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The Right Kind of History: Teaching the Past in Twentieth-Century England [Hardcover]

David Cannadine , Jenny Keating , Nicola Sheldon
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: £55.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

18 Nov 2011 0230300863 978-0230300866 1
Teaching history in 20th century England: What was taught? How was it taught? Who decided and why? What lessons can we learn for our present and future?

A ground-breaking account of the teaching of history in England's state schools from the early 1900s to the present day this book represents a major contribution to the current debates about the place of history in our classrooms. Drawing on previously unpublished material, including an especially created oral history archive of memories from ex-pupils and teachers, the authors of this powerfully-argued book present an original and comprehensive account of the political decisions and the pedagogic practices which determined that the 'right sort of history' was taught.

Concluding with compelling recommendations about what needs to be done to safeguard the teaching of history in England's schools in the future, The Right Kind of History will be an invaluable resource for all those interested in history and its teaching.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1 edition (18 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230300863
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230300866
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,023,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'Their book should be compulsory reading for anyone wanting to take part in the current discussion about history teaching and its future in our schools. At a single stroke, this book puts the whole debate onto a more sophisticated and grown-up level.' - The Independent

Book Description

The history of the teaching of history in 20th century England: What was taught? How was it taught? Who decided these questions and why? And what lessons can we learn for our present and future?

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Policy, not history 8 May 2013
By reader 451 TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The project is worthy to enquire how history has been taught in England in the last century or so, as there is very little British history of education generally, and almost nothing on history itself as a subject. The authors moreover make the interesting point that the same debates about insufficient basic classroom knowledge and about the teaching of facts versus skills have been repeating themselves for much longer than tabloid writers care to remember. The Right Kind of History is worth reading for its ambitious scope, its somewhat surprising message, and its final chapters on the post-1980s history curriculum, which are the strongest.

At the same time, this must be put in context, and the reader must be aware that Cannadine wrote this with the agenda of shaping the curriculum's latest iteration, so far without success. Large and somewhat repetitive sections of the book, which is otherwise organised chronologically, concern the department of education and its mandarins, and national education policy. While this was indeed of relevance to the classroom, the result is nevertheless that the book dedicates more space to policy than to actual teaching. How society, empire, the war, the loss of empire, or the rise of the welfare state affected what was actually taught to pupils only gets a disappointingly limited amount of space. The authors don't provide enough information to judge, for example, how imperial was history as taught in the late Victoria era, or whether it resembled the Whig version of history then prevalent in academia. They could have made more use of classroom sources, whether originating in history examinations, in textbooks, or in surviving classroom material.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Unfortunately this book is a little heavy going at first, but it improves tremendously - perhaps because more oral history and rich narrative is available from 1930s.It is really a history of education as much as a history of history teaching. An absolute must for anyone interested in either subject and months of addtional material and reading from the website and references.
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4.0 out of 5 stars For my Daughter 14 Nov 2013
By Tre
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for my daughter who is doing a Masters in Education with History, she informs me it is exactly what she wanted.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This fascinating survey is based on a two-and-a-half year research project, based at London University's Institute of Historical Research. It looks at history as taught in 20th-century England's state schools, involving the history of education and the history of culture.

History as a subject has often suffered at the hands of our rulers. For example, Blair told the US Congress, "There has never been a time when ... a study of history provides so little instruction for our present day." This was true of himself.

Kenneth Clarke abandoned Baker's commitment to ensure history was compulsory till the age of 16. `Clarke's deeply unfortunate decision' wrecked the plan of an integrated curriculum which the History Working Group had designed to lead step by step from 5 to 16, culminating in two years devoted to 20th-century British and world history.

Clarke removed these two years from Key Stage 4 (15 and 16) and jammed them into Key Stage 3 (13 and 14). This decision disconnected the study of history from GCSE exams. In academies, the time given to history has fallen still further, as the Historical Association reports.

So, across the 20th-century, history teaching in England has finished at 14 or earlier. There was never a golden age of history teaching and learning.

The authors urge that history should be a compulsory subject up to the age of 16. This excellent book presents evidence and thought that should raise the level of discussion about education and about history in our schools.
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