22nd June 20
As I write this, we are certainly living in unprecedented times – the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter campaign and the technological revolution that is enabling us to teach virtually. As a history teacher, these events have reinforced for me the importance of teaching History and the impact our lessons can and should be having on the young people of today. If you think History is an irrelevant subject, it’s boring and is all about ‘dead people’, then think again. Never has it been truer that the ‘past informs the present’. History has so much relevance to the society in which our young people live and my aim has always been and continues to be instilling an appreciation of the subject that I love so much.
A history curriculum needs to be inclusive and I am working hard to create a richer and more diverse curriculum that broadens the minds of our students and allows them to see that History should not be a discipline where the content is dominated by the powerful in society. The voices of the less powerful also need to be heard. Year 8 pupils have ended the year with a short enquiry based on African Kingdoms before the arrival of the European slave traders in 1500, in order to reveal the vibrancy and wealth of this continent and to dispel some of the stereotypical views held. Inspired by recent historical research by Miranda Kaufman, I am introducing a unit on Black Tudors so that when posed with the question ‘Who were the Tudors?’ pupils may begin to appreciate the diversity of Tudor society in the sixteenth century. A history curriculum needs to be a ‘living’ document that is constantly being adapted in order to reflect the issues currently affecting society whilst at the same time representing the richness and diversity of the past.