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Teaching History in Sweden


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#16 BRSpruce

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Posted 26 October 2003 - 11:53 AM

The course at Canterbury does have a very storng commitment to ICT usage
in History lessons. I think our tutor has been heavily influenced by the work of Christine Counsell in this matter.
>
All PGCE students are required to complete an ICT audit highlighting our
present skill levels & providing gaps that we can then work on over the
year. This audit then becomes part of our final portfolio (not sure if
this is standard on every course?). We are also obligated in groups to host a
web board discussion on a historical theme as part of this audit - based on
the Christ Church web board. We also have sessions on Internet usage, but not
on creating web sites per se. Having said that if somebody did do one the ICT
audit could be used to incorporate this.

The irony is that my first placement school is a technology college, but the resources in the Humanities dept are less than impressive & make this sort of teaching very difficult. However I agree that these resources would make history far more engaging & represent a real cross-curricular approach.

Barry

#17 Lou Phillips

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Posted 26 October 2003 - 02:03 PM

The PGCE course at Swansea too has a reasonable emphasis on ICT skills, but mostly making power point presentations and I believe we will be learning how to use Publisher. I would appreciate some more help on creating teaching materials, we may have something on this in later terms but as yet nothing
"True generosity towards the future consists of giving everything to the present" Albert Camus

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#18 MAC

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Posted 26 October 2003 - 03:12 PM

When computers first were introduced to schools it seemed like every school wanted to be part of the new technical development. Several schools in Sweden spent a lot of money on computers, printers and programs.
When teachers now (in general) has the skills to use computers more than as a substitute for a type writer very few schools put any effort into teaching the essentials on how to create your own web pages. I just can´t understand that. :(
Several of the Universities with Teachers Education has nothing about web design - why? It´s not very expensive... We have several individuals with the skills to teach this... So why is this not part of every new teachers education - and in the end; why is this not part of all students education of today. If there is anything we can rely on in the nearest future - these skills will be a demand for most jobs...
I think its good to learn how to make a Power Point presentation and have the ability to make things through MS Publisher, but I defenitely think web design should be part of every students agenda.

Edited by MAC, 26 October 2003 - 03:13 PM.


#19 Tasos

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 06:38 AM

I think that the matter of developing teaching material or not by the secondary teachers, depends on a variety of elements. For example, in my country, Greece, national exams prevail all over the upper secondary education and prevent every initiative. Students, from the beginning of the school year, have to study in order to pass the exams and gather the appropriate marks for entering in the University (in Greece most of the young people want to go to the University and gets a job in the public sector because of the instability of the economy). In consequence of those, good teacher is the one who teaches what is in the textbook, makes as use of primary sources as needed for the exams etc. In the first year of the upper secondary education things are better as there are no national exams for this level. Teachers feel free to incorporate in their teaching other material, but they rarely do that.
During the recent 5 – 6 years there have been considerable efforts in integrating ICT in the several subjects. When someone is preparing his lesson with the help of the Internet, he is developing simple teaching material. Many teachers searched in the Internet for historical resources and prepared their one lesson plans. None the less there are many problems: preparation time, teacher’s knowledge of technology only one computer lab (rarely two) per school etc. And above all the Greek system is (like the Spanish one) very much based in the enthusiasm of the teachers: no matter how much time you spend and how hard you work in preparing your lessons you will get the same salary with those who do little about it.
No motive for the teachers is the base of many of the problems in the Greek education.

#20 John Simkin

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 06:52 AM

It is the creative side of my work which in the large part keeps me in teaching. It is also of course one of the most important skills of being a successful teacher (I would put it along side performance skills and interpersonal skills in the classroom). The ability to empathise with and understand what your students need and are ready for, and then to create some successful resources and see the students progress as they use them is a very great pleasure indeed. (Andy Walker)

I agree completely with Andy’s view on teaching. Yet it seems that teachers become good producers of good teaching materials in spite of, rather than because of the training they receive at college and in the classroom. It definitely was not part of my PGCE course. Nor did the teachers in the schools that I taught in have these skills. It was my brother, who had entered the teaching profession a few tears before me, who taught me that it was possible to produce good quality teaching resources.

I became a teacher before computers and photocopiers arrived on the scene. The technology available to the teacher was fairly primitive. Therefore, to a certain extent, I can understand why we were not given any training in producing teaching resources. However, has this situation changed over the last few years?

When computers first were introduced to schools it seemed like every school wanted to be part of the new technical development. Several schools in Sweden spent a lot of money on computers, printers and programs. When teachers now (in general) has the skills to use computers more than as a substitute for a type writer very few schools put any effort into teaching the essentials on how to create your own web pages. I just can’t understand that. Anders)

During the recent 5–6 years there have been considerable efforts in integrating ICT in the several subjects. When someone is preparing his lesson with the help of the Internet, he is developing simple teaching material. Many teachers searched in the Internet for historical resources and prepared their one lesson plans. None the less there are many problems: preparation time, teacher’s knowledge of technology only one computer lab (rarely two) per school etc. And above all the Greek system is (like the Spanish one) very much based in the enthusiasm of the teachers: no matter how much time you spend and how hard you work in preparing your lessons you will get the same salary with those who do little about it. No motive for the teachers is the base of many of the problems in the Greek education. (Tasos)


Things do not seem to have changed in Sweden. Nor, from my experience has it changed in Britain. Recently, I was invited to speak to all the PGCE students at my local university about how to use the internet in the classroom. The director of the course told me that all the students were expected to be able to produce their own website. I was encouraged by this and at the end of my talk I asked the students how many had developed a website. Only 2 of the 120 students raised their hands. Others said they wanted to do this but had not received any training on how to do this. Yet, the students were in the last few weeks of their course.

After the meeting I had lunch with the tutors on the course. I asked why the students had not received any training on producing websites. The person responsible for ICT on the course admitted that their was no member of staff who had the necessary skills to do this. She intended to learn but her home circumstances (she had a young child and was heavily pregnant with a second) had prevented this. She was about to begin maternity leave and her replacement was also sitting around the table. My questioning soon revealed that he also did not have the skills to produce a website. What was worse, he had no desire to learn has he thought websites were of limited value in the classroom.

I would not be surprised if this is a common problem in PGCE courses. I have been involved in quite a bit of INSET concerning the use of using the Internet in schools. Teachers tell me that most schools only have one or two teachers who can produce websites.

Over the years I have taught several teachers how to create their own website. It takes about an hour. Why therefore are there so few teachers who can do it?

All PGCE students are required to complete an ICT audit highlighting our present skill levels & providing gaps that we can then work on over the year. This audit then becomes part of our final portfolio (not sure if this is standard on every course?). We are also obligated in groups to host a web board discussion on a historical theme as part of this audit - based on the Christ Church web board. We also have sessions on Internet usage, but not on creating web sites per se. Having said that if somebody did do one the ICT audit could be used to incorporate this. (Barry Spruce)

The PGCE course at Swansea too has a reasonable emphasis on ICT skills, but mostly making power point presentations and I believe we will be learning how to use Publisher. I would appreciate some more help on creating teaching materials, we may have something on this in later terms but as yet nothing. (Lou Phillips).

I would be very interested to hear from other PGSE students (and their tutors) about the current situation concerning the development of skills to produce websites. It is indeed scandalous if it is true that students are finishing their courses without the ability to produce a website. I would also be interested to discover what is happening in other countries.

Edited by John Simkin, 27 October 2003 - 06:55 AM.


#21 MAC

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 08:18 AM

For example, in my country, Greece, national exams prevail all over the upper secondary education and prevent every initiative. Students, from the beginning of the school year, have to study in order to pass the exams and gather the appropriate marks for entering in the University (in Greece most of the young people want to go to the University and gets a job in the public sector because of the instability of the economy). In consequence of those, good teacher is the one who teaches what is in the textbook, makes as use of primary sources as needed for the exams etc. (Tasos)

If we as teachers had received the proper training I don´t see any problem teaching a rigid curriculum using these skills. I work within the IB system as well as in the Swedish School system and I know of IB teachers - also with a final exam that leaves the teacher no choice but to teach exactly what is in the curriculum - that rely very much on using the computer more than as a "type writer" tool.
The problem for teachers in general is that most of us never got the training. As I wrote before - I just don´t understand why the schools don´t put more effort into teaching these skills. John mentions that getting the basics of web design does not take very long.

Over the years I have taught several teachers how to create their own website. It takes about an hour. (John)

I can see that having very little access to computers at a school can be more of a problem. At our school we have four "computer labs" available (about 15-20 computers in each "lab"). We have between 1700-1800 students. One of the obligatoric subjects at this school is "Text Production with Computers". This occupies the Computer Labs part of the time, but suprisingly often they are not in use.
The main reason why teachers do not use them although they are available is the problem with our schedules. The day of the student (as well as the day of the teacher - but to a less extent) is ruined by "mad schedules". :crazy: Our students has 5-7 subjects every day served in 60-90 minutes lessons. These lessons takes place in different buildings so it also takes the students some time to get around to where they are supposed to be (All this waste of time). To get a group into the computer lab (32-35 students) which just offer 15-20 computers (if they all work) takes a great effort...
The advantage we have today in Sweden is the fact that most people (nearly all students) has access to computers and internet at home. Easy explanations, basic exercises based on the curriculum, feedback over the net and in the end some gatherings in one of the Assembly Halls with "Big Screen" presentations is a way around the problem of limited access to computers at the school.

It would be interesting to find out if other countries also suffers under the "damnation" of the schedule.

Edited by MAC, 27 October 2003 - 09:02 AM.


#22 Matthew Clarke

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 10:36 AM

I did my PGCE Teacher Training with a Teacher Training body created and managed by a group of experienced local teachers (The North Bedfordshire School Centered Initial Teacher Training Consortium). The training was very much on-the-job, with placement in school throughout the entire course. We also did 2 evenings a week lectures (professional, academic). Although we did have to take and pass a computer-based aspect of the course (QTS SKILLS TEST), the ICT aspect comprised of part of the test requiring candidates to send, organise and sor email related documents. Also, some of the evening lectures focused on making use of ICT for teaching and resource-making purposes. There was no teaching of how to create web sites. On reflection, I do feel that being taught to do this would have been very useful. However, I can appreciate why the course leaders did not do this. Such a task would require candidates to have a good grasp of basic ICT skills. Not everyone on the course was in this position and perhaps would have found such a task too demanding.

#23 MAC

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 01:49 PM

However, I can appreciate why the course leaders did not do this. Such a task would require candidates to have a good grasp of basic ICT skills. Not everyone on the course was in this position and perhaps would have found such a task too demanding. (Matthew Clarke)

Matthew mentions something quite important - candidates do not have a good grasp of basic ICT skills and therefore a shorter course in web design would become to demanding.
I know that this is also the case in Sweden. Several of the "teachers to be" have never been exposed to what Matthew calls basic skills. Even more problematic - the vaste majority of the teachers in our schools today does not have the basic ICT skills and there is no sign of any drastic change in the nearest future.
So the question is - what can we do to make the teachers of our schools aware of the advantage of web design? Is this something every individual has to discover all by themselves (everybody gets to invent the wheel on their own)? Is it something that the individual schools should focus on; the education of it´s teaching staff so they would be able to handle basic web design or is it something that should be a part of the Teacher training courses, so that the teacher of today and the future have these skills?

#24 alf wilkinson

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 07:36 PM

It is very interesting following this forum on history teaching in different countries. In some respects I feel quite lucky - at least in England there is a long tradition - despite QCA schemes of work - of producing one's own materials, and having the freedom to do so. This in my opinion fosters interest and enthusiasm amongst pupils. Despite league tables and national curriculum, there is still plenty of scope for freedom of initiative. And it seems that this is going to increase in the future. We might have a Government that is beginning to trust teachers.... or perhaps not.
To me the crux of the matter is what is going to motivate pupils to learn, to be interested in history, to move on. Sweden sounds, in some ways, very much how life was in England before the National Curriculum, with a large degree of teacher freedom.
Perhaps we can try to explore the ways we teach and our pupils learn, and search for similarities and differences. I'm sure we can all learn from each other the ways we counter 'narrow' schemes of history, and try to popularise our subject.
Alf Wilkinson: www.burntcakes.com

#25 MAC

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 09:33 AM

The very first reply to my subjective description of "Teaching History in Sweden" was from John Simkin. He asked a lot of questions - the last one I never replied, but I said I´ll get back to it later. This is later...

(10) In what ways would you reform history teaching in Sweden? (John Simkin)

First of all - note that these suggestions should be applied to the Swedish School System!
Reforming history teaching includes reforming teaching in general. Some of the changes I would suggest affects the other parts of school as well. So here comes first some general changes in my "reform program";

1. Cut the amount of "passive" class hours for the students. Today our students are tied down by schedules that contradict all basic theories of learning. The day is divided into 5-7 different classes (different subjects) - 60-90 minutes each. There is no way they can "digest" all this information, day after day, week after week... This passive method is just time consuming and it´s not a good way to deal with the capacity of the human resources in the class room. It also promotes "total boredom". Therefore let the students study two subjects a day - one before lunch and one after. When necessary let it be one subject all day (or a week...).

2. Cut the amounts of subjects that students study during the week. The students have to many topics to focus on during their school week. It´s better to concentrate on a few topics more in depth and have the time to work with them and let the knowledge "sink in". What I suggest is more concentration on a fewer subjects over a shorter period of time (a few subjects will be excluded from this - I know that you need constant training over a longer period of time when you try to learn a new language).

3. Include more modern technique in and outside the classroom. As a preparation for the universities (with many shorter and longer lectures) its necessary to teach our students the value of active listening and the art of taking notes. This is something that some "modern methods of pedagogy" tend to forget..., but it is also important for the school to teach other techniques of learning; audio, video, computers, etc... As well as it is our job to teach the students the first part it´s also our responsibility to teach the second part. I miss a focus on this latter part in Sweden very much.

4. Cut the work load for teachers. Instead of trying to increase the teaching hours per teacher and add other responsibilities - cut them and make sure every teacher has the time to develope his/her subject in a favorable way. The waste of the teachers resources is one of the most serious threats today. It kills the creativity, it makes able people leave the school and it makes future candidates reluctant to choose any job within the field of education.

5. After five years of teaching - the possibility to study one year with pay. It´s important to be able to improve the teachers skills. To make this possible we need to have a system that encourage teachers to progress in their profession. Therefore it should be part of every teachers contract that they could take a year of for studying with salary. It would be a clear indication that "knowledge matters" - and I think we would have quite a few more MA´s and PhD´s among the Secondary Teaching staff. It would also make it possible for some teachers to develope good skills with computers and time to build up networks with teachers at home as well as abroad...


History in Sweden - special "reform program":

1. More time (hours). The subject history has been treated poorly the last 25-30 years. Big cuts have been made in the amount of hours available for the history courses. To be able to teach the necessary skills of history we need time. ít's hard to cover the essentials of history in 70-80 hours (maybe 45-50 hours in a few years). The general interest of history is good and the use of history knowledge is without limits. The ability to work with different sources, the ability to write and present papers is always in demand - no matter where they will work. Adding skills of modern technique (audio, video and computers) makes history students very competative.

2. We need a national curriculum. Today we have nothing. My personal opinion is that this hurts the profession. I know that several of our history teachers are responsible professionals and they provide the students with good history skills and that's fine. Other teachers focus on narrow topics with the result that their students have very little or no comprehension of Swedish and/or European history in general. I don´t say that a national curriculum has to be based on chronological studies of "general history", but certain events and developments should be covered. This is essential for the possibility to discuss history - on a national or international level.

3. More variation in the education - both for teachers and students. With a change of todays schedule and the introduction of modern technique the possibility to get more variation of history studies increases greatly. This would also include less general teaching hours for the teacher (but more hours within the subject and with the individual classes and less "passive listening" hours for the students) with the possibility to focus on the topics in a better way than today. What I also want is that our curriculum should demand certain basic skills; Students of history should know how to write basic historical essays, they should be exposed to and be able to discuss different kinds of sources, they should be able to critisize texts, statements etc... out of a historical point of view and they should have basic knowledge of creating history projects with the help of modern technique.

I have tried to cover a few things in the text above. I probably forgot some essential points, but this at least gives an idea of the "Christmas List" of one History Teacher in Sweden... :teacher:

Edited by MAC, 28 October 2003 - 09:59 AM.


#26 Richard Jones-Nerzic

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 11:09 AM

So the question is - what can we do to make the teachers of our schools aware of the advantage of web design? Is this something every individual has to discover all by themselves (everybody gets to invent the wheel on their own)? Is it something that the individual schools should focus on; the education of it´s teaching staff so they would be able to handle basic web design or is it something that should be a part of the Teacher training courses, so that the teacher of today and the future have these skills?

As a consequence of the holidays I’ve come in to this a little late, but what an excellent seminar. Thanks Anders. Of particular interest to me is the way the discussion has become directed to the question of teachers’ websites. I had already written my seminar on this topic for tomorrow, but now I am going to go back to it in the light of some of the issues raised here.

In particular, I now want to focus more on the teachers’ perspective of using a hypertext curriculum. A student perspective is clearly important, not least because their use of a teachers’ website can empower them to be more independent learners, of the sort that Anders became as a consequence of his ‘experimental period’(!) in the sixties:

I was fortunate enough to be a pupil during an experimental period - end of the 60´s and the beginning of the 70´s. We studied 2 weeks intensively with several lessons in 3 - mostly four subjects. Than we had a four week period where we worked with the subjects. During this period we only had a few "check-up" gatherings every week. It was a system that gave us the ability to plan ahead (under supervision) but most of all we were not "killed" of boredom. With todays technology this could be developed much more than it was possible at the time. For me personally it meant that I had great skills in planning, structuring and taking responsibility for my studies which was not to bad when I went to the university (Mac)

But clearly, it is teachers (and teacher trainers) who need to persuaded that there is something of value for them in creating a website, beyond the satisfaction of the creative process itself.

Also, I was struck by these two sets of comments:

I believe that the creation of teaching resources is the most important (and enjoyable) work that a teacher does outside the classroom. I have always found that my best lessons have come from using my own resources. The main reason for this (and I am sure it is true of all teachers) is because the materials have been tailored for the needs of my own students. This includes a knowledge of what the students already know (the most crucial aspect of the teaching process)… it is a scandal that students are leaving their PGCE courses without the ability to create their own website.
(John Simkin)

and

For example, in my country, Greece, national exams prevail all over the upper secondary education and prevent every initiative. Students, from the beginning of the school year, have to study in order to pass the exams and gather the appropriate marks for entering in the University (in Greece most of the young people want to go to the University and gets a job in the public sector because of the instability of the economy). In consequence of those, good teacher is the one who teaches what is in the textbook, makes as use of primary sources as needed for the exams etc.
(Tasos)

In the light of these conflicting views that juxtapose the desire of good teachers to create their own resources, with the limiting pressure of examination pressure, I now want to focus my seminar on my experience of teaching an (external) examination class with a hypertext curriculum.

I’ve just decided on a new title for next week’s seminar: ‘Teaching history with a hypertext curricum: or how teaching with a website seriously improves your exam results’. Now, I’ve just got to go away and write it…

Oh, the joys of the'just in time', ever flexible internet!! :D
All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.
Edmund Burke


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#27 John Simkin

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 06:34 AM

2. We need a national curriculum. Today we have nothing. My personal opinion is that this hurts the profession. I know that several of our history teachers are responsible professionals and they provide the students with good history skills and that's fine. Other teachers focus on narrow topics with the result that their students have very little or no comprehension of Swedish and/or European history in general. I don´t say that a national curriculum has to be based on chronological studies of "general history", but certain events and developments should be covered. This is essential for the possibility to discuss history - on a national or international level.

3. More variation in the education - both for teachers and students. With a change of todays schedule and the introduction of modern technique the possibility to get more variation of history studies increases greatly. This would also include less general teaching hours for the teacher (but more hours within the subject and with the individual classes and less "passive listening" hours for the students) with the possibility to focus on the topics in a better way than today. What I also want is that our curriculum should demand certain basic skills; Students of history should know how to write basic historical essays, they should be exposed to and be able to discuss different kinds of sources, they should be able to critisize texts, statements etc... out of a historical point of view and they should have basic knowledge of creating history projects with the help of modern technique.

It is interesting that you appear to be arguing for things that have been introduced into the British system over the last 15 years. We now have a national curriculum that provides guidelines on what should be studied. It also stipulates how it should be studied. I think you are right to want to go down this road. As a result of a long struggle we eventually got a reasonable national curriculum. I was particularly pleased with the fact that there is a considerable emphasis on the teaching of skills. It has to be remembered that only a minority of history teachers took this approach to the subject before the introduction of the national curriculum.

Reaching agreement about the content to be studied has caused problems. There were attempts by right-wing politicians to get certain subjects studied. For example, the British Empire. They were under the impression that history could be used to make students proud of Britain’s past. What they did not realise was that “nationalistic” history teaching is very difficult to achieve if you have adopted a skills approach to the subject.

Originally, the content of the history taught was fairly dogmatic. However, reforms have taken place and now teachers have more freedom about the content they teach. This in itself has caused problems. The main reason is that history is not a compulsory subject between the ages of 14 and 16. The government backed down on this initial commitment and therefore made a nonsense of the content guidelines that had originally been produced by the history national curriculum committee.

Important content areas are now missed out in some schools. It has also had a detrimental influence on the teaching of students under 14. History teachers are tempted to look at topics that will encourage the students to opt for history at GCSE (14-16). It has also influenced the topics they teach at GCSE. See below for a debate on this issue.

http://www.schoolhis...?showtopic=2125

I would be interested to hear from teachers from other countries about their views on a national curriculum and the skills approach to history teaching.

Edited by John Simkin, 29 October 2003 - 06:36 AM.


#28 MAC

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 08:57 AM

In the light of these conflicting views that juxtapose the desire of good teachers to create their own resources, with the limiting pressure of examination pressure, I now want to focus my seminar on my experience of teaching an (external) examination class with a hypertext curriculum. (Richard Jones-Nerzic)

Richard what a great follow up on the ideas that's been expressed in this discussion. I'm not only convinced that you can teach a course with an external examination with the help of a hypertext curriculum - I know that it works. I'm looking forward to follow the discussion on this upcoming seminar.


Reaching agreement about the content to be studied has caused problems. There were attempts by right-wing politicians to get certain subjects studied. For example, the British Empire. They were under the impression that history could be used to make students proud of Britain’s past. What they did not realise was that “nationalistic” history teaching is very difficult to achieve if you have adopted a skills approach to the subject. (John Simkin)

A nationalistic approach towards history would be - as John points out - a contradiction to a modern history course that base the curriculum in skills as well as certain content. It's interesting to see that your right-wing politicians did not seem to be updated on 20th century history methods (or to some extent 19th century methods...)...


Originally, the content of the history taught was fairly dogmatic. However, reforms have taken place and now teachers have more freedom about the content they teach. This in itself has caused problems. The main reason is that history is not a compulsory subject between the ages of 14 and 16. The government backed down on this initial commitment and therefore made a nonsense of the content guidelines that had originally been produced by the history national curriculum committee. (John Simkin)

This is one part that I forgot on my "Christmas List". History should be compulsory! It's far to important to be left to different "side-disciplins" (Social Studies etc...), and professional history teachers should be the ones that teach the basic content as well as the specific theoretical/practical skills within the subject - not somebody with little or no knowledge at all in the subject. The reason why I write this - what seems to be an "off course it should be like that" thing - is the fact that several non-history teachers teach history in Swedish schools. All the programs (14 out of 17) that does not have history as an obligatoric subject gets exposed to some 20th century history through the core subject "Social Studies" with a "Social Science" teacher. Some of these teachers might have history as a "side subject" (they have studied history as an extra subject - usually just the first basic courses), but several of them have not studied history at all. In compulsory school it's even worse...
It's important to leave some freedom within the curriculum - it's necessary since we need to be able to form the courses after the classes + it's very important for the creativity...


I hope that this weeks seminar "Teaching History in Sweden" did forward some knowledge about the situation in Sweden and promoted some ideas... I will continue to read your comments and I'll be glad to answer any questions you have about the Swedish situation. :teacher:

Anders MacGregor-Thunell

History teacher and Head of the History Department at Hvitfeldtska Gymnasiet in Gothenburg, Sweden

#29 John Simkin

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Posted 31 October 2003 - 09:58 AM

Dr. Joanna Le Metais at the National Foundation of Research has just published an international report on national methods of assessment. It appears that only five countries have compulsory standardised assessment tests (England, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Wales – under review). Only the UK employs league tables to present this information to the public.

Countries such as New Zealand, Japan, Korea, USA, Spain and France use a sampling system in which a representative group of youngsters – usually around 3% are externally assessed. However, the vast majority rely on teacher assessment.

http://www.nfer.ac.uk/

http://www.nfer.ac.u...p.asp?theID=EIR

Like the recent OCED survey of educational performance the NFR points out that there is no link at all between national testing and educational performance. Dr. Joanna Le Metais, as the OCED report, likes what is happening in Finland. She points out that “Finnish schools are expected to evaluate the needs of their children and evaluate themselves. Teachers in Finland are also highly qualified – they have to have masters degrees – which is a key factor in favour of success.”

#30 MAC

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 09:06 AM

Like the recent OCED survey of educational performance the NFR points out that there is no link at all between national testing and educational performance. Dr. Joanna Le Metais, as the OCED report, likes what is happening in Finland. She points out that “Finnish schools are expected to evaluate the needs of their children and evaluate themselves. Teachers in Finland are also highly qualified – they have to have masters degrees – which is a key factor in favour of success.” (John Simkin)

I'm aware of the fact that there is no natural link between national testing and educational performance. I don't know anything about the way Finnish schools evaluate the needs of their children and themselves but in Finland (as far as I remember) you do have national examinations (the end of March during the last schoolyear) - a standardised assessment. But that's beside the point. I would like a national curriculum for Sweden. My reasons for this was as I wrote;
I know that several of our history teachers are responsible professionals and they provide the students with good history skills and that's fine. Other teachers focus on narrow topics with the result that their students have very little or no comprehension of Swedish and/or European history in general. I don´t say that a national curriculum has to be based on chronological studies of "general history", but certain events and developments should be covered. This is essential for the possibility to discuss history - on a national or international level. What I also want is that our curriculum should demand certain basic skills; Students of history should know how to write basic historical essays, they should be exposed to and be able to discuss different kinds of sources, they should be able to critisize texts, statements etc... out of a historical point of view and they should have basic knowledge of creating history projects with the help of modern technique.

None of this includes the demand for national testing. As Dr. Joanna Le Metais writes about Finland - the evaluation should be done at the school (but not the way it's being done today in Sweden... First of all - it´s the teacher of the course that conduct the evaluation. Second - there is no common form of evaluation (a few schools has it, but as far as I now most schools does not have any specific form...). With other words - the teacher makes the form of evaluation, he conducts it and he later saves the results... This is not good since the opportunity to manipulate the results in your favor are to many).

I defentitely agree with the qualification demands - a teacher in Upper Secondary Schools should be highly qualified, with at least a MA... (I presented an idea on how it would be possible to raise the educational qualifications of teachers in Sweden;
After five years of teaching - the possibility to study one year with pay. It´s important to be able to improve the teachers skills. To make this possible we need to have a system that encourage teachers to progress in their profession. Therefore it should be part of every teachers contract that they could take a year of for studying with salary. It would be a clear indication that "knowledge matters" - and I think we would have quite a few more MA´s and PhD´s among the Secondary Teaching staff. It would also make it possible for some teachers to develope good skills with computers and time to build up networks with teachers at home as well as abroad...

Edited by MAC, 04 November 2003 - 08:39 PM.





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