“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Make Gove history.

It seems to me that history has two important functions for most people.  Of course by understanding what happened in the past we should be better equipped to understand what is happening now but I suspect that for most ordinary punters history is first and foremost, be it in book, film or TV format, a form of entertainment. Well there is nothing wrong with that. God alone knows what Education Secretary Michael Gove thinks history is for. His new proposals for a complete overhaul of the school history curriculum will see a return to the old fashioned Great British Men and Great British Inventions approach to the subject. Out will go all this lefty twaddle about Mary Seacole, civil rights and social reform and back comes Nelson, Wellington and good old Turnip Townsend. It's the same approach that bored rigid generations of children, put many off history for life but went some way toward producing a nation of unquestioning Little Englanders. Here is a history question to ponder - What is it in our past that we allow narrow minded right wing morons like Gove anywhere near the levers of power?


Dr Llarregub said...

There is a need for serious discussion on teaching history. Obviously great Englishmen and great inventions is not the best thing to focus on, but teaching history has sunk in the hands some of the left wing teachers who wallow in guilt over colonial oppression, force PC heroes down our throats and deny any identity to the working people of this country. I am pissed off with university colleagues who draw large funds from interesting Middle East sources to expound on how Islam created the world's greatest ideas in art and science, and how evil British people destroyed civilisations and exploited the world. Like many people of this country my ancestors worked in coal mines or on the land and were themselves exploited. Once we had historians like EP Thompson to record working class history. But a new wave of well financed leftish multiculty professors imposed their ideology on teaching history. It was Hegel that pointed out that history without the philosophy of history is worthless, and that I believe is where opposition to Gove and Labour's approach to history should start.

Journeyman said...

Nowadays I am one of those 'left wing history teachers'. And ironically this evening I am planning a Year 8 lesson on the British Empire:
There is some truth in the criticisms of 'PC history'. It has become fashionable to celebrate diversity and world history - although never to the extent that the Daily Mail would have you believe.
But still woe betide anyone who mentions the C word - CLASS.
I don't feel guilt about the empire but I do believe that class trumps race or nationality every time.

Jemmy Hope said...

"... woe betide anyone who mentions the C word - CLASS."
Oh yes!
Personally I don't think we need worry too much about them stuffing the kids with the nonsense I was force-fed. It seems to me that there were more class-conscious dissidents coming out of the education system of the forties,fifties and sixties than among the alumni of the PC, Mary Seacole era.

Anonymous said...

I'd reckon pushing the Great Men version of history today will alienate even more kids now than it did in my school days. Many Brits are descendants of slaves, descendants of those who lived in colonised countries.Others come from families that fought in the miners strike or in other industrial disputes. Kids will always listen to their parents rather than their teachers. Are the Tories really that stupid?

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