alf wilkinson

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About alf wilkinson

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  1. The idea of war crimes is, despite international law, rife with ambiguities. It is, I think, the intentionality that is the key. That is what leads to a definition of genocide - King Leopold's Congo, South West Africa, Armenia, Nanking, the Kurds, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda all rank as intentional acts of murder and genocide. My Lai, in Vietnam, for instance, was undoubtedly a war crime, ie 'against the rules of war' but would hardly rank as genocide. Some acts appear justifiable at the time - area blanket bombing in WW2 for instance - which we no longer accept as justifiable. Does that mean they were wrong in the context of 1943-44? Should we apologise for things that we think are wrong, but people at the time didn't think were wrong? History is all about interpretations, and these, as we all know, change over time. The concept of War Crimes is nowhere near as straight forward as we might think.
  2. Will do, Alf.
  3. Hi - I've been pondering the best way forward on the 'women's history' topic, and especially the oral/social history, rather than the political history. Perhaps if we can agree a kind of template for interviewing women about their experiences, that we could all use, so we are working in a similar way. This might make it easier to pick out similarities and differences across Europe. I wonder if Dan's better half has anything we might adapt? I'm not suggesting we should all stick rigidly to it, it just might make the whole project more coherent. I have in mind a three [four?] generational interview with family members, asking similar questions and ...well, we'd have to see what comes out of it. It might be something to spend a little time on in Toulouse - although as I won't be there I am reticent to make suggestions about the agenda.
  4. It is, as you say, hard to 'write off' a whole century of Russian history as if it was a bad dream. Historians argue about the Tsar, and how democratic Russia was on the way to becoming in 1917. They also argue about the amount of support the Bolsheviks had in 1917-20. So the starting point of the discussion varies enormously! Despite the failure of communism and the disintegration of the USSR discussion is usually still based on political ideology, and this complicates the issue even more. Lets focus on Stalin. There was coercion and terror. There was little attention paid to living standards, as opposed to economic growth. And yet there were millions of proud volunteers who worked long and hard to make their country great, especially as the West was in a Great Depression at the time. That is something that we must not ignore. Some indicators, as previously mentioned, show a distinct improvement - literacy, scientific education, role of women, to name just a few. Also during WW2 Russians were proud of the sacrifices they were making for freedom - as they saw it - and defeating Fascism. They expected a better life after the war, and the political leadership let them down. So there were gains. But there were losses too - or perhaps broken aspirations? But doesn't that apply to Western Governments too? Many people in Britain feel badly let down by the Labour Governments they elected and expected so much from.... Perhaps, given the perceived chaos in Russia at present it is still far too early to make a definitive judgement - only time will tell.
  5. My seminar focused on a simple practical example of how we might encourage history teachers to use ICT in their lessons. If we start from the history, and not from the ICT, then we can show how we can actually do history, only better, using ICT. I started from my local war memorial. Many teachers do use their local war memorial to look at names, events etc. If you coup e this with a visit to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website – www.cwgc.org.uk you can find out about each soldier, where they are buried or commemorated, and a little about the campaign they were killed in. Follow this up with a websearch for the war cemeteries and/or memorials, and you put the soldiers’ deaths in context, and help to make the war more human. Another websearch explored the battles/campaigns they died in. You only need a few names to link the First World War very firmly to the local area – many of the names will be familiar to local pupils from the newspapers and the local cemetery. In my case the two were killed at Gallipoli and Passchendale – significant battles in WW1. Both my casualties were in the Lincolnshire Regiment, which no longer exists. A couple of judicious searches produced the story of the Lincolnshire Regiment – they were called ‘Yellowbellies’ not because of cowardice, but because of the yellow mess waistcoat of the dress uniform! So, starting from the local I can explore most of the significant events of WW1, linking local to national to international, in a way that brings home the war. I can also do good history – searching, finding out, selecting, presenting information – only as soon becomes apparent, better using the internet and perhaps’ powerpoint’ for pupils to present their work, than by using textbooks and libraries. You don’t have to be hi-tech to effectively do history using ICT, and for many teachers, that is the way into becoming effective users of ICT in history teaching and learning.
  6. Could it be useful to think in terms of an oral history input too? How women's lives have changed? Also, not just the vote, but topics like the 60s, when women's lib really started, with the pill, etc, etc? And equal rights legislation - the 'glass ceiling' - limiting women's progress in business? There is much more to the changing status and role of women than the vote. Some would argue that getting the vote changed nothing......
  7. Quick work Anders! What an ugly looking mob, though.....
  8. sorry, Richard, I can't use your evaluation copy either. Can I have a word copy via email? when you return from your few days away. I think the first meeting went really well, but a little more reflection time, and a little more 'doing' time, rather than listening time, would have been good. As one who stuck to his 15 minutes, I agree with Andy - if we had stuck to that we would have had more reflection time. I liked having associates there, and presenting - it added a deeper dimension to the meeting, and would like them present again. But we must also work on our own targets too.
  9. I will include details in the HA enews letter, and raise the project at Secondary Committee. The project will feature regularly in HA enews - 4000 history teachers. We will get text in the secondary journal - Teaching History - and in the Becta enewsletter in the autumn. I shall endeavour to brief the Times Educational Supplement - weekly teachers newspapers - history journalist in due course. I think that's all I said I would do in the short term....
  10. One way I've used ICT that had a direct impact on teaching and learning was a series of lessons on WW1. We started from the local war memorial - the names are familiar to local children and you immediately 'people' the war with real people. So far, so good, no need for ICT there. Except, by using the web I can immediately link the names to their graves via the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, and make further use of the web to research these cemetaries or memorials. I can also discover where they lost their lives, and further research these events of the war via the web. All perfectly possible using text books, reference books; well perhaps possible, but certainly possible using the web. I have used the power of the web to bring an immediacy to the research; to link the local with the war; and to open out to most campaigns of the war. All from a digital photograph. That, to me, gives an indication of the power of the web to encourage research skills, to investigate history, and to link the local to the national to the international. Not bad for a couple of lessons!
  11. I would very much like to work in Richard's school in Toulouse - or one similar - where ICT is embedded in the curriculum, where I don't have to book the facilities a week next thursday! Until that is the case then it will always be difficult to use the full power of ICT effectively in lessons. I would also like pupils to be properly computer literate, so I could spend lesson time teaching history using ICT not teaching ICT! I would also like to see an intelligent search engine. They can develop intelligent 'anti-spam' programs - the more I use it the more it successfully filters out the rubbish in my emails. Why can't my search engine work in the same way and filter out the useless websites from my searches?
  12. One way I've used ICT that had a direct impact on teaching and learning was a series of lessons on WW1. We started from the local war memorial - the names are familiar to local children and you immediately 'people' the war with real people. So far, so good, no need for ICT there. Except, by using the web I can immediately link the names to their graves via the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, and make further use of the web to research these cemetaries or memorials. I can also discover where they lost their lives, and further research these events of the war via the web. All perfectly possible using text books, reference books; well perhaps possible, but certainly possible using the web. I have used the power of the web to bring an immediacy to the research; to link the local with the war; and to open out to most campaigns of the war. All from a digital photograph. That, to me, gives an indication of the power of the web to encourage research skills, to investigate history, and to link the local to the national to the international. Not bad for a couple of lessons!
  13. Hi - I am doing some research into the use of regional archive material in the classroom. The aim is to encourage regional film archives to open up their 'treasures' in a way that makes it easy for teachers to use in their work. Do members use regional film archive in their classroom? For what? what are the best kind of resources? What are the worst? I'd be interested to know your experiences. What kind of resources would you like? Can we produce a wish-list?
  14. I would support Terry in his commendation of Nelson Mandela. My son has recently returned from South Africa, where he visited Robben Island, and he came away mightily impressed by the humanity and vision of Mandela in not being turned into a monster wanting revenge by the conditions suffered there. It must take a great deal of goodness to be able to repeatedly turn the other cheek, and preach reconciliation.
  15. Euroclio would also make an excellent avenue for dissemination - at their annual conferences we could do a progress paper, and promote the book too. If we can contact national subject associations, like the HA, and ICT organisations, like NAACE in the UK, these too would be good avenues for dissemination. You might also find one of the mainstream publishers prepared to handle the book - Terry got the HA book out via Routledge....