taking part in this debate and so we will probably end up preaching to the converted.

#13 Dan Lyndon

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 01:40 PM

I suspect that ignorance has rather more to do with it. History teachers who have never learned about the part played by Black and Asian people in our History are unlikely to feel confident about such topics themselves.

What opportunities are there to study relevant topics as part of a degree course? If I think back to the way in which 'Womens' History' used to be ignored (and no doubt still is in some schools) there are clear parallels to be drawn.

I also wanted to respond to the above points raised by Carole (but ran out of time in the lunch hour!):

quote 1: We are in danger of creating a self fulfilling prophecy here - unless a more proactive step is taken to fully integrate Black and Asian British History into the curriculum, other than as a tag on for Black History Month / a few units of 'non-british' history, then we will not be creating the teachers of the future who feel 'confident' enough or interested enough to teach these topics in the future.

quote 2: I find this particularly interesting as someone who did a joint honours B.A. in History and African / Asian Studies and an M.A. which specialised in suffrage history. The courses are out there, I guess you just need to dig a bit deeper (but as good historians we should be able to!). I desperately wanted to get away from British / european History when I left school and the courses that I took reflected this; South Africa before and after apartheid, Mau Mau, the Victorians and race, Ireland after the famine - and I have been able to use this knowledge in my classroom - I actually knew very little / had forgotten most of my 'British' history and had to (re)teach myself as I went along.

I wrote this seminar for two reasons - firstly because it is a topic that interests me and secondly it is a topic that is important and relevant for the future of the History curriculum in schools.

To comment on John's introduction, I believe that your argument

Even if the N.C curriculum covered every aspect of world culture, someone could could still stand up and claim they were being neclected. The Chinese community of Manchester has not been mentioned. The Croatian community of Watford or the Polish community of Cardiff


is in danger of 'reducto ad absurdum' (?!) the point is not to address every single ethnic grouping, the point is to include a more inclusive history. There will be elements of the Asian / African experience of immigration, for example, that the 'Chinese community of Manchester' could respond to, whilst the working class community of the same city would also be able to draw on their shared experiences of work etc.

Edited by Dan Lyndon, 09 July 2003 - 01:42 PM.

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#14 Paul Smith

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 02:17 PM

I'm beginning to sound like a cracked record, but in terms of post 16 the IB offers (offered) a lot more in terms of Black and Asian History.

I moved in somewhat similar direction to Dan at Uni - seeking all possible non- Eurocentric options - African History and Third World Politics included.

When I was selecting the options for AS/A2 it distressed me just how "traditional" they were. Acknowledging the impact of market forces in post-16 education I still sought options that included some Black/Asian material. So I am doing Unit H of AQA with decolonisation as part of AS and Vietnam as part of A2 (and yes I know that a lot of the material is US centred - why they got involved, why they lost) In three years of doing this option I have found only two other centres who chose it.

Am I making an assumption that one of the reasons for the indifferent take up of History at advanced level is this ethnocentricity. I discussed the matter with my colleague who is Head of Sociology(and an Asian woman). She confirmed that sociological research has shown that black and asian students perceive certain subjects as ethnocentric and choose not to take them. History is one of them. Further still, if the course content is more black/asian "friendly" they are still suspicious as it is perceived as being delivered from a white male perspective.

As I leave my current post, my successor has moved to Edexcel, - Lenin, Hitler and the English Civil War - much more suited to rural middle-England don't yer think.

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#15 Richard Drew

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 04:10 PM

I am reminded of an interesting discussion I was part of on my PGCE a couple of years ago. our lecturer was asking us to reflect on whether the amount to black and asian history that should be taught in a school ought to reflect the ethnic mix of the school - i.e. if this premise was accepted schools with few or no ethnic minority pupils (there are many in the south wales valleys!) would need to pay less attention to this aspect of history than schools with greater ethnic diversity.

I hope you asked him if this rule should apply to all aspects of history teaching? Should we also reflect the percentage of white upper-class students in the school in our teaching. If so, we would get plenty of time to study working-class history, another area that is much neglected in our schools.

i did raise a couple of issues with HER:

for example, should i teach less 'womens history' (horrible phrase i know) to a class with a prevelance of boys in?

although the killer argument was this:

"should we teach less welsh history in areas closs to the border with england that have less pupils of welsh descent and many of english descent in them" (- for example Chepstow has a lot of pupils from families from the west country, whose parents work in Bristol, they shop in Bristol, support bristol football teams etc)

the answer to this was a definite no, so i merely added that the same should apply across all such areas :D :)
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