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greatest challenges in history education?

Discussion in 'History' started by alexbuller, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. alexbuller

    alexbuller New commenter

    I'm going for a history lecturer interview next week and have to prepare a presentation on challenges in history education at secondary level - i would be really interested to hear people's views. Ideas I have include making history relevant and accessible and how to deliver both content (particularly with the content-heavy GCSEs) and second-order concepts.

    I would be really interested in hearing people's views and/or following up links to any articles on this.

    many thanks
  2. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I retired some years ago, but I'd say that, given the current political crisis (or even 'crises' e.g. Brexit, anti-Semitism in Labour, immigration, fake news etc), you'd be advised to have ideas about how History in schools should (or why it shouldn't) contribute to creating a sense of 'Britishness'...
  3. --Badger--

    --Badger-- Occasional commenter

    In a multi cultural society it is time that school text books stop whitewashing British history. The slave trade for example is focused on Wilberforce and it's abolition. Little, if anything, is said about the major role Britain played in the murder and brutalisation of African people for centuries. That part is played down.

    The recognition of Britain dark past needs to be included if History is to became relevant to all.

    The truth will set you free as they say.
  4. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I'd agree with the first part (about Wilberforce), though surely abolition WAS important, but disagree about the second.... lots of books I used had graphic accounts and plenty of documents showing cruelty and barbaric behaviour (by the British & other European countries).

    Maybe if there IS one aspect of the slave trade that tends to be ignored, it's the attacks on Atlantic coastal communities by 'Barbary' (i.e. North African) pirates which took more than a million Europeans to be sold as slaves...
    peter12171 likes this.
  5. --Badger--

    --Badger-- Occasional commenter

    The British enslaved tens of millions of black Africans. About 10,000 Brits were enslaved by Barbary pirates. The Romans probably took more British slaves yet you think British children should know how brown people took a few white Brits as slaves?
  6. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    As a European I think we need to consider both Europe's responsibility (not just Britain's) for the African slave trade and also look at the other types of slavery that have existed in history (the Roman Empire provide a good example, but the seizure of more than 1 million Europeans by so-called Barbary pirates is another). I'd also add that the Atlantic Slave trade also relied on the active co-operation and enthusiastic participation by some West African counties, mostly coastal communities preying on their inland neighbours. In addition the abolition of the slave trade (and its enforcement by the British navy) is important.

    But none of that means that schools SHOULDN'T teach the history of the slave trade, and none I worked in did. I also think that the quality of text books when I retired (2013) was far higher than when I started teaching (1981).

    NB Your post #5 smacks of prejudice. Which is a shame.
  7. --Badger--

    --Badger-- Occasional commenter

    Active participation by some because, like Europeans they were at war with each other. Other Africans participated at gunpoint i.e. the British required tribes to find slaves or else become slaves themselves. As a Historian you know this of course but choose not to tell this part of the tale. You are also quick to mention Britain's role in the abolition of slavery as though that somehow makes up for inflicting 300 years plus of murder and mayhem on black Africans. That is why, in a multi-cultural country, we need a more diverse range of teachers teaching the subject so that students get a different perspective and deeper understanding rather than the biased views of white, middle class males who seem to dominate the subject.

    Let's tell the whole story of African slavery and Britain's involvement in it warts and all. The Opium Wars could do with being told as well, particularly with what is going on in Hong Kong. What went on in India would also be an eye opener and would most certainly help to create a sense of what it really means to be British.

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