Or secondary school here in UK, or equivalent in your country? Essentially, what do you spend the last 3-5 years teaching kids about history, most of whom will never study it at higher level?

The recent thread about teaching ancient history made me wonder what people think the purpose is. For instance, I reckon it's some combination of

  1. Equipping someone with a basic frame of historical reference so that when they hear claims/statements about history in the future they can place them in some context

  2. As above but more specifically history as it's relevant to where we are now. So understanding historical basis behind our political systems, economies etc. with a particular emphasis on the country being taught about (this one is inevitably quite tough as it's vulnerable to major ideological battles over the correct interpretation of these things)

  3. Teach some awareness/aptitude in historical method: different sorts of sources, limits on what we know etc. Useful for history and more widely

  4. Give kids the opportunity to have their interest sparked in history (which is partially ability of teacher, but I think also suggests you want to focus in on some varied things as different kids will be inspired by different aspects)

Having written this I've looked up the English national curriculum and it's a reasonably good match (recent reforms I think brought back in more narrative history). The main thing that leaps out at me is that I'm not sure if you can teach about the histories of 'these islands' without wider reference. For instance, I think any teaching of history that left out the French Revolution or the rise of Communism and the Cold War would fail to meet the requirements above. Similarly I'm not sure if that history is understood to include the impact of the British Empire and its dissolution (though this is flagged as the sort of thing that could be included, and I recognise it's quite hard to teach as its interpretation is quite ideologically weighted).

Source: reddit post


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