KKK still fascinates

6th June 2008 at 01:00
The lack of talking points at all exam levels meant it was a good year, as far as the history department at Kirwall Grammar in Orkney was concerned
The lack of talking points at all exam levels meant it was a good year, as far as the history department at Kirwall Grammar in Orkney was concerned.

At Higher, where teacher Graham Shearer specialises in preparing candidates for the essays of Paper 1, straightforward questions gave opportunity for showing off knowledge.

In modern British and Scottish history, popular choices were Question 2, about the extent to which poverty begat the Liberal Government's social reforms between 1906 and 1914, and Question 3, about whether women's contribution during the First World War was the main reason that they gained voting rights in 1918.

Question 1, on the growth of democracy in Britain after 1860, was less popular as it is a subject pupils do not relate to easily, although Mr Shearer has canny ways of making it appeal, such as taking on the guise of 19th-century politicians on his soap box. They would frequently have rotten tomatoes thrown at them, so he allows his new Higher class to do just that.

In European and world history, Question 15 on the growth of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s was a popular choice, as pupils find the topic gripping. They are "incredulous" that a group with extreme racist views had so much power until relatively recently.

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