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The Cold War: help!

Discussion in 'History' started by FraserMc, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. Hi,

    I'm currently working as an English Language assistant in a French lycée, and have a slight problem which I was wondering if anyone could help me with.

    I've got a class in their final year who specialise in history. This means that, when they're learning English, they're taught about whatever subject they're studying, but in English; in this case, it's the Cold War.

    I've been given this class because back home, I'm doing a joint honours degree in French and History. This may seem logical to the teachers at the lycée, but there's one problem: I haven't studied the Cold War at any level, ever. In fact, I haven't even studied anything at all from the twentieth century since I was at school. Nonetheless, I'm expected to teach this class about the Cold War in English; I've explained the situation to the teachers, but they seem to just keep nodding and agreeing and then still expecting me to teach this class about the Cold War.

    Can anyone recommend any resources which might be useful, either in quickly getting a bit more clued up on at least the main points of the Cold War or in planning lessons about it (bearing in mind that I have to do so in a language which is foreign to the pupils)? Thanks in advance.

    As may be obvious from the tone of my post, I'm ever so slightly stressed about this!
     
  2. Hi
    Some of these may help... I find when teaching Histoire it is essential to have a good list of bilingual vocab for the students.
    The first link will be useful as a resource and also for yourself.
    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/coldwar/
    If you have a kindle/ iphone look for the history in a hour series they have a good Cold War introduction. Some basic but good books which may be useful;
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Understand-Cold-War-Teach-Yourself/dp/1444105256/ref=dp_ob_title_bk
    and
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pearson-Baccalaureate-History-International-Editions/dp/0435994379/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325368701&sr=1-1
    Hope that helps
    K
     
  3. That's brilliant, thanks very much! :)
     
  4. FraserMc
    One cautionary note. I would suggest trying to find out what is taught on the subject in the French syllabus. The French have a rather different spin on key elements of the Cold War.
    For instance, they saw the Indo-Chine war as being part of a wider Communist strategy rather than a purely anti-colonialist struggle ( and got support from the US and the British for that reason). France withdrew from the NATO military structures in the sixties (while remaining in NATO) in order to distance themselves from the US and maintained their own deterrent forces as exclusively national assets.
    You may get some interesting discussion out of it, though.

    Cheers

    CW
     
  5. Hey,
    I'd always recommend starting with The Cold War by John Lewis Gaddis who is considered the foremost historian ever to have written on the subject. That particular book is relatively short and very accessible and should give you a good grounding it in . The point made by CuriousHistory is important though. We tend to divide views of the Cold War into West and East but the position of France is really interesting and divergent. France was predominantly concerned with the 'German Question' well into the 1950s, for understandable reasons and were at loggerheads with both the USA and the UK for much of the beginnings of the Cold War. As such I'd also look at France Restored, also co-written by Gaddis.There will be many toher books of help but these would be the two I would personally begin with.
     
  6. I would imagine that the OP will have to comply with the Bulletin officiel as far as the content and 'spin' of the lessons go! The books and links will give some good background information to get the OPs knowledge up to date, but as CW points out it would pay to get the politics right - don't create a near riot as I did when teaching the Napoleonic Wars!
    K
     
  7. Thanks again to all for your replies: now slightly nervous about getting it wrong, but it's very useful to know!
     
  8. Keira

    Are you going to tell us what precisely upset them? :)

    I am always fascinated by the Musee de l'Armee's presentation of the period (it's a fascinating museum, in any case).
    CH (I don't know who this CW character is - they are not my initials IRL or anywhere in cyberspace. Sloppy typing, I fear)
     

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