Monday, May 30, 2005

What do today's students learn in history class?

Watched Kingdom of Heaven the other night & enjoyed it for the historical context - the anachronisms (modern thought by the characters) didn't bother me. When I was in school in the 60's & 70's we studied the Crusades for such a short period and always in the context of the Crusades giving birth to the Renaissance and ending the dark ages. Cannot recall any mention of Saladin in our history classes & only learned of the first 4 Crusades and probably the Children's Crusade. Will have to ask my nieces & children of friends what they learn in world history now.

I'll be curious if the euro-centric focus of grade school history has changed since my day. One of my biggest complaints against American schooling was the limited focus & repetition of subject matter. Perhaps because I went to different schools for elementary, middle, and high school that I studied the Age of Exploration in 4th, 8th and 10th grade, but can remember even back then thinking "Can we please study a different period of history? Please? There has to be some of period that's interesting."

Obviously we studied that period because it led to the founding of America, , but now there would be no excuse not to study Saladin or Mohammed or the Meiji Restoration or the Tulip Mania or....well you can insert your own favourite period of history not well covered in American classrooms.

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