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History classes - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
History classes
Well, it's a little late to do anything but say "Smeltings is weird," but I got a comment on the SQ version of Shifts saying that I have the history curriculum all wrong ("Yr. 7-9 we do British history, up to vaguely the 1900's (we don't do none of the wars). It's mostly just cultural stuff, but some wars. GCSE History (if you want to take it) has two different options. History of Medicine, and Modern World History. I've taken Modern World History, I do Causes of WW1; WW1 (home front and western front, with naval and air, a little bit of Eastern Front - enough to know what's going on); Treaty of Versailles; League of Nations; Hitler's Foreign Policy; an aspect of WW2 for coursework (we did evacuation); Causes of the Cold War; an aspect of Vietnam for coursework; and Germany and the USA (or Britain and Russia; you have to look at a dictatorship and a democracy) between the wars."). :headscratch: I got it off of a national curriculum site. It's not like I randomly thought I'd use those things for particular classes for plot or theme reasons; I put them in because that was what the national curriculum site said they were supposed to be. Or is there a whole lot more flexibility than I'm led to believe?

And how does one do history up to the 1900s without doing any of the wars? One may or may not like studying wars as history, but, erm... they kind of are major historical events, usually with a lot of repercussions. And isn't "British history up to 1900s" kind of a broad subject? From Celtic settlements to the end of the Victorian era? While apparently not studying the War of the Roses, the Crusades, or any other wars.

:is just puzzled:

Then again, we do "European history" in a single year. But it's mainly just broad strokes--a unit on classical civilization, a unit on the Middle Ages (I remember a chart of the socio-political structures of feudalism), the Renaissance, and then a hefty section on the world wars. It's all pretty sketchy. American history, we can do in one year, but let's face it--young country. Colonial days and Revolution (through Constitution), antebellum America, the Civil War and Reconstruction, muddy period of time in the later 1800s (mostly focused on the immigration waves), then the world wars and cold war. You can't do any of it in depth, but it can be done in a year in slightly more detail than the kind of quick sketch we get of European history, or the very broad strokes of "non-western"... although I understand that non-western history has been integrated into general history now. Which has to make everything even sketchier, because there's no more time given to history.

:grumbles: More time for history classes!

I feel a bit...: confused confused

11 comments or Leave a comment
zoepaleologa From: zoepaleologa Date: December 12th, 2004 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Brit here. It actually depends on which syllabus your school chooses. And that in turn depends on which examining board your school is registered with. There are several offering GCSE's and they each usually have several options in History.

I did History A level twice. The first time (an ignominous grade E) was English History from 1399 - 1760, and European from 1453 - 1789. Later on, I did Europe 1918 - 1960 and England 1832 - 1960 (got an A). Both times the examination board was London University - different electives.

So although your interlocutor is possibly looking at her own experience, that does not make your research flawed.
sreya From: sreya Date: December 12th, 2004 12:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eh, we already knew Smeltings was weird -- come on, violet knickers and boater caps? In the 1990s? On teenagers? *snickering*
kikei From: kikei Date: December 12th, 2004 01:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, it depends on whay syllabus is being done. I did the GCE 'O' Level (General Certificate of Education), and in that, the furthest we went up to in history were the Russian Revolutions... 1917? I think. so from 1600s to 1917. In IB, we went from the early 1900s up until present day. My brother, on the other hand, is doing the IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) curriculum and right now he's doing a lot of stuff I covered later, because he's going to take modern world history in a year or so. but the scope of IGCSE is less.

From what you have in Shifts, it seems more towards GCE than IGCSE, especially the stuff you mentioned on Catherine the Great in the last installment... I remember studying enlightened despots, and she was one of them. The Czarina Catherine, I assume? so you are right. However, thr GCE curriculum is being phased out. then again, I also picture Smeltings as one of those old schools that really don't like changing so they could still follow the GCE curriculum as opposed to the IGCSE.

whoa. that sounds like gibberish. erk. Hope it makes sense, though, because I think you're right on track with Shifts, at least, according to what I studied!

antonia_east From: antonia_east Date: December 12th, 2004 01:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Another brit sticking her oar in. I really don't think it matters. For GCSE and A level it's just down to which examining board they go with - plus there are many options within each paper so it just depends on the areas each school's teachers feel most comfortable with. You study a load of very different subjects. True, most people will do the first and secomd world wars in some way shape or form, but you other things are very random.
I remember studying the battle of Hastings etc aged 12 Tudors aged 13, the Korean War and the Cold War and the Cuban missile crisis aged 14, the first world war, the causes of the second world war, the League of nations, the rise of Hitler and the Russian revolution for GCSE, and then Martin Luther, Henry VII, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, Appeasement in the 30s, Spain in the seventeenth century and (my choice for coursework - the European Witch-craze)for A level!

Smeltings is a public school, therefore it doesn't have to follow the national curriculum (I don't think). So you could make up pretty much anything. But I think your classes are fine. Everyone I know who did History at different schools learnt slightly different things.
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 12th, 2004 04:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't remember what syllabus it was, unfortunately. I spent about two hours clicking around, looking for a reasonably detailed curriculum that I have Remus teaching. It was on a government site, as I recall, but no clue anymore which one. Of course, I could have clicked away from the government site as I went. Oh, well. I should keep notes on these things.
(Deleted comment)
danel4d From: danel4d Date: December 13th, 2004 05:34 am (UTC) (Link)
There's also the welsh board, WJEC, which I took Drama and Theatre Studies in. It was really great to have a bilingual paper. My school, at least, chose each subject seperately from each board, choosing the one that best suited the areas that the teachers felt most capable in. But from what I saw, the history curriculum you followed in there was more or less like what I did; particularly the focus on the Nazis. There's been a few complaints about that recently, that History in British Schools focuses too tightly upon the Nazis, to the exclusion of much else... its kind of understandable, though... WW2 is our 'finest hour', pretty much, coming as it does sometime between Evil Empire and decline into Irrelevance. Still...
But, yes, the focus on Nazis is pretty much yes. Yes.
sophonax From: sophonax Date: December 12th, 2004 02:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, a lot of American schools now require *two* years of American history, and often only one year of any other history class. Groan. I loathe anti-Americanism in any form and think in-depth historical study of one's own nation is a Good Thing, generally, but two years of a fairly young country and then only one year for the whole rest of the world is getting things a little bit backward, I think.

I was fairly satisfied with my own high-school history education: one semester ancient civilizations, one semester medieval Europe, one year Europe from Renaissance to 20th century, one year American from Colonial to the 20th century, and one year global history of the 20th century. Not perfect, but a good introduction to everything. Sadly, the year after I graduated, my school dropped the European history requirement for the advanced track and instead instituted a yearlong course in "American Government and Politics" for the sophomore year. Useful thing to know, but from what I've heard it's not much more than the ultrabasic "three branches of government blah blah blah."

Definitely needs to be more history education EVERYWHERE!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 12th, 2004 04:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, my history classes aren't among the ones I have a lot of complaints about. I wish European history had been taught by someone a bit more interesting than I had (think Ferris Bueller's Ec teacher, then give him fewer funny quirks), but it was a good progression. One year was devoted to local and state history. I don't know how they managed to stretch local/regional out for as long as they did! (And they still skipped something I found out later, which was the most interesting thing I know about my home territory--it used to be called "The Burnt-Over District" from all the revivals and religions formed in a short period of time within only miles from one another. I had a vague notion about Spiritualism--as a religion--coming from nearby and of course it's hard to miss Mormonism when you have reason to be in Palmyra frequently, but there were a lot of religions that appeared around the same time, and... Er, okay. Maybe I find weird things interesting. But we didn't cover that at all, and it seems like, you know, a fairly major thing to have happened. I didn't find out about it until some extra reading I did during my college major.)

We had European history and Civics both required.

I'd love to see more focus on history in school. I'm not sure when they'll find time for it, though, with all the time spent doing social issues, etc. There are only so many hours in a day, after all.
divinemum From: divinemum Date: December 12th, 2004 04:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's really ironic, FernWithy, because my AP American History class spent awhile talking about the "Burnt-Over District"- at least a month. (We spent more time talking about that than we did the Civil War, which is ironic because I live in the south.)I found the whole thing very interesting, considering I'm a Mormon.(But not *just* for that reason.) :D
From: arclevel Date: December 12th, 2004 05:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
From 7th to 12th grade (92-98), I took three full years of American History. Two and a half were required. We also had one year of world geography, which we all promptly forgot and one year of world cultures, which at least touched on history, but not much. An additional semester of American government was required; if you took the optional comparative government class, it briefly touched on the history of five other countries. I was one of the few students who took the optional one year European History class, which started with a brief summary of the Hundred Years War. World history was simply not an offered class, nor was any class that studied ancient history. I loved all my history classes, and particularly enjoyed my final US History class, but a lot of that was due to the teacher. Most students left my high school knowing little to nothing of the history of any other part of the world, except as it directly impacted US History. I'm with you -- more history.
hallie2985 From: hallie2985 Date: December 15th, 2004 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
The other thing to remember is that Smeltings is a private school; they create their own curriculum. There's a whole host of reasons why your research is okay. ALso, given that the story takes place in the Potterverse, I think we can fairly safely say that the curriculum today is not the same as it was in 1995.

Fear not, all is well!
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