Writing in the Daily Telegraph on Thursday, Michael Gove lamented the absence in the curriculum of figures such as Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale and Horatio Nelson, and he wants more “facts” in England’s national curriculum, as he launches a review of what children are taught- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12227491 .
He called the current curriculum was “sub-standard” – Mr Gove, I beg to differ. At high school in history we studied many things ranging from the Middle Ages, the Tudors, Slavery, Industrial Revolution and the cold war. We did a depth study on Germany bewteen the wars and saw first hand how people can be manipulated by media, by fear into believing a horrid racial ideology that culminated in the Holocaust. We learned about how in Britain at the early 20th century, the suffragettes gained the vote, and how in the 16th century how the reformation created religious turmoil for many people.
A theme running through all of these is the lives of ORDINARY people, of how they influenced change and how they were caught up in it. To me this is a more valuable history than solely learning about so called IMPORTANT figures such as Churchill and Nightingale. To me, learning about the treaties after WW1 is vital due to its consequences which still plague us today (the middle east, the Balkans etc).
I urge you Mr Gove, do NOT sacrifice such a rich story in favour of teaching solely about so called important figures. These issues such as ideology, nationalism and equality still have relevance in todays world and by learning about the above aspects of history has allowed me and will allow others a greater understanding of the owrld around them and how it was shaped. I went on a history trip to Auschwitz and I witnessed a place that bore witness to how evil humanity and hatred can be. THOSE WHO DON’T LEARN FROM THEIR HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT!
You wish to change,
Change the way we learn,
Change the things we learn,
To you dates and figures reign supreme,
Nelson, churchill on their pedastals reign supreme.
What about how we fought for fairness, for equality,
How our neighbours were enslaved by ideology, theology,
Intertwinned we are, their story is our story, is also YOUR story,
He who forgets is doomed to repeat his own history!