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Teaching History in Sweden


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#31 MarcoK

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 06:53 AM

Hello everybody,

I must say this is a very interesting discussion/seminar. Over here in the nehterlands I am involved in a new educational system called Stip. This system,whichs abolishes subjects as a whole, is based on the ideas of natural learning. The teachers workload becomes more, but the benefits for the students are enormous. They choose what they want to learn and therefore they are very much motivated. The emphasis is not on theory but on practice, therefore we put tremendous effort on skills. This is a very very short description of a very big change and interesting approach. If you are interested or just weant to know more you can visit our website (www.veurs.nl/veurs3) However the english version is not yet ready. Sorry for that. But I am more than willing to answer any questions that might erupt.

Best wishes

Marco Koene

#32 John Simkin

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 09:15 AM

Over here in the nehterlands I am involved in a new educational system called Stip. This system,whichs abolishes subjects as a whole, is based on the ideas of natural learning. The teachers workload becomes more, but the benefits for the students are enormous. They choose what they want to learn and therefore they are very much motivated. The emphasis is not on theory but on practice, therefore we put tremendous effort on skills.

This is indeed an interested idea. However, it raises three important issues.

(1) Is there a prescribed list of skills to teach? What skills are taught? Who decided these skills needed to be taught. Are teachers allowed to select from a range of skills to teach?

(2) Do the students have complete freedom to study any topic they like? If so, does that mean they are able to miss out whole areas of knowledge such as history.

(3) My own view is that education should be about preparing people to become intelligent and active citizens. Is this view incorporated into your system?

Edited by John Simkin, 06 November 2003 - 09:15 AM.


#33 MarcoK

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 01:09 PM

(

1) Is there a prescribed list of skills to teach? What skills are taught? Who decided these skills needed to be taught. Are teachers allowed to select from a range of skills to teach?

(2) Do the students have complete freedom to study any topic they like? If so, does that mean they are able to miss out whole areas of knowledge such as history.

(3) My own view is that education should be about preparing people to become intelligent and active citizens. Is this view incorporated into your system?


To answer your questions:

1. We as teachers do not teach anymore in the traditional sense ot the word. We help the students making their own choises in their education. The skills are decided upon by the teachers themselves and we derive them mostly from the official curriculum and what we as a group find important skills.

2. The students do not study a topic as such. A year is divided into several themes, eg Consuming. Then they have to do ''prestaties' (eng: achievements).
An achievement is something like; Organize a birthdayparty for the children of ...
They have to really organize it. It is not a theoretical excercise. In the process of organizing it they will find the need to gather information etc. In that way they learn.
With regard to History, the subject as such is not thaught. They can choose to do achievements related to historical topics. Also the students can ask for or attend workshops in which different aspects of traditional subjects is thaught. For instance i will do one on the cold war next week.

3. Yes!! That is one of the reasons why we decided to start doing it this way. We found the 'old'system creating passive students who only do what is necessary and are not motivated at all.

If someone is interested i can provide in time some documentation is English.

Please just let me know.

#34 Terry Ward

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Posted 16 November 2003 - 10:33 AM

I would like to switch direction in the debate to the issue of content. From what I read in Sweden there is now an increasing problem of racial prejudice. Developments in DNA and human evolution provide a way for history to take up the issue. It is no good bemoaning the declining interest in history as a subject it is up to historians to demonstrate the reference of their discipline. As Gramsci argued pessimism of the intellect optimism of the will.

A course on the common origins of human society and how it flowered to take a multiplicity of forms, could help to undermine prejudice. Hopefully empathy would be engendered and historical understanding development.

The books tackling the topic are:

Stephen Oppenheimer, ‘Out of Eden: The Peopling of the World (2003)

Bryan Sykes, The Seven Sisters of Eve (2001)

Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody For the Last 13,000 years (1997)


A case study involving the Kurds would demonstrate how 20,000,000 plus people have been poorly treated by successive generations of ruling powers.

Edited by Terry Ward, 16 November 2003 - 10:46 AM.


#35 MAC

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 08:00 PM

It is no good bemoaning the declining interest in history as a subject it is up to historians to demonstrate the reference of their discipline. Terry Ward

I have not experienced a decline in the interest of history rather the opposite. When I wrote about the decline of history in Sweden I was referring to the amount of hours the subject get today compared with the situation some years ago. This cut in hours comes at the same time as we have seen an increase in books, TV-programs, films, computer programs etc... with history content. The interest of history keeps growing - the government keeps cutting the hours... I don't think any course in the common origins of human society could change that - it just doesn't make any sense.

From what I read in Sweden there is now an increasing problem of racial prejudice. Terry Ward

Racial prejudice is an increasing problem in several countries right now. I posted a comment about the growing support for ultra rightist parties in Scandinavia;
In Denmark and Norway parties more hostile to immigrants have grown lately. The same development has started in our country (not as noticable as our neighbours yet, but I think it's just a matter of time...).
The "Swedish Democrats" (Sverigedemokraterna) - a populistic extreme rightist party - have clearly gained more attention and votes during the last years. They were formed in 1988 as a result from the merge of two extreme rightist groups; BSS (Bevara Sverige Svenskt - "Preserve Sweden Swedish") and Sverigepartiet (the Swedish Party). The party cooperates with Front National in France. They have tried to become a bit less connected to their pro-nazi and racist origin, but this ideology is still in their party programme. A few of the worst ideas have been "cleaned out".
In the election of 2002 - over 75 000 people voted for this party (this is a 250% gain from the election 1998 and it was 1.44% of the total votes in the country. If they gain as much support to the election 2006 they will be represented in the Swedish Parliament...). In different local districts they gained 50 seats (the party was especially strong in the very south of Sweden). This is a sad and upsetting development.


Developments in DNA and human evolution provide a way for history to take up the issue. Terry Ward

I agree. We do discuss the increasing possibilities with scientific methods in history (as well as we point out the increasing influence of historical methodology and philosophy in scientific subjects) such as the DNA technique. This also has an impact on the historical content.
I still think it's important with a national curriculum that covers both certain content as well as skills. The importance of critical thinking, the evaluation of sources as well as better writing skills I think is one of many ways to deal with racial prejudism... :teacher:

Edited by MAC, 18 November 2003 - 08:29 PM.





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