Why history is becoming a thing of the past

14th September 2001 at 01:00
Teachers seem to be turning history teaching into another branch of English comprehension and writing practice in their effort to obtain good results in national literacy tests.

This tendency, most marked in Years 2 and 6, was found by Rosie Turner-Bisset of the University of Hertfordshire during her four-year study of the beliefs and practice of student teachers in England learning to teach history.

In 1998-99, when the literacy strategy had little impact on the rest of the curriculum, students were broadly free to decide what history to teach and how to teach it during their classroom practice, she told the EERA conference.

But, by 1999, when the numeracy strategy was introduced, occupying the rest of the morning in many schools, the amount of history taught had declined. Teachers tended to demand written work and comprehension exercises, making it difficult for students to use the enquiry-based approach which is fundamental to learning history.

Contact R.Turner_Bisset@herts.ac.uk

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