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Old 11-22-2012, 03:37 AM   #1
ProtoCosmos
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History class

Folks, this is a question for all of you from not-America.

As you may know, American history (as taught in American high school classrooms) more or less usually consists of the arrival of the Puritans up to the Cold War, if not current events. American history itself is relatively short, spanning only a few hundred years. But it's ok, since those living in American still should learn those few hundred years.

Now my question is: When they teach history in your respective countries (I assume they teach Russian history in Russian high schools, just as they may teach Scottish history in Scottish high schools, etc), how is it taught? I ask because most (if not all) of European nations are ancient, having thousands of years of history behind them. I wonder how or even if schools can teach all of that information to students through grade school (not college, because classes are much more specified and specialized in college).

If you can't tell, I know absolutely nothing about the education systems outside of the US, so please forgive me if I'm misinformed about what history is taught in schools
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Old 11-22-2012, 03:47 AM   #2
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Canadian history is shorter than USA history. I just had to do one HS credit. Got it and never thought about that waste-of-time subject again. I mean, if I want to know the history then I'll google the event. There is no point in memorizing it. No understanding is required. I can just jump in anywhere and start reading. History is near the top of the list in the waste of time and money degrees.
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:24 AM   #3
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Basically, in Australian schools, Australian history consists of 1788 (the first fleet) to the present day, there's not really any Aboriginal (indigenous Australian) history to think of. I mean, they'd been here for 40 000 years, and they invented nought but the boomerang. So, I mean, yeah. Not much history for Australia. Sorry
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:40 AM   #4
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Dutch history classes consist, believe it or not, of global history, starting where civilization started, going through ancient European history, European influences in the rest of the world, the islamic world, in short, everything up to the modern era. Naturally, the focus lies on Dutch history, but our history classes are alot more worldly than American classes.
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtoCosmos
Folks, this is a question for all of you from not-America.

As you may know, American history (as taught in American high school classrooms) more or less usually consists of the arrival of the Puritans up to the Cold War, if not current events. American history itself is relatively short, spanning only a few hundred years. But it's ok, since those living in American still should learn those few hundred years.

Now my question is: When they teach history in your respective countries (I assume they teach Russian history in Russian high schools, just as they may teach Scottish history in Scottish high schools, etc), how is it taught? I ask because most (if not all) of European nations are ancient, having thousands of years of history behind them. I wonder how or even if schools can teach all of that information to students through grade school (not college, because classes are much more specified and specialized in college).

If you can't tell, I know absolutely nothing about the education systems outside of the US, so please forgive me if I'm misinformed about what history is taught in schools


You're not considering how much information we history teachers spare our students here in America. It's impossible to cover it all.

I assume that in other countries, more information is omitted. One can skip around and still get a gist of the "important" events that occur in a country. Right now in college I'm taking a whole semester course on just the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and it's jam-packed. You can always zoom further in or out of a topic to suit the needs at hand.
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:46 AM   #6
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English history lessons tend to start with William the Conqueror invading England in 1066, or at least it did when I was at school.
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:47 AM   #7
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At my old school we took European history and American history. At my current school it's a eurocentric 'world history' class and American history. So really we have a short history but we're taught thousands of years too since in my experience Americans are taught European history as well.

Obviously I'm way off since I'm speaking of two schools in two states but it seems American schools I've been to tend to include some sort of European or 'World' history as a requirement.
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:47 AM   #8
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Pretty much what Lord_Doku said.
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushinarin
Right now in college I'm taking a whole semester course on just the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and it's jam-packed.


While the topic is interesting, why would you need to be tested on such material? My high school history was awful (Canada is exciting) and I didn't care much for memorizing historical facts and such.
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:49 AM   #10
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We study everything from Ancient Stone age peoples to the Modern day European Union. There's a huge amount of world history involved in that, including Ancient Greece and Rome, The Renaissance and Reformation, the American and French Revolutions, The World Wars, The Cold War.

Irish History goes from Pre-Christian Ireland to the Modern Day; they tend to put specific focus on the Plantations, the Act of Union, The 1916 Rising and War of Independence, and the founding of the Republic.

In senior cycle (16-18) they pick 4 periods and give them a really in depth look for 2 years. They vary from year to year, but 2 are always international and 2 are about Ireland. When I did it the International ones were:
The Changes in the US after WWII, focusing on the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War
The History of WWII from the Interwar period to just after the war.
The Irish ones were:
Parnell and the Home Rule Movement
The War of Independence and the Foundation of the Republic.


It's a very good curriculum really, most people come out of it with at least a decent grounding in International and National History and those who are interested can go extremely in depth.
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:53 AM   #11
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iceland has a little over a thousand year long history, it's not much of a problem
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:11 AM   #12
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i've first hand experience with the american, mexican and french education systems.



i'm at university for hispanic literature & linguistics so i can't say much about highschool + prehighschool years. but right now, i am studying a bit of preshipanic mexican history. i study nahuatl, the aztec language, how the aztec society was organized, their rituals, their cosmogony, their poetry, etc. it is extremely complex and interesting stuff, from an anthropogenic, philosophical and artistic point of view. i believe this kind of shit should be taught. it offers a different perspective than the one offered by the western society. not 'inferior' at all. it is really interesting from semiotic points of view. it helps us understand ourselves (as humans) and our evolution better.

though, here comes the problem. in america (united states) you don't learn about prewestern shit. mostly because of the lack of records, interactions and interes europeans showed. when europeans came to the US, they didn't 'mix' much with native american cultures. whereas in mexico and lots of parts of latin america there was a major miscegenation (mix of cultures; to eventually create a new one). the spaniards that came here were extremely interested in learning about the different ethnic groups here, there are lots of texts from the XVI century (+ onwards) about preshipanic cultures, their myths, their social lives and their relation with existence and death. in the US (as far as i know), europeans basically came and started living in there. native americans live there too, but mostly separated. when the spanish came to Mexico they found extremely complex cities and empires (expanding throughout central america and mexico), scientific notions (astronomy, medicine, math, etc.). they recorded all that. since these preshispanic civilizations didn't use an alphabetic or even verbal writing system, we don't have much concrete information pre-1500. on top of that the spaniards burned and got rid of a lot of pictographic manuscripts.

still, i think it's sad how americans sort of 'not care much' about these aspects. though america is basically a representation of capitalism, posmodernism and other scary human stuff. so yeah.
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:12 AM   #13
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Because nothing existed before the white man came to America

I don't know, maybe being born in Oklahoma gave me an unfair advantage. I learned about a lot of America and it's vast history, all the way back to prehistoric man slaying mammoths using atlatls.

Just because the history of "America" is short doesn't mean the history of the North American or current United States is.

I mean, do you still see Barbarians in Europe? No... Because that culture died out long ago, was replaced, and probably replaced again.

Just because it's a different race or because of immigration doesn't make the history any different.

I mean, we were all technically British when we arrived here. Not that way now is it? So why is teaching anything earlier any different?

Find a better history teacher
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:16 AM   #14
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In the Denmark we start with a rough overview of world history and later we focus on a number of themes. Danish history lessons don't solely focus on Denmark, since it would be too much to cover in depth. During a school year subject such as "The Roman Empire", Danish agriculture reforms" and World I might be covered.

The goal isn't to remember a ton of historical facts, but rather to give us the tools to critical analyse historical text and understand the world behind the text.
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:20 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cubs
*long post*


I agree with this. I'm one out of probably six Americans (that has no real ethnic background with an indigenous nation) that does care. I think you named the biggest difference in your post- Mexico in many ways is the modern successor to the Mexica, just different (if I'm wrong feel free to tell me). Anyway, now's no the time for my rants.

In our history classes they've added twenty pages or so on pre-European colonial times in the textbooks, although you spend basically no time discussing it or really learning it. It's there just to be politically correct. With that said, I sort of understand why, since they are separate nations (who have been conquered), they weren't Americans, America is a Western nation, etc. I still think it should be considered important to learn, since whether I like to admit or not, despite nationalist movements, the natives are a part of American society, and many no longer care about their native identity and consider it a part of America only.

/sorry for going off topic. Blame the mod for getting me going.
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:21 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avedas
While the topic is interesting, why would you need to be tested on such material? My high school history was awful (Canada is exciting) and I didn't care much for memorizing historical facts and such.


I don't need to be tested on it per say, but it's my thesis course to complete my degree. It's not so much about memorizing facts as it is about developing total understanding of something that you're interested in.

Also on topic, I've always thought that American history courses were confusing for the reason that Slipknot said. They have one full year on American history and then another full year on World history, but they aren't integrated at all. Especially in the 20th century, you have to try and understand world events as world events. Looking at them from one side of the Atlantic and then the other one year later doesn't quite cut it.

Also about the "world history" being Eurocentric. I agree, but to teach true "world history" would take years and years. You get better courses as a history major in college if you're interested.
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:24 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Bushinarin
Also about the "world history" being Eurocentric. I agree, but to teach true "world history" would take years and years. You get better courses as a history major in college if you're interested.


I wasn't complaining, I was just pointing out that it's not really world history and is basically European history.

Based on what kids have told me the world history course becomes a cluster**** whenever they did talk about somewhere outside of Europe. Which is obvious, but I won't insult your intelligence by explaining it to you.

Edit: Have we discussed this before?
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:38 AM   #18
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Being in school in England between 1992-2006, I remember learning about:

The Romans. Lots about the Romans
Vikings
Middle Ages
The Tudors
Industrial Revolution
World War I
Medicine through history
The Greeks
Arab-Israeli Conflict

Those were the main large topics I leafnt about. There were little other bits here and there.
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:42 AM   #19
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American history is short? I guess no one cares about Native Americans. The hidden holocaust......
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:47 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by MikeAsHimself
American history is short? I guess no one cares about Native Americans. The hidden holocaust......


See my post. Technically they comprise separate nations from America, or at least they did before European contact. America is basically a European country, so at least when we're talking about 'Americans' as a nation, it doesn't begin with the natives. They weren't Americans, that identity was forced on them. So it's understandable why American history can be viewed as short.

Don't get me wrong, I side with the natives and I think it should be taught, I just don't consider them Americans (aside from modern natives who chose to associate with America, which seems to be a majority). I've had several teachers call me stupid for referring to what happened as a genocide, and I hate how they're painted as the 'bad guys'.

I know, I care way too much about this.

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