Silly History Lessons from Britain

A great post here:

Here is list of the top ten inane history lessons I have encountered in two years as a history teacher. I may add, these were all pitched at pupils between the ages of 11 and 16:

  1. Study the Battle of Hastings through re-enacting it on a field with softballs.
  2. Study the Doomsday Book through completing a survey of pupils’ possessions in the classroom.
  3. Study King John through composing a song defending his kingship, in response to ‘The Phoney King of England’, a song from a Disney cartoon.
  4. Spend three lessons making castles out of cardboard boxes.
  5. Study Henry VII by asking ‘Was Henry Tudor a Gangster?’.
  6. Study the marriages of Henry VIII by role-playing an episode of Blind Date.
  7. Make pupils gather under their desks in order to experience life on a slave ship.
  8. Study the Industrial Revolution by acting out pitching inventions on Dragon’s Den.
  9. Create a facebook page for Adolf Hitler, circa. 1921.
  10. Make plasticine models to represent Hitler’s main aims as Führer.

. . .

Aside from their ineffectiveness, what is most disheartening about active teaching methods is that they imply history is insufficiently interesting to be taught in its own right. Many teachers seem to believe that without, games, activities, and contrived ‘contemporary relevance’ history is boring. How can the unfolding story of mankind possibly be boring? A good history teacher makes the story of mankind interesting in and of itself. Those who resort to creating facebook pages, making models, dressing up, cookery classes and Mr Men – and in doing so betray the integrity of their subject – are quite simply cheating.

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