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Secondary school pupils are being taught too much Hitler and not enough about subjects such as the English Civil War, a conference of history teachers has been told.
The claim came in a keynote address to the history section of Prince's Teaching Institute annual conference as ministers prepare for a radical revamp of the curriculum.
Lord Wilson, the former Cabinet Secretary and historian, who made the claim, put forward plans for a more methodical and chronological approach to history. "No one in public life should be in a position of power unless they have some grasp as to why we are where we are," he said. Wilson argued there should be a sharper focus on subjects such as the 1832 Great Reform Act, which paved the way for today's democracy, and the English Civil War (1642-1651). - www.independent.co.uk...
Mr Gove has already indicated that he would like the historian Niall Ferguson to play a key role in reshaping the history curriculum. During a recent address at the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts, Mr Ferguson lamented an apparent obsession with "Henry VIII, Adolf Hitler and Martin Luther King", arguing that we need, "more of a sense of narrative history – of how [these figures] fit in with the rest of history".
Dr Natalie Zacek lectures in Latin American and Carribean history at Manchester University.
It would be good if students knew more about the early modern period – what historians call the great divergence, when the West began taking the lead in technology and imperialism. I still have quite intelligent students coming to university thinking that Africans were a bunch of savages before British colonisation. They should learn more about China and India because they're important players in global politics. We don't equip young people to comprehend our globalised world by teaching that Hitler and Stalin are the only important things to know about.
Bettany Hughes presents 'The Ancient World' on Channel 4. She is working on a book about Socrates.
We can only understand history if we start at the beginning and work forwards. I have just got back from Siberia, investigating Bronze Age cities decorated with swastikas. I can only understand the power of that symbol because of thousands of years of history. I was recently on the Iraqi border and some dirt-poor children came up to me and gave me the names of Plato and Socrates. I think we'd be hard-pushed to find 10-year-olds doing that in Britain.
Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it
Originally posted by DISRAELI
I have seen the suggestion that the period between Henry and Hitler has gone out of fashion for political reasons; that one of the things happening over those centuries was the growth of the British empire (in my father's time, school history books could have that as the main organising theme). And since eveybody has decided to agree that the British empire is nasty and wicked, they can't teach people about it.