Friday, April 1

Teaching History to Children

Here’s a very interesting article on how to teach history to children. I quote one piece specifically:

By about the age of eight or 10, children should have a simple, logical and non-cynical narrative of their country to carry around for the rest of their lives as a net to catch knowledge in. Non-cynical, because children cannot build such a net if teachers are running down the credibility of what they impart. That is the problem with teaching young people: there is a line on one side of which a teacher’s duty is to promote credulity and on the other side of which it is to promote scepticism. Errors are inevitable. But they will be self-correcting, to some extent. By age 16, students will have as much cynicism and “distance” as any educator could wish.

History is important for citizens, it provides the kids with the framework of what the society was and is like, what are its expectations and what it expects the future citizens to be like. But in particular, I liked the idea of history being a net to catch knowledge in.

But looking at the teaching of history to my two kids, it is seriously crappy. If you ask them what being British means, they have no clue. I got more out of me being taught in India about being Indian rather than my kids are getting taught about being British. Which is a shame.

One has to have pride in their country. It gives a sense of belonging. Nothing wrong in having pride in your country. You have to have pride and feel good about yourself, no? Otherwise what kind of kids are we raising? And that emerges from a clear understanding of the good things that your country has done, a clear explanation of the bad things we did and how we improved upon it. Much to do, much to do, I am afraid

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