Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Better Way to Teach History? Niall Fergusson & Tariq Ali

As someone who loved reading and learning history for as long as I can remember (and I don't know what planted this seed), I'm always distressed and puzzled when people say that they don't enjoy learning history. On the other hand, memorizing dates is nonsense. I'm about as good at dates as anyone (save perhaps some professional historians), and I never studied dates.I've learned narratives, and dates were simply place markers. Anyway, this site is about a five-minute long discussion about teaching history in British schools. Fergusson, and his "left" counterpart, Tariq Ali, agree that history teaching is suffering in GB. Their main point: history needs some overarching narrative (or narratives). Not triumphalism or some such nonsense, but at least a set of questions to guide a narrative of inquiry. History isn't just discreet events, its always part of a past and what was a future, it's a flow. Anyway, anyone who's interested in history and how it's taught, this provides a good brief frame.

And is the interviewer THE Colin Firth?

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