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#964788 - Thu Jan 31 2013 07:36 PM Re: How Were You Taught History? [Re: bloomsby]
ren33 Offline
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 11089
Loc: Fanling
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Adams, welcome! What an interesting post.
Chinese students here learn mostly only Chinese History and very few go on the further study in History. Sorry to sound bitter and twisted, but learning history doesnt earn you lots of money. That's it.
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#964790 - Thu Jan 31 2013 08:04 PM Re: How Were You Taught History? [Re: bloomsby]
bloomsby Offline
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Registered: Sun Apr 29 2001
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Loc: Norwich England†UK††††††††††††
I'd also like to welcome you, Adams, and thank you for your very informative post.

There seem to all kinds of differences in the teaching of history in schools in the US.

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#964792 - Thu Jan 31 2013 08:10 PM Re: How Were You Taught History? [Re: bloomsby]
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 11417
Loc: Western Canada
It certainly varies from province to province in Canada, so no surprise at variance from state to state in the US.

I've never met anyone from another province who had the "Enterprise" class we did in elementary school, and now that I'm older and know what the word means, I wonder why they called it that. It's long gone - they have "Social Studies" right from first grade, now.

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#964819 - Fri Feb 01 2013 01:26 AM Re: How Were You Taught History? [Re: bloomsby]
Lones78 Offline
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Registered: Mon Apr 27 2009
Posts: 1399
Loc: Forrestfield Western†Australia
We had 'Social Studies' in primary school as well - it seemed to include a mixture of History, Geography & Politics. This was in the late 80s, but now the same 'stuff' is called 'Society and Environment' (or 'S&E' for short smile )

The only things I remember learning about were dinosaurs, local history (my home state) and Australian history. There was a LOT of rehashing around ANZAC day of each year and we concentrated a LOT on WWI but that's about all I remember. I guess there's not that much history in a country that (at the time) was considered to be only 200 years old! The kids now learn a lot about Aboriginal history and they learn about the way of life of the native people of Australia, and spend a lot of time doing art projects in the same vein. I think we may have touched on it when I was at school but I can only vaguely remember the basic idea of a few dreamtime stories.

In high school (early 90s), Social Studies got divided up into History, Geography & Economics - although they had different names for each unit and History, Geography and Economics weren't terms we even used until year 11 and 12. We learned more in depth about Australian history (yep - more regurgitation & rehashing!). I do remember learning something about the industrial revolution, but it wasn't really that interesting to me at the time so I guess I just didn't pay attention smile

Somewhere in there I think I remember learning something about Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire and also a bit about Ancient Egypt. But that was more from the point of view of the buildings and what they were used for in ancient times. There was something there about Sparta but I can't remember what. History was also more based around people and their achievements. People like Captain Cook (and his cohorts), Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo, etc. Although only Captain Cook was bashed into our brains from a young age.

I am more interested now in history than when I was young. I find it fascinating that people lived with no electricity, grew their own food, slaughtered their own animals, lived in slum-like areas - and this was all considered normal - and to look at where people are today is a great thing. I'd love to go back now and learn about history but Australian history now bores me to tears. If someone mentions Gallipoli, WWI, or the word 'Digger' to me, I have to stop myself from cringing and rolling my eyes. I mean no disrespect to those people who lost their lives but it was so drummed into us at school that I cannot stand the mention of it anymore frown


Edited by Lones78 (Fri Feb 01 2013 01:27 AM)
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#964843 - Fri Feb 01 2013 06:52 AM Re: How Were You Taught History? [Re: bloomsby]
Lottie1001 Offline
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Registered: Mon Jul 07 2008
Posts: 464
Loc: Westmorland UK
My history lessons in the UK were mostly in the 1960s.

In primary school I remember learning about the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age, the Romans, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, and the Vikings. Although I don't think there was much more to the Angles, Saxons and Jutes than that they came between the Romans and the Vikings!

In secondary school I think we started at 1066 (the Battle of Hastings) and worked through British history chronologically until it was time to start the O-level syllabus; we got as far as the end of the Tudors. For O-level we studied British History 1775(?) to 1865 (which included the American War of Independence) and European History 1775(?) to 1871. So I've always had a huge gap because I never learnt anything about the Stuarts, the English Civil War or why we came to have Hanoverian kings and queens. I've also never learnt anything about the ancient civilisations, or prehistoric times.

Apart from the gaps, there's something to be said for learning history chronologically. Nowadays children seem to jump from the Victorians, to the Romans, to the Tudors, without any idea where they fit into the timeline. And what's really off-putting, when I invigilate public exams at the local school, is to find the History A-levels covering events which have happened since I left school!
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#964893 - Fri Feb 01 2013 11:03 AM Re: How Were You Taught History? [Re: bloomsby]
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 11417
Loc: Western Canada
I do have to say - much of what I learned about history as a child I got from reading Geoffrey Trease books.

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#964905 - Fri Feb 01 2013 11:30 AM Re: How Were You Taught History? [Re: bloomsby]
spanishliz Offline
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Registered: Thu Dec 13 2001
Posts: 18484
Loc: Ontario Canada
Our local library had a great section of biographies written for kids, that I devoured. Geoffrey Trease taught me a bit too smile

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#964935 - Fri Feb 01 2013 02:46 PM Re: How Were You Taught History? [Re: bloomsby]
Jabberwok Offline
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Registered: Tue Jun 24 2008
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Loc: Sussex England†UK†††††††††††††
Oh yes, agony, and Rosemary Sutcliff. Henry Treece for Vikings...
Happy memories.
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#964991 - Sat Feb 02 2013 03:51 AM Re: How Were You Taught History? [Re: bloomsby]
Lones78 Offline
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Registered: Mon Apr 27 2009
Posts: 1399
Loc: Forrestfield Western†Australia
The best history lessons I had were in TAFE (college) where I did fashion design. We did the entire history of dress & clothing since caveman. It was obviously not based on events but the use of fabrics, why and how they were available, and the influences on fashion in particular times. I absolutely loved it! Not your standard history, but history none-the-less smile
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#965073 - Sat Feb 02 2013 01:49 PM Re: How Were You Taught History? [Re: bloomsby]
croatoan Offline
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Registered: Thu Jan 03 2013
Posts: 8
Loc: Louisiana USA
All of my schooling was done in the southern US in the 90s and 00s. When I was younger I remember that history was taught as a part of 'social studies' which seemed to be anything that wasn't science, math, or English. I seem to remember it being more geography-based than history-based, but I do know we learned a good bit about pre-history and also some important American milestones. We talked about the pilgrims an awful lot, I think.

In junior high, seventh grade was Louisiana History and we learned absolutely nothing about anywhere else unless it had bearing on our state (France, Canada, Spain, and so on). It pretty well covered everything from Native Americans up until about the time of Huey P. Long. The strongest memory I have from the whole class (beyond my very cute, young, curly-haired teacher) was having to learn all 64 parishes and where they were on a map. He would also set up little games that combined trashcan basketball and trivia. Overall a pretty good year for history for me. Eight grade was US History and that entire year was so miserable that I don't remember much. It was entirely US-centric.

In high school I moved into a smaller, private school. Ninth grade was World Geography which was expanded to include some important history for each continent. The 'social studies' classes for tenth grade were Civics and Free Enterprise, and the government focus in Civics was also entirely American. Eleventh grade was US History again and was taught chronologically all the way up until about the 1980s, though there was a heavy focus on the Great Depression and WWII. There was no senior history class but I had a free hour and couldn't drive, so I elected to take an independent study World History class. Learned more that year about non-US history than I had learned in all my schooling up to that point.

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#966556 - Mon Feb 11 2013 05:29 AM Re: How Were You Taught History? [Re: bloomsby]
AlonsoKing Offline
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Registered: Sat Feb 25 2012
Posts: 90
Loc: Belgium
I received my education in Belgium (Flanders), late 70s and 80s. Before the age of 12 not a lot of history was given. I remember there was a course that involved a mish-mash of history, geography, science and economics. The few things I remember was learning about the 'battle of the Golden Spurs' (1302), the independence of Belgium and the fact that Flanders was dominated by the French speaking part of Belgium until about the 1960s. I vaguely remember learning about a couple of historically important figures. The only one I recall is Gandhi.

The first year in highschool gave a general course in history in which we were taught divisions of historical periods: stone age - bronze age - iron age - ancient times (ended 476 CE, fall Western Roman Empire) - medieval times (476 - 1453, fall Eastern Roman Empire or 1492, discovery America) - newer times (1453/1492 - 1789 French Revolution) - newest times (1789 - 1945 end WWII) and modern times (1945 on).

In the second till sixth year of highschool we chronologically saw the periods mentioned above starting with ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome the second year, then (quickly and largely ignored) the middle ages, Renaissance, discovery of America, Reformation and counter-reformation (especially concerning the consequences it had for Flanders, the 'statue storm' and the governorship of the Duke of Alba), enlightenment, French revolution, industrial revolution, rise of nationalism, rise of socialism, German unification, WWI, interbellum and WWII.

Although history education (in my days) wasn't bad, it was only given one hour a week, which was not nearly enough in my opinion (I admit being biassed because I loved history and hated math and science). I found the history education I had superficial and lacking in non-European history.

From my mid-twenties I started filling in the gaps through self-education. 80% of my history knowledge I taught myself through reading and watching some excellent BBC documentaries. There are still a few gaps though, especially in USA history, which I discover all too often when doing some of the history quizzes here.

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#967260 - Wed Feb 13 2013 05:36 PM Re: How Were You Taught History? [Re: AlonsoKing]
bloomsby Offline
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Registered: Sun Apr 29 2001
Posts: 3557
Loc: Norwich England†UK††††††††††††
Quote:
Although history education (in my days) wasn't bad, it was only given one hour a week ...


That is very little indeed! As far as I remember, from age 13-16 we had three 40 or 45 minute lessons a week.

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#971163 - Fri Mar 08 2013 10:21 PM Re: How Were You Taught History? [Re: bloomsby]
bitterlyold Offline
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Registered: Sat Oct 15 2011
Posts: 121
Loc: Arkansas USA
Second southerner here (US) 60s-70s. I always loved school. I come from a family of educators, and I am one now. Obviously, the one social study I learned little from was economics. That, or I love being poor.

In elementary, we had more "themed" type history (social studies). Until about fifth grade, history was fairly well combined with science and reading. Math was the odd one out. We stayed with one teacher in a classroom, and she (almost exclusively female) taught all subjects.

In fifth grade, we got to "change classes" and go to specialized classes. As I recall, fifth grade pretty much centered on famous people (biographies) to teach history. And for a southern school, ours was pretty liberal: we learned about people from all over the globe, including *gasp* black people. Sixth through eighth grade was more time-line. We began in ancient Mesopotamia and worked our way up. I loved it that way, because it was easier to understand why one war would lead to another and another and another.....

The best part of all of this was that my father was a huge history buff. We didn't have money, but he did his best to take us to historic places: Indian grounds (Native American), Civil War battlefields, homesteads, etc. Anything that was within reach, he took us to see first hand. He would make up stories about arrowheads or miniballs (civil war bullets) we found and bring the past to life.

In those days, people were much more approachable and were happy to share stories about an old butter churn, model-T Ford, portrait, what-have-you. We got to hear first-person stories of history. My father was no respecter of race, so we met blacks, whites, native Americans, a family of Japanese internees from a local internment camp, etc. Mother was an English teacher and loved books and libraries, so we spent hours combing public and private libraries for obscure works: journals, diaries, cookbooks, family Bibles, you name it.

My brothers and I may have had to study history in school, but we got to live and learn it away from there.

Then my father died unexpectedly when I was 13.

My mother took a job in a private school in Memphis, so I was able to attend a private school for my high school years. And the work began in earnest. 9th grade was World History I (Hammurabi to Shakespeare). And Bible I: The Old Testament (two separate courses). 10th grade was World History II: Shakespeare to the founding of Jamestown. And Bible II: The New Testament (again, separate courses). 11th grade was AP American History and my second course (because I loved social studies) was 1/2 psych, 1/2 sociology. I didn't have to take any social studies my senior year, but I chose to take economics and advanced Bible studies.

I consider myself very fortunate.

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#971603 - Sun Mar 10 2013 09:54 PM Re: How Were You Taught History? [Re: bloomsby]
bloomsby Offline
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Registered: Sun Apr 29 2001
Posts: 3557
Loc: Norwich England†UK††††††††††††
A most interesting contribution.

I was also fortunate in having a father who was interested in history, and when he had the time he took me to all sorts of interesting places. We lived in London, so there was no lack of places of historical as well as general interest, such as the Tower of London, the Imperial War Museum, Hampton Court, the British Museum, St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Windsor Castle ...

We also visited the Geffrye Museum (devoted to the history of the home and home life), the London Museum (then in Kensington Gardens) on the history of London. (It's been amalgamated with the Guildhall Museum and moved to the Barbican in 1976).

Then there were also the various cathedrals within a 60-mile radius or so, such as Canterbury and St. Alban's. (We also visited Guildford Cathedral, which I didn't find so interesting).

I also remember a trip to the well preserved, quaint, picturesque old Cinque Port of Rye.

On the whole, my father left the business of taking me to art galleries to my mother. I think he saw art as a matter more for women. wink (It was also my mother who took me to the Geffrye Museum on the history of the home).

Most of these places were of course also of wider, more general interest. With most of these places, there were multiple visits - one when I was quite young, then subsequent visits later when I was able to understand more.

My parents were also very supportive in other ways, too. At about age 11/12 they gave me my first - somewhat basic - historical atlas. At about 13-14 this was no longer adequate and I asked for a really good one. My father made enquiries and it emerged that the kind of historical atlas I really wanted cost £3. 17s. 6d - a staggering sum for a book in the late 1950s. I never expected they would give be able to give it me, but fortunately a great-aunt of mine - a retired schoolmistress and scholarly lady who was relatively rather better well off than the rest of the family - heard about the problem and contributed a little over half the cost, so I received it as a joint present.

This long, rather personal contribution to the thread was inspired by bitterlyold's post.

(Obviously, actual history teaching was provided by my secondary school (high school) as described at the beginning of this thread).

Edited to correct typo.


Edited by bloomsby (Sun Mar 10 2013 09:59 PM)

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#971763 - Mon Mar 11 2013 08:34 PM Re: How Were You Taught History? [Re: bloomsby]
bitterlyold Offline
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Registered: Sat Oct 15 2011
Posts: 121
Loc: Arkansas USA
Thank you, Bloomsby. I enjoyed your story, too. I hope we meet.

Thom/bitterlyold

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#971897 - Tue Mar 12 2013 04:09 PM Re: How Were You Taught History? [Re: bloomsby]
bloomsby Offline
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Registered: Sun Apr 29 2001
Posts: 3557
Loc: Norwich England†UK††††††††††††
Many thanks, Thom. Perhaps one day we'll meet. Who knows? smile

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#972138 - Wed Mar 13 2013 11:59 AM Re: How Were You Taught History? [Re: bloomsby]
C30 Offline
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Registered: Sat Nov 13 2010
Posts: 92
Loc: Lancashire England†UK†††††††††
Mainly I suppose 75% of my knowledge of, and love of, history was gained after leaving school.

At Primary school, we were taught about stone age, bronze age, and by the time I left to go to Secondary Modern School, we has progressed to Boadicea! It seems our local school meadow rejoiced under the name "Bloody Meadow" and was reputed to be where said Queen and her Celts demolished the Roman 9th Legion. This was "local myth" as historians seem to favour Godmanchester, Huntingdon are most likely site - however I digress.
When I started higher school.....we were taught about Stone Age, etc.............by the time we moved house and location which entailed attending a different school, we had progressed to............Boadicea!
My new school, had taken things a bit further and were up to Saxon period as I recall..........when I left school to become a Junior Seaman, Royal Navy at age of 15, we had managed to get to 1066 historically.
Thus anything after that time period, I have taught myself, having inherited a love of history from my late mother.


Edited by C30 (Wed Mar 13 2013 12:00 PM)

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#972651 - Fri Mar 15 2013 07:04 PM Re: How Were You Taught History? [Re: C30]
bloomsby Offline
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Registered: Sun Apr 29 2001
Posts: 3557
Loc: Norwich England†UK††††††††††††
That sounds rather like French language teaching in some parts of England. I've heard and read stories about kids starting French from scratch in First School, then again in Middle School and - incredible as it sounds - yet again in Secondary School!

The reason given is that middle schools take in some kids who have learnt some French and some who have not, and that that this occurs at secondary school level. Even when it finally gets going for the third time it often moves at a snail's pace.

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