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Innovating History


John Simkin
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John, it has been 'up' for some time now. I remember using it last year (2005)!

I know it has been up for some time. My point is that there is not much there. When it was demonstrated at the SHP conference by the QCA we were told it was going to contain a large number of outstanding teacher resources.

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I know it has been up for some time. My point is that there is not much there. When it was demonstrated at the SHP conference by the QCA we were told it was going to contain a large number of outstanding teacher resources.

Ah, that is a different story. Maybe they have been busy deciding what to do with coursework at AS/A2! :ph34r:

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One area where I think QCA did make an effort to develop their ‘Innovating History’ site was in presenting a sample scheme of work for the ‘world history before 1914’ unit. I did acknowledge that, in an E-mail I sent them last October regarding the general absence of world history teaching in schools:

“I was impressed with the unit 'How can we explain the increasing influence of Islam in the period 632-1526?' from the Thomas Tallis School scheme of work. It is just the sort of world history which is important, in my view, in providing some balance to the large chunks of British History.

My point was" [i.e. in a previous E-mail] "that most schools don't do anything like this. They do 'Black peoples of the Americas', which isn't actually studying a culture different from our own at all. Perhaps because of the way it is taught - with a brief courtesy call only on West African civilization and an unflattering look at American civilization - it is very much part of our own, not a different, culture! I even suspect many schools 'cover' this Unit by slipping 'slavery' into the section on British History 1750-1900.

When I started teaching History in the 1970's there was a strong emphasis on world history, and indeed on 'man', so to speak, as the focus for historical study. It seemed important, living in a global village, to have a global perspective. What I am suggesting is that the way most schools have eagerly taken up one particular exemplar topic in the National Curriculum (ie Black Peoples of the Americas) has effectively removed the teaching of world history from KS3.”

On reflection, I think I was being unkind to ‘Black Peoples of the Americas’, and that for many teachers ‘Black History’ (provided they embraced it) might be the only way into world history, especially as it provides a neat answer to the mantra ‘Why don’t you teach more about the British Empire?’

The second E-mail I received from QCA, while drawing my attention to the ‘Innovating History’ site (again), did acknowledge that there were still problems, and that “you will be pleased to know that we are about to embark on a review of the current national curriculum programme of study for history.”

If it is true that we have to ‘reform or die’, I would have thought that at this stage QCA needs to be giving an idea what the teaching of ‘themes’ might mean in practice. As Napoleon so aptly put it: ‘Everything is in the execution.’

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