It really is that time of year! Have a look at Richard Kennett’s end of year ideas at radicalhistory.co.uk and here is another one. Year 9 at The Mount have recently done some work on what memorials can reveal about the values of the people who create them. Bascially ‘what seems to be historically significant to these people?’ but not quite phrased in that way. Today we had a look at some National Curricula for history and applied the same idea. Groups had one the the English curricula, either 2008, or the infamous Feb 2014 draft, or 2014. Then they had either Greece, or Luxembourg, or a couple of German states. They were challenged to infer from them:
– the balance of historical knowledge vs developing the skills of the historian
– the balance of types of history – religious, political, social etc.
– the balance of scale of history – local, national, regional etc.
– what’s not there?
Their thoughts were really interesting and insightful. The group looking at Germany latched straight onto the point that a country was calling its past ‘a problem’ and linked that to their Holocaust knowledge. They inferred Germans aren’t so nationalistic and are prepared to ‘learn from their mistakes’. The 2008 curriculum immediately raised the question: ‘where’s the story of Empire?’ – which I seem to remember was a comment made by older heads at the time. They joined the chorus of disgust about the February 2014 draft – in particular the notion of KS1 students getting to grips with monarchy and civilisation as concepts. The amount of ancient history and focus on knowledge in the Greek curriculum intrigued them and they were struck how international the Luxembourg curriculum seems to be compared to the others. (Yes, and some of them now have learnt that Luxembourg is a country and not part of Germany!) They thought that all other countries were quite self-centered, but that knowing your own story is important. Perceptive comments were also made about the need to balance breadth of topics with knowledge in depth, and how much the curricula were instructions to teachers or guidance. All in all an exercise we would repeat. Next lesson they are going to write their own KS3 Scheme of Work and they have gone away to talk and think about it in preparation.