Thursday, February 15, 2007

A science view of the world

Does it really matter if history lessons are history? Adam Hart-Davis, Wednesday February 14, 2007
The Guardian

Gee, thanks Mr Hart-Davis :-( Apparently all that matters is that pupils learn English, Maths and Science. That's rather disappointing for a chap who's used the fruits of the labour of historians of all shades (including archaeologists) for his tv and radio programmes. Just because his interest in science is all encompassing, history is an adjunct that can easily be dispensed with by the age of 14 in UK schools.

Though many historians would criticise the way in which history is currently taught in schools (for example, I gather it is not taught in a chronological fashion), there is no reason to dismiss it from the curriculum without a second thought. I rather suspect I've experienced school more recently than Hart-Davis, and I wasn't happy at being made to choose whether I did History or Geography O level at 14. Couldn't do both, oh no. So I did my first love, history. And was made to do a near worthless Combined Science CSE. I wasn't considered fit for a Science O Level, and yet I romped home with a good grade in History O Level. It's hard to make schoool fit everyone; I would have happily done history all day, every day, even aged 14.

Hart-Davis says that anyone can pursue history at a later date. And the same could be said of Science. With people frequently bursting into tears when they find out what their ancestors suffered in programmes such as Who Do You Think You Are? is Hart-Davis really sure that people should be allowed to drop studying history at 14?