I’m intrigued by the idea of children ‘…leaning the kings and queens of England.’ What is the meaning of learning in this context? Is this in fact a way of saying memorising? Are we so unambitious?
I never had to memorise…sorry, learn this at school so I’d be interested to know how long it would take the average child to commit this list to memory? (While you were in the classroom doing this I was out with my class on the beach identifying shells and understanding their shapes. I hope you enjoyed yourself, I know I did.)
When it came to learning about history, my early memories are of looking at what life was like under different monarchs, if you know that you can easily put them into approximate order (the numbers after their names help too!) Yes, I know that it is more work than learning the list but it’s more…. interesting and you have to think to derive the order. We do want children to think, don’t we? Having the order committed to memory doesn’t stop you thinking but recall of a list doesn’t constitute deep thinking.
‘History should be taught “in order — it’s a narrative”…’
I’m trying to imagine this. First day of school, you’re still haven’t learnt how to tie your shoes (or get them on the right feet) but your first lesson is… The Big Bang. I admit that’s going to be tough but if history’s got to be taught in order then that’s where you have to begin and you’ll have to start early as there’s such a lot to get through.
Really, does history have to be taught in order? Is there any reasearch which says this is the most effective method? Also, I would have thought, just like other subjects, there would be some spiralling in on eras, easy stuff first (dress, diet etc) and then on to the more complex matters (religion, politics, law etc) later on.
If you do know what should be taught and how, ‘great minds’ are being sought for the task: