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Patrick McMahon

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  1. KS3 Why bother

    The national curriculum, originally devised to bring a 'broad and balanced' approach to school history, now provides options which may result in KS3 pupils experiencing very different content , from school to school, from region to region. The 'rigour' of GCSE courses, so different from the innovative (hopefully) KS3 teaching, in some ways may dismiss previous experiences as irrelevant. My own experience and that of colleagues, is that what is taught during KS3, whilst enjoyable and fulfilling (at the time) for pupils, drifts into a blend of 'Harold was shot in the eye', 'Beckett was chopped up by Henry's knights', 'Henry Vlll had lots of wives' and the Civil War,sliding into an inseparable morass of Industrial Revolution, social issues of 19th and 20th centuries and of course WW1 and WW2 ( in preparation for a possible GCSE course); the key questions are; is the CONTENT relevant and is the KS3 'skills aquisition' process ignored once the 'real' GCSE starts to roll?
  2. Oliver Cromwell

    re. Cromwell ( in Ireland) I grew up in Ireland: my grandparents spoke of Cromwell as though he and his troops had just, a day or so ago, passed along the nearby road, inflicting on the local populace 'indiscriminate' justice, with, of course 'God on his side'. What is crucial is that the 'received' knowledge has more enduring influence than academic research.
  3. 10 Worst Britons

    Reply: The worst? or the 'popular worst'? Our impression of the good and the bad is based on the received evidence and the current interpretations applied to that evidence, which, as Elton (whether you approve or not) noted had the good fortune to survive: survive? a few careful selections and disposals may easily influence future opinions. For my own input, Henry VIII was the worst - for personal, selfish reasons, he altered the structure, administration and societal stability of the 'nation'.
  4. 10 Worst Britons

  5. Prime Ministers and History

    I think that this article has highlighted some important dimensions which are sometimes downplayed or misunderstood by the electorate; firstly, a prime minister is the leader of the country (now, is that England, Britain, Great Britain or the United Kingdom, with or without devolved assemblies?) and secondly, a prime minister is usually the leader and public face of the political party. However, the present situation would seem to indicate that the 'incumbent' has moved away from collaborative decision-making within the cabinet, and has established (quite successfully) a US presidential-mode of leadership. But let's not forget that US presidents have their cluster of advisors also, (our cabinet?) What is surprising is that the cabinet, fellow MPs and the media have let him get away with it, perhaps he has taken away the 'greasy pole of promotion'. He is doing what he wants - wether this is for self-aggrandishment with an eye firmly fixed on some pseudo hall of fame, or perhaps there is a psychological need which has changed his perception of 'the people'. Generally, I have little time for politicians, prime ministers, MPs or local councillors or the unquestioning 'devotees' who wear down their shoe leather on behalf of these attention seekers. The sheer duplicity that some individuals have to exercise was illustrated by the demise of MP David Trimple - a genuine man trying to move with the times, who could see that NI would only make progress through consultation and the possibility of compromise, but it was the minority of 'devotees' who strangled his ideas - and he backed off. Is that what politicians do? Tony Blair will be remembered; his chancellor has raised the concept of indirect taxation 'of the people' in unimagined novel ways and he has allowed his zeal to appear as the saviour of education and health (the only two issues not dictated by the EU) to raise him, not above, but beyond the realism 'of the people'. His presuming a global role may seem to indicate an image of 'sincerity and concern' but it is unlikely that his puny efforts will ever match the directness and candour of the likes of Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela and more recently, bad-boy-makes-good, Bill Clinton.
  6. George Best

    ..great little snippet re. Guy F. and Parliament: yours.,or quoted?? I'd like to reuse it