In defence of Mr BrainyMay 17, 2013
And this response to the issue, also by a history teacher, clarifies exactly why the lesson (while extreme and memorable) illustrates a broader concern.
Last week, Michael Gove made a wide-ranging and passionate speech at Brighton College addressing what it means to be an educated person.
Unfortunately, the media reaction focused upon a single reference to a GCSE history lesson teaching the Third Reich through Mr Men characters. The education community are up in arms, but their response is paradoxical. Some have defended the merits of such teaching methods, others have argued such teaching methods are not widespread.
The latter argument is the easiest to dismiss. The Mr Men example was taken from the website activehistory.co.uk. It promotes ‘active’ teaching methods for learning about the past, and is arguably the most popular online resource amongst British history teachers. It contains many other examples of infantilising, anachronistic approaches to history teaching. To dispel the illusion that the Mr Men example was some unfair aberration from the otherwise quite sensible teaching of history in British schools…
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