Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Teaching the political spectrum


  • Please log in to reply
31 replies to this topic

#1 DaveStacey

DaveStacey

    Long-term Member

  • Admin
  • 957 posts

Posted 09 November 2005 - 09:47 AM

Help!

I need to teach my year 11 GCSE group about the political spectrum and I can hear the choruses of 'we don't get it sir' from here.

So, does anyone have any good, inciteful, but not too active ways of getting this over I'd love to hear them.

Cheers.

#2 gav

gav

    Long-term Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 544 posts

Posted 09 November 2005 - 01:28 PM

The problem with teaching the political spectrum is that the left/right wing linear spectrum although easy, isn't really that useful.

Give them this exercise to do then analyse the results:

http://www.politicalcompass.org/

You can get graphs from the site to plot the position of the major parties and compare their own results to see which party they are closest to.

#3 DaveStacey

DaveStacey

    Long-term Member

  • Admin
  • 957 posts

Posted 09 November 2005 - 04:15 PM

Thanks for that, really interesting stuff which I'm probably gonna use somewhere else!

I should probably add some context. We're embarking on a piece of coursework that looks at interpretations of the Spanish Civil War. I'm trying to get over the differences on the spectrum between facsists and communists. There's some resources in school, but nothing I feel completely comfortable with. Anyone got anything nice and simple?!?!?!? :blink:

#4 Carole Faithorn

Carole Faithorn

    Carole

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,279 posts

Posted 09 November 2005 - 05:27 PM

The concept that 14/16 year olds often find difficult to grasp is that extreme left wing and extreme right wing political groups have similarities so that using the traditional straight line spectrum doesn't actually help their understanding too well.

I found that using the political compass that gav mentioned did actually help a lot with GCSE students. I'd give it a go if I were you.

Somewhere on the Forum there are previous discussions on how best to help students with this problem. I'll see if I can find them.

[Oh for the return of the Similar threads feature. Any news on this one Andrew?]

#5 Ed Waller

Ed Waller

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,497 posts

Posted 09 November 2005 - 06:18 PM

I think a lot of the problem stems from muddled thinking by adults, who accept that Stalin (and apologies to some for compounding what they would see as a mistake) as we have come to understand him is a leftie or communist because he said so (the same way that Hilda said the NHS was safe in her hands). Because the generally accepted view of Stalin is that he was similar to Hitler (ie Totalitarian Dictator) then it follows that the extremes of left and right are also incontrovertibly similar, hence the linear model is not effective.

If one goes by the evidence rather than the labels, it is much more straight forward. Totalitarian Dictators, whatever they might say, are right wing. Anyone who the history books suggest is a Totalitarian Dictator cannot then be described as a communist.

In my picture I am wearing a blue shirt. Therefore your eyesight must be wrong.

I think it's very interesting that Dave S is looking at Spanish Civil War. It THE time and place that ANY confusion about who is what is a disaster. The POUM and their friends on the (real) left are left high and dry by people who cannot be considered true communists (SIM) and are under constant attack from the Fascists of Franco, ably supported by Mussolini and Hitler overtly and Britain and others covertly (see Ken L's "Land and Freedom" for a great, emotive film about one part of the Sp Civil War).

It makes for an interesting investigation why Britain adopted this role 1936-9 only to begin fighting (Fascists)Nazis in Sept 1939. Equally the persistent representation of the similarities between Stalinism and Totalitarianism painted as similiarities between extremes of left and right.

Of course the REALLY hard part is that the examiners probably buy into this latter 'painting'. What to teach: the truth or what will get the students through?

Simplicity Dave.... Communist Manifesto vs Wealth of Nations (abridged version in 50 words or less available via email for token fee :D )
A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. - Groucho Marx

#6 Dafydd Humphreys

Dafydd Humphreys

    Thinking outside the box...

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,308 posts

Posted 09 November 2005 - 06:26 PM

Hold on, Ed. JV Stalin was NOT a 'totalitarian dictator' - that's a loaded term fostered by years of Cold War education. Judging by Trotsky's aims of militarising the trades unions, and his filthy actions at Kronstadt, 'twas he who harboured ambitions of being a right-wing crypto-fascist dictator.

Thankfully, the Soviets voted for True Socialism, by 927,000 votes to 3,000, and Trotsky was relegated to a chilli con carne-smeared dustbin of history.

The Political Compass is fairly useful, but very loaded towards Liberalism.

The POUM were a fiendish minority of snakes by the way. There is no more reason why True Socialists and Revolutionaries would have to work with them than they would with the Falange.

Edited by Dafydd Humphreys, 09 November 2005 - 06:26 PM.

My Youtube Channels: <a href="http://www.youtube.c...m/Learnhistory" target="_blank">LearnHistory</a> (RIP) :( and <a href="http://www.youtube.c.../Learnhistory2" target="_blank">LearnHistory2</a> and now <a href="http://www.youtube.c.../Learnhistory3" target="_blank">LearnHistory3</a>

#7 Ed Waller

Ed Waller

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,497 posts

Posted 09 November 2005 - 06:43 PM

Hold on, Ed. JV Stalin was NOT a 'totalitarian dictator' - that's a loaded term fostered by years of Cold War education. Judging by Trotsky's aims of militarising the trades unions, and his filthy actions at Kronstadt, 'twas he who harboured ambitions of being a right-wing crypto-fascist dictator.

Thankfully, the Soviets voted for True Socialism, by 927,000 votes to 3,000, and Trotsky was relegated to a chilli con carne-smeared dustbin of history.

The Political Compass is fairly useful, but very loaded towards Liberalism.

The POUM were a fiendish minority of snakes by the way. There is no more reason why True Socialists and Revolutionaries would have to work with them than they would with the Falange.


Woah.. hold on Dafydd... I was trying to move away from agreeing or suggesting that he was a TD as much as possible, implying that this image is a construct in western history books... Inter-nicene wrangling among anti-capitalists isn't going to resolve the issue of capitalism. That's one of the problems evident in Sp Civil War: POUM/Anarchist/Republican/SIM/+ "differences of opinion" must have put a MASSIVE grin on the Falangists/Fascists/Nazis/British faces. It wouldn't do to repeat it here.
A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. - Groucho Marx

#8 Dafydd Humphreys

Dafydd Humphreys

    Thinking outside the box...

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,308 posts

Posted 09 November 2005 - 06:51 PM

Okey-doke, Ed, I just thought I caught a carrion-scented whiff of trotsky-fascism about your post. I've cancelled the text message to Yezhov's great-grandson!

As you were.
My Youtube Channels: <a href="http://www.youtube.c...m/Learnhistory" target="_blank">LearnHistory</a> (RIP) :( and <a href="http://www.youtube.c.../Learnhistory2" target="_blank">LearnHistory2</a> and now <a href="http://www.youtube.c.../Learnhistory3" target="_blank">LearnHistory3</a>

#9 Ed Waller

Ed Waller

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,497 posts

Posted 09 November 2005 - 06:54 PM

I've cancelled the text message to Yezhov's great-grandson!


Phew ;)
A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. - Groucho Marx

#10 Dafydd Humphreys

Dafydd Humphreys

    Thinking outside the box...

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,308 posts

Posted 09 November 2005 - 06:58 PM


I've cancelled the text message to Yezhov's great-grandson!


Phew ;)


:P Now, back to torturing Walker!
My Youtube Channels: <a href="http://www.youtube.c...m/Learnhistory" target="_blank">LearnHistory</a> (RIP) :( and <a href="http://www.youtube.c.../Learnhistory2" target="_blank">LearnHistory2</a> and now <a href="http://www.youtube.c.../Learnhistory3" target="_blank">LearnHistory3</a>

#11 AdamCrawte

AdamCrawte

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 289 posts

Posted 09 November 2005 - 07:21 PM

As a History/Politics grad this was debated on a daily basis at uni. The political spectrum is a gross generalisation which is too simplistic to describe what are complex relationships. For example where would you place an anarchist on the political spectrum? It's impossible as some anarchists display so called Neo Classic liberal tendencies (extreme free markets) and some are more akin to classic Marxists. It is better to describe the characteristic features/beliefs of the particular "communists" you are looking at. The plotting of political beliefs is far too complex and time consuming for year 11s. This is the stuff of PhDs not GCSEs
If it ain't broke, don't fix it

#12 Dafydd Humphreys

Dafydd Humphreys

    Thinking outside the box...

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,308 posts

Posted 09 November 2005 - 07:32 PM

For example where would you place an anarchist on the political spectrum?


In the psychedelic-painted VW camper-van, parked outside the squat?
My Youtube Channels: <a href="http://www.youtube.c...m/Learnhistory" target="_blank">LearnHistory</a> (RIP) :( and <a href="http://www.youtube.c.../Learnhistory2" target="_blank">LearnHistory2</a> and now <a href="http://www.youtube.c.../Learnhistory3" target="_blank">LearnHistory3</a>

#13 Derek Bos

Derek Bos

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 79 posts

Posted 09 November 2005 - 07:47 PM

A very simplistic way of doing the political spectrum is to draw a semi circle on the board with left wing on one side and right wing on the other. Going round the arc of the semi-circle put the word change and suggest that the more that you want to change things the more left wing/radical you are. You can then apply the idea to Weimar Germany, the Kaiser, the Church, the army, the landowners are on the right, Ebert and the sociasl Dems are towards the middle, and the Communists and Spartacists are on the left. You can then demonstarte that Ebert was attacked by both left and right wings, and show that Hitler wanted to return Gemrany to a more authoritarian/ conservative form of government. You can also expalin that you can have such a thing as a left wing and right wing conservative. I find that it helps pupils understand the term left and rightwithout getting bogged down inpolitical theory.

#14 Dafydd Humphreys

Dafydd Humphreys

    Thinking outside the box...

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,308 posts

Posted 09 November 2005 - 08:05 PM

If there's 30 clients in your class, bring in 60 quality streets and ask them whether they should be shared equally, 2-each, or more for the kids with posher clothes or richer parents. Those who choose the former sit on the left of the room, those who choose the latter, sit on the right. The bullies sit on the far right.
My Youtube Channels: <a href="http://www.youtube.c...m/Learnhistory" target="_blank">LearnHistory</a> (RIP) :( and <a href="http://www.youtube.c.../Learnhistory2" target="_blank">LearnHistory2</a> and now <a href="http://www.youtube.c.../Learnhistory3" target="_blank">LearnHistory3</a>

#15 AdamCrawte

AdamCrawte

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 289 posts

Posted 09 November 2005 - 08:48 PM

What do you with the bullies who choose to use a hammer and a sickle as their weapons of choice?
If it ain't broke, don't fix it




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users