History in School

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tvdxer

Senior Member
Minnesota, U.S.A. - English
What history (e.g. British, American, Egyptian...) was taught to you during your school years?

We had ancient history in 6th grade, ages 11-12, in which we covered Roman, Greek, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Chinese, and Indian civilizations, American history prior to the Civil War in 7th grade (12-13), American history after the Civil War in 10th Grade (15-16), and a class called "World History" in the second semester of 12th grade (age 18), in which we really just discussed a few current / recent issues, e.g. apartheid, the Israel - Palestine conflict, etc.

Personally, I am very unimpressed with the scope and depth of what we covered. The most surprising omission was European history after the fall of Rome, at least when it does not directly relate to our country. Almost all of the students in my school(s) traced their roots back to some country in Europe, usually a northern European country, yet many students probably finished their secondary education ignorant of Charlemagne, the Norman conquest, French Revolution, and the Spanish civil war.

==

Cuáles historias (e.g. Británica, Estadounidense, Egipta) se enseñaron durante sus años en la escuela?


Nos enseñaron la historia antigua en el sexto grado (edad 11 - 12), en la que se cubrieron las civilizaciónes de Roma, Grecia, Mesopotamia, Egipto, China, e India; la historia estadounidense hasta la guerra civil en el septimo (edad 12-13); la misma desde la guerra civil en el decimo grado (edad 15-16); y en el año ultimo, una clase llamada "Historia Mundial", en la que realmente solo discutimos unos asuntos actuales / recientes, por ejemplo el apartheid, el conflicto entre Israel y Palestina, etc.

Personalmente, no me impresionó lo que nos enseñó. La omisión mas sorprendente fue de la historia Europeana despues de la caída de Roma, por lo menos cuando no se relaciónaba directamente a la historia de nuestro país. Casi todos los estudiantes en mis escuelas tenían herencias de algunos países en Europa, usualmente los del norte, pero muchos estudiantes cumplieron con su educación secundaria sin conocimiento con Charlemagne, la conquista Normana, la Revolución Francesa, o la guerra civil Española.

(Corrections welcome!)
 
  • Lij

    New Member
    England English
    History lessons in England. It was a while ago, so I don't remember exactly what we did. Going through secondary school, in Year 7 (11-12) we did Black Peoples of the Americas. In Year 8 (12-13) we did something of the French Revolution. And the Tudors, Victorians. And Year 9 (13-14) we did the first and second World Wars, the Royal Family, and a really ridiculous time period we covered - the 60's. He told us about JFK, Cuba, The Beatles and mini-skirts.

    I really did not enjoy History. I stopped doing History in Year 10, but if you decided to carry on you got to learn about coal. I think our history lessons were rather pointless.
     

    Henryk

    Senior Member
    Germany, German
    I only still know that we covered Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek, the Roman Empire, World War I & II and the Cold War. I really didn't like this subject as it was just uninteresting to me at that time. Maybe I would have liked it more if I were taught it in a more appealing way.

    I also still know that we had to copy emblems of the Hanseatic towns, and we did that almost half a school year. Today, however, I watch almost all history documentaries I discover on TV.
     

    danielfranco

    Senior Member
    I suppose that history must have not been my favorite subject during my school years. I cannot remember much of it. I remember better the stuff I have learned on my own as an adult... Then again, it has been close to twenty years since I finished high school, so maybe my memory is just rusty...
    The one thing that I remember vividly is being taught in elementary school in Mexico about the heroic last stand by a few teenagers and their teachers at the military academy on the Chapultépec forest outside Mexico City, when they faced off against the invading American army, to the death.
    I mean, the kids' death...
    It is a big deal and a prominent episode of Mexican history, with monuments and national holidays to conmemorate such event...
    But when I studied history in high school here in the States, there was no mention of it at all.
    Not even in passing.
    Not a pip.
    Maybe it's difficult to explain how an attacking squad massacred a handful of school children... Then again, the school was based in a former fortress, and the kids were actually shooting live ammo at the advancing soldiers, so I suppose rules of engagement apply, right?
     

    Keikikoka

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    4th grade = North Carolina History
    5th grade = US History
    6th grade = general Social Studies class.. geography, religions, cultures
    7th grade = New York History (I moved to NY that year)
    8th grade = North Carolina History
    9th grade = Economics, Law and Politics
    10th grade = World History
    11th grade = United States History, AP US History (a bit more indepth/less biased)
    12th grade = NONE :)
     

    KittyCatty

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi I'm studying A-level History at the moment, but I'll tell you everything

    Primary school
    When I was about 9 - the Ancient Greeks, the Victorians
    age 10- the Ancient Greeks again (I swapped schools), local history (as in my village)
    age 11- the 2nd World War

    At secondary school - age 11-12 - Castles, the Romans
    age 12-13 - the Monghols
    13-14 - The First World War, the Industrial Revolution
    GCSE (14-16) - the History of medicine, the American-West, Elizabeth I
    A level (16-18) - the rise of the Nazis, Bolshevism (up til Lenin died), Chartism, 17th century British monarchy, Oliver Cromwell and I had to do an individual study on any topic of my choice. I chose the women's suffrage movement, with a focus on the contributions of all classes.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    In 1950s and 60s Ireland, we covered Irish and European history.
    This is pretty much what I learned…
    Irish - how badly the English treated Ireland. :(
    European - how badly England related to the rest of Europe. :D
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    It's been too long for me to remember the subject in any detail, but I do recall--
    --very little attention to ancient history
    --lots about Europe from the Dark Ages on through WWII
    --lots about US history, with emphasis on political philosophy and how the French helped save us from the nasty Brits (see Maxi, it's not just the Irish curriculum!)
    7th grade was local state history...Gloves were manufactured in Gloversville and things of that intellectual depth, and also the building of the Erie Canal, and its effects on economic development

    12th grade..the last year of high school, we had the equivalent of AP (advanced placement) world issues. Fascinating course.

    All of this was pre-political kerrectitude, so we got a different bucket of narrow perceptions and prejudices from those dished out today, but we did get serious instruction in critical thinking, which is why politically kerrect instruction fails the honesty test. For example, we were not taught that everyone is nice and has great intrinsic value as a person. We learned such offensive ideas as questioning what was published in newspapers, spoken by government leaders, and printed in books.
     

    Vanda

    Moderesa de Beagá
    Português/ Brasil
    In general lines, it goes like that:
    Elementary school (1st to 4th grade) Brazil´s History since its discovering
    (5th to 7th) Pre-colombian America, the Conquest of the Americas , Brazil as a nation, since independence to nowadays.
    (7th to 8th) - Ancient History: Egypt, Hebrews, Asia, Grecia, Rome , Middle Ages, Modern world : Enlightnment, Revolutions, World Wars
    High school - a plunging into Modern History (including Brazil´s)
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    Well, I started to learn history at the age of 11, which would be the 5th grade. I cannot recall exactly the order of what we learnt, but I remember we started with Prehistory, Ancient Civilizations (Egypt, Mesopotamia etc.), A lot of Greece, a lot of Rome, (whole semesters), Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque(?), Manierism, French Revolution, and everythng important in European history, until the WWII. We also studied, but very little, the history of South Slavs, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Montenegro... Each and everyone, had two units, not less not more:) We did not learn much abour US history, not any other continent.
    Then, the whole year, WWII, but.... Very little about WWII in the world, but almost a whole year about the "people's fight against the fascism", i.e. WWII in Yugoslavia (all the territories of ex-Yugoslavia). The most boring and the most stupid part... Firs ofansive, second, etc until the I do't know which one.. I think we learn even which color of the nickers Tito wore, and I really was bored to death... Then in the high school, all from the beginning, but in more detail... And like this four years more until the age of 18.
    My true love for history I discovered at the University, when I started to study Spanish language and literature. With the history of Spain, and Latin America, pre and post colombian one, when I had to do research in libraries, a whole new world was revealed to me.

    I think that nowadays, children do the same, only some things are changed, according to the daily politics... Now the people¡s fight against the fascism" is put in two or three lessons at most, but the Serbian history is done in depth....

    I really don't know if children learn more of 20th century now... i suppose yes, but what and how, I really don't know...
     

    betulina

    Senior Member
    català - Catalunya
    I remember I enjoyed my History lessons at my primary school.
    The first thing I remember of History lessons is when I was 7-8. We began with the local history, the Iberian settlements around our town and so on. Then, more globally, at the age of 10-11, we saw Prehistory (Paleolithic, Neolithic...) and then Greece, and the Roman Empire, generally speaking and also related to our town. At 12-13 we started European history, which included lots of Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution, Working Movement and the Russian Revolution. And probably the first World War. During the whole last year in the school (13-14 years of age), we had history of Catalonia and we finished with the Spanish Civil War, the dictatorship and the political transition. And we had some lessons about fascism and nazism.
    At the secondary school, history of Catalonia and then I think the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution again... It's amazing I remember primary school lessons better than the ones at the secondary school :confused: It was probably the teacher... or the age :rolleyes:
     

    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Since we repeat over and over (and over) some of the stuff we teach our kids I won't do a grade 1 this grade 2 that kind of list.

    I should add that the books cover more history than what is taught so as to give a student a chance to read on his/her own te additional information (something that happens once evey 100 years I believe)

    Greek history through the ages
    Messopotamia (sp?), Egypt touched lightly
    Rome (briefly, just so we can move on the the Byzantine Empire)
    Middle Ages in W. Europe (briefly. REALLY briefly)
    Renaisance (sp?) , the age of Enlightment, French Revolution, Napoleonic Era
    Both the World Wars (though mostly from a Greek perspective)

    As for the rest of the globe err... we do teach the basics about the colonisation of the world, about the American Revolution, the slave trade and that's about it I'm afraid
     

    Pivra

    Senior Member
    ...
    in Thailand

    We learn about our history and WWI WWII and in my old school we learned about Renaissance Europe Industrial Revolution Arab-Israeli conflict, WWI WWII Thailand India China too.
     

    ronanpoirier

    Senior Member
    Brazil - Portuguese
    4th Grade: Rio Grande do Sul's History
    5th Grade: Ancient History
    6th Grade: Middle Age
    7th Grade: Modern History
    8th Grade: Conteporany History
    1st year, High School: Ancient History
    2nd year, High School: Middle Age + Modern History
    3rd year, High School: Conteporany History with a biggest emphasis on Brazil at that time.

    Brazil's History was studied in 7th grade, 8th grade, 2nd high school year and 3rd as well according to the epoch we were talking about.
     

    Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    7th and 8th: Ancient history (we had to memorize the 7 wonders!)
    9th: Pennsylvania history (taught by the phys. ed. teacher--horrors!)
    10th: European (that's when I discovered the Tudors and Ferdinand and Isabella! Probably one of the most influential courses I've ever taken)
    11th: American (boring after the European)
    12th: American Constitution!! (our teacher made us almost memorize the entire Constitution. I hated it at the time, but it has come in handy!)
     
    Because my birthday falls during the school summer holidays I was fortunate to start formal education at the age of 4.

    The early years covered history in a very pictorial way. I remember our reading books being beautifully illustrated with depictions of prehistoric man, "cave men" was how they were described, heroic Greeks, conquering Romans, the invading Vikings, Angles and Saxons. Egypt, with its deities, mummies, heiroglyphs, temples, and the pyramids.

    At age 7 I remember a wonderful project on native American Indians. We read Longfellow's "Hiawatha" then went on to construct our very own model Indian settlement. We made wigwams and totem poles, together with tiny plasticine figures of the people. Wonderful!

    When I started Grammar School (age 11) history lessons became far more serious and "in depth". We covered the ancient civilisations of Greece, Rome, Egypt, South America. Special attention was paid to the influence of the Romans on the Britons, and the study of the ancient tribes and kingdoms of Britain.

    Next came the Norman Invasion, followed by all major events in British history. I found the Mediaeval period particularly intertesting. Notable monarchs such as King John, Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, Charles I and II, George III, were given close attention. I've recently discovered that I am descended from William Wycherley (1640-1716). He was considered to be one of the greatest Restoration dramtists and poets and had a "liaison dangereux" with one of Charles II's mistresses. A loveable rogue. I have traced my ancestry through my paternal grandmother, Emma Wycherley.

    Finally we studied "modern history" which I found boring in the extreme. Perhaps it was the change of teacher which did it. She stood throughout the lessons, hands on desk, and swayed from side to side in the manner of a hypnotist's accessory. A real blue stocking, she was so proud of her Oxford B.A. and M.A. in Modern History Most of us suspected she was on the gin!

    How strange that I, an aspiring French teacher, should become an archaeologist. Just 5 years after leaving school I became an afficianado of Queen Victoria and all the "modern history" which she witnessed during her 63 year reign.

    Education is simply a "sowing of seeds" which may or may not bear fruit in our adult life. Were she still around I know that my aforementioned history teacher would be very proud of me.

    I dedicate this post to the memory of Miss Jeffreys, B.A. M.A. Oxon.


    LRV
     

    Jhorer Brishti

    Senior Member
    United States/Bangladesh English/Bengali
    I'm amazed that so many of you disliked History during school. As for me History is one of my most favorite subjects. I particularly enjoy Ancient History up until the 18th century when events start getting less exciting since by then the world is not so shockingly different from modern times.

    Throughout elementary school we learned American History, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Age of Exploration,etc. but our first comprehensive class was World History in 9th Grade(I'm about to finish 12th this year) and we covered a time span from the beginnings of Prehistoric man up until the Vietnam War, Creation of Israel,etc. As it was World History we learned about civilizations all over the world: China,Byzantine, Western Europe, Indian,Japan, Mesopotamia,Egypt,Middle East, the East African Kingdoms of Mali, Ethiopia,etc. I find History to be very enriching and entertaining and was horrified to learn that my cousins in Montreal have History as an optional choice in High School!
     

    Vespasian

    Senior Member
    Switzerland, German language
    History was one of my favourite subjects in school and I particularly enjoyed learning about Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, the French Revolution, World War I and World War II. At some point I was very frustrated when I realized that "Classical antiquity" would never come back as a subject. ;)
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I've always liked history, but I didn't get much from the classes I attended in school. It's a difficult subject to make interesting.

    Here's what I remember being taught:

    4th grade: A little prelude where we learned about the early days of Portugal. Independence, the first kings, territorial expansion.

    6th grade: More kings, more expansion, medieval agrarian laws. (This is all I can dig out of my memory.)

    7th grade: This was more interesting; a little paleontology, prehistory, Fertile Crescent, ancient Greece and ancient Rome.

    8th grade: Middle Ages, Renaissance, Discoveries, Enlightenment, French Revolution.

    9th grade: 19th and 20th century, but it's all a blur to me. Is there a law that says modern history must be made boring?

    That's all the history I learned at school.
     

    fenixpollo

    moderator
    American English
    What a horrible, depressing thread. Instead of discussing HOW history is taught, you all just listed the subjects that were covered -- as the question indicated.
    tvdxer said:
    What history (e.g. British, American, Egyptian...) was taught to you during your school years?
    This is the entire reason that you hated history in school: because, just like your posts above, the study of history was just a mechanical, mind-numbing roll call of historical names and dates. It wasn't made relevant to you or your present situation. No wonder history repeats itself: nobody ever learns from it!

    In my own history classes, we were so busy memorizing the facts about historical events (in chronological order, of course), that we ran out of time to study everything that happened after November 22, 1963 -- that is, some of the most relevant events of all. History was the only class I failed in high school, and that class was probably the main reason I became a history teacher.
    Brioche said:
    As the old saying goes: There are no dull subjects, only dull teachers.
    And dull curriculum and textbook writers, and dull school officials that continue to bore the students out of their skulls with the same, century-old model of instruction.

    Sigh.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    fenixpollo said:
    What a horrible, depressing thread. Instead of discussing HOW history is taught, you all just listed the subjects that were covered -- as the question indicated.
    Anything else would have been deleted as off-topic.
     

    Residente Calle 13

    Senior Member
    New York City
    Without the voice of reason every faith is its own curse
    Without freedom from the past things can only get worse


    History Will Teach Us Nothing, Sting.
     

    fenixpollo

    moderator
    American English
    Residente Calle 13 said:
    Without the voice of reason every faith is its own curse
    Without freedom from the past things can only get worse

    History Will Teach Us Nothing, Sting.
    Yes It Will, Residente.
    By the way, my name is not Sting.

    Let's Forget About Events As Soon As They Happen. That's a good idea. :rolleyes:
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    fenixpollo said:
    What a horrible, depressing thread. Instead of discussing HOW history is taught, you all just listed the subjects that were covered -- as the question indicated. This is the entire reason that you hated history in school: because, just like your posts above, the study of history was just a mechanical, mind-numbing roll call of historical names and dates. It wasn't made relevant to you or your present situation. No wonder history repeats itself: nobody ever learns from it!

    In my own history classes, we were so busy memorizing the facts about historical events (in chronological order, of course), that we ran out of time to study everything that happened after November 22, 1963 -- that is, some of the most relevant events of all. History was the only class I failed in high school, and that class was probably the main reason I became a history teacher. And dull curriculum and textbook writers, and dull school officials that continue to bore the students out of their skulls with the same, century-old model of instruction.

    Sigh.
    You are completely right...
    I just hope you learnt the lesson and that your students are not bored to death, too:D
    The thing is that most of history teachers, and even more school programs are really boring. Jst dates, dates, names, names, facts... If someone knew to wrap it up in a nice, exciting and interesting story, I am sure this thread would have had a completely different contents...
     

    betulina

    Senior Member
    català - Catalunya
    You're quite right, fenixpollo, we said what we were asked for, but I can tell that I really enjoyed most of my History lessons at school, particularly the last two years (not lessons...), and thanks to my teacher, of course.
    I learned the French Revolution reading a comic he did, for example, and I still keep it, of course! Any doubt about it, I just have to look at it again :) And when the "Commune of Paris" (I hope that's the English term) arrived, we gathered in groups and planned our own commune. With the Working Class Movement we studied the different ideologies of the time and then we compared with the present ones and went to interview trade unions leaders to talk about it. And with the Spanish Civil War we watched lots of slides and interviewed our grandparents, for example... I'll always remember my talk with my grandparents... :)

    I don't remember us learning dates and names, I just remember us being aware of what had happened and the repercusion nowadays. A friend of mine became a historian and she always says that it was thanks to that teacher :) (Nothing to do with the one we had at the secondary school.... :()
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    fenixpollo said:
    Residente Calle 13 said:
    Without the voice of reason every faith is its own curse
    Without freedom from the past things can only get worse

    History Will Teach Us Nothing, Sting.
    Yes It Will, Residente.
    By the way, my name is not Sting.

    Let's Forget About Events As Soon As They Happen. That's a good idea. :rolleyes:
    I don't think Residente was confusing you with Sting, Fenix. Or that Sting was saying we should forget about the past.
     

    fenixpollo

    moderator
    American English
    Outsider said:
    I don't think Residente was confusing you with Sting, Fenix.
    I know, Outsider. I was just being flippant. :rolleyes:
    Out said:
    Or that Sting was saying we should forget about the past.
    On second reading, I realize that you're right -- Sting wants freedom from the past, not ignorance of it. Thanks for correcting me. So, Residente... (Emily LaTella voice) never mind.

    I'm very heartened to see posts from betulina, Jhorer and others who liked their history class/teacher. It gives me hope that all is not lost. :)
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    I loathed history.
    I found the dates indistinguishable and the battles constant and bewildering.
    I couldn't tell my Sun King from my gallant Irish rebels.
    I still don't care for it.
    They lie.
     

    wsitiplaju

    Senior Member
    USA English
    danielfranco said:
    The one thing that I remember vividly is being taught in elementary school in Mexico about the heroic last stand by a few teenagers and their teachers at the military academy on the Chapultépec forest outside Mexico City, when they faced off against the invading American army, to the death.
    I mean, the kids' death...
    It is a big deal and a prominent episode of Mexican history, with monuments and national holidays to conmemorate such event...
    But when I studied history in high school here in the States, there was no mention of it at all.
    Not even in passing.
    Not a pip.
    Maybe it's difficult to explain how an attacking squad massacred a handful of school children... Then again, the school was based in a former fortress, and the kids were actually shooting live ammo at the advancing soldiers, so I suppose rules of engagement apply, right?
    In New York City you can visit Grant's Tomb, where there is a nice display commemorating how Ulysses S. Grant comandeered the taking of the Castle of Chapultepec, a brilliant feat for the young officer and a fitting beginning for a distinguished career. Long live nationalist history.
     

    Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    I remember my very first history class, the teacher dictated to us the definition of history by Marx and Engels. So I thought to myself. this all going to be fucked up. So I hated and still hate history.
     

    swindaff

    Senior Member
    Italian - Neapolitan
    Never liked studying history. It was all about learning names and dates by heart, with no critical/deep/meaningful thinking about events.

    Anyway:
    Primary school (age 6-10): from prehistory to Italian Unification (I think). We mainly studied European history, but also something about Asia (up until 1500 circa) and America (from Columbus on). Nothing about Africa, apart from Ancient Egypt. Nothing about Southern America.
    Middle School (age 11-13): same as above + World War I and very (very, very) shortly WW II. Nothing about Africa, apart from Ancient Egypt and a little mention to Italian (fascist) colonies. Nothing about Southern America.
    High School (age 14-19): from the Middle Ages to Cold War. XX century more in detail (e.g. Russia/URSS, totalitarianisms in Europe). Africa as above + apartheid. Nothing about Southern America; however, having studied Spanish, we did some history of Latin America during our Spanish Literature classes (in senior year, we also studied other literatures in Spanish i.e. Latin America).

    University: I did one single exam and it was about modern history of Europe and US.
     
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