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Michael Gove’s Island Story – why history teachers are up in arms

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Michael Gove’s Island Story – why history teachers are up in arms
Andrew Stone
Socialist History seminar
13 May 2013

Michael_Gove_croppedEvery now and then the Institute of Historical Research has a seminar that is not about research into History itself but about present day concerns and policies regarding how History is taught or expressed.  Today’s podcast under the spotlight is a politically charged piece looking at the Secretary of Education’s plans for a revised History curriculum.

Andrew Stone is a member of the Defense of School History campaign and in this presentation given to the Socialist History seminar he outlines why he thinks the new proposed curriculum is a backward step.  He believes that the new curriculum will provide an insular narrative in which History is seen through the prism of Imperial nostalgia.  The presentation is largely a summary of the key points in which Stone believes the new curriculum fails to meet the requirements of modern school education.  These are:

  1. Content overload
  2. Sequential teaching
  3. Pedagogy
  4. Imperial nostalgia

Stone also touches upon dissatisfaction with the level of consultation over these plans and concludes with his assessment of what he believes Michael Gove is doing and the reasons why.  Various surveys (Stone tells us) have shown that teachers and History institutions are not happy with the proposals.  One quote from the Association of School and College Teachers seems to sum this up:

 “The proposed key stage three curriculum is unteachable and will turn students away from History. Adoption could be seriously detrimental to the future take-up of History at key stage four and beyond.”

History SPOT already contains several podcasts related to the subject of History teaching.  Michael Gove himself presented his viewpoints about History education in the 2011 History in Education Conference held at the University of London.  His presentation is available alongside various other papers about the state of History education in the UK.  Then there is the Historians of Education in Scotland conference looking at the recent history of education in Scotland as well as modern day concerns.   

This podcast runs to 21 minutes and is available to listen on History SPOT.

To listen to the podcast click here.