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"...someone might become involved in a fascist group or Something...": pupils' perceptions of history at the end of Key Stages 2,3 and 4

Paul Goalen
Teaching History
No. 96, citizenship & identity (August 1999), pp. 34-38
Published by: Historical Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43258811
Page Count: 5
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Abstract

In contrast with earlier studies which presented a bleak picture of the impact of history teaching, Paul Goalen presents a small-scale study that is optimistic. For pupils in three schools at least, the history teaching of the late 1990s seems to be winning through. Goalen argues that the National Curriculum for history and some GCSE history syllabuses are having a significant effect on some pupils' understanding of the historical process and may be helping to underpin some of the ideas and values of modern citizenship education. These pupils are developing, through their historical studies, sophisticated meanings of the usefulness and importance of the subject. In particular, they are able to articulate the importance of tolerating different interpretations of the past. Goalen reflects on how such tolerance helps to underpin the democratic values of the state: discussion in classrooms of different versions of the past promotes a healthy disdain for authoritarian versions of subject knowledge.

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