Category Archives: history

I should be writing reports…

but I am mind-numbingly bored.  When I was a pupil at school reports were hand written and teachers moaned.  Teachers moan about much.  If you don’t like moaning, don’t become a teacher.  But with the invention of cut-and-paste we still moan.  I am embarrassed to say that many of the reports I write are cut-and-paste jobs.  Sometimes, in order to save time they become find-and-replace jobs merely substituting one student’s name for another.  This is the reality of a classroom teacher.

So, my attention wanes and I find myself searching the internet for anything which will interest me.  I am a history teacher.  I have been teaching for three years in an inner London comprehensive school we shall call ‘Crowning City’. Naturally, this caught my eye:

‘Robert Tombs, professor of history at St John’s College, Cambridge, wrote in a recent report for the think-tank Politeia, “The ‘skills’ required [for learning history in schools] are often hollow and mean little to those forced to acquire or indeed teach them.” Worst of all, the GCSE examination questions designed to test these meaningless skills lead to the worst kind of teaching to the test. Generations of 16-year-olds are being taught that the most important thing to know about history is how to parrot the phrase, “this source is biased because . . . “‘ The full article is by Matthew Hunter and can be accessed here:

In my experience, true.