Talk:A child's history of England: Difference between revisions

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(veering towards deletion, reasons on why it's not "better than nothing")
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This article is similar to BF's [[M-theory Simplified]], which really shouldn't exist here either. (Bad) summaries of other articles are not encyclopedia topics. [[sodium]]
 
This article is similar to BF's [[M-theory Simplified]], which really shouldn't exist here either. (Bad) summaries of other articles are not encyclopedia topics. [[sodium]]
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:So far, the vote is veering for deletion. Just keeping tabs. Also asking people to please sign their entries. My opinion on "better than nothing" is a BIG, unqualified NO. Most of the prose here is already accessible. Also, as a teacher of college freshmen (many of whom are high-school seniors and juniors in double-enrollment), and step-monster to a newly post-adolescent person, kids don't need this. Once they read something that's wrong, they taking the points for having read something, internalize what they've read as truth, and go no further unless obliged. Unless history is presented in a way that begs questions, people tend to accept the simplest (and in this case, most simplistic) answer. In an age where American educational institutions are cutting their history departments on a regular basis, I'd prefer not to stab myself in the back by supporting this kind of drivel. [[JHK]]

Revision as of 13:14, 14 February 2002

NOTE TO READERS

History is important. When children leave school they should have at least a crude understanding of how their society has come to be at the point it has reached.

Where current teaching seems to me to be deficient is in its failure to give children an overall view of their history. I have attempted to do this by putting back the kings and queens, the battles and the anecdotes. In other words all the good stories. And to do it all in the compass of an account brief enough to read at one sitting.

It?s quite possible to imagine a teacher of history reading the text on the following pages with a mounting sense of amazement. ?I thought we had got rid of history by way of stories about princes a long time ago,? she might say. Yes, but with two qualifications. The tales linger in the memory and they also serve as a framework on which to hang future knowledge.

Princes (or powerful people) have, in the past at any rate, had a disproportionately large part to play. But that?s not the only reason that they figure so prominently in this modest account of our island?s history.

If you intend to familiarise yourself with a particular part of the countryside the first thing you do is to fix in your mind some landmarks. They may not be the most beautiful features or even the parts you most want to visit, but they are noticed and stored away in memory as reference points to be used when planning a walk or reckoning a distance from one place to another. The same approach can be equally useful when visiting the past for the first time.

The imaginary tales in ?Puck of Pook?s Hill? and ?Rewards and Fairies? have left many a child with a lifelong desire to learn about the past. My thesis is that, by writing out the stories from our history we have deprived generations of schoolchildren of their handiest reference points. As a result, not only does history appear less exciting to them than it could be, they also find difficulty in placing events in their proper order - not the least important asset for anyone trying to understand what happened in the past.

I don?t accept that young children are damaged by being told tales - about Father Christmas or the baby Jesus or whatever - that might not stand up to strict academic scrutiny, at least so long as the telling serves a purpose; in this case the vital purpose of sparking a young person?s interest in the past and giving him or her a framework for future study.

This little tale is not written by a historian and is no doubt riddled with inaccuracies. Here it is for what it is worth.

BH

Perhaps you would like to explain to me why you think this sort of thing fits in an encyclopaedia? The sort of pre-emptive apologia above won't suffice. It is deeply factually erroneous, facetiously patronising and contemptuous of the young, and moreover explicitly promulgates the inherently racist view of Deep England q.v. On another note, as a historian, I have major problems with this article: it is not merely riddled with inaccuracies it is built around and deliberately promotes inaccuracies, glossing over reality with a veneer of lies and untruth. It breaches NPOV on just about every count. The only thing I can possibly agree with you on is that history is important. People go to war over history; people die and suffer indignity, poverty and outrages as a consequence of history. Frankly I am at war with you over this article. I would go away, think long and hard about what is being said here and see if you can't address some of the criticisms which I have levelled at this article. Failing which I will be bringing my tribe of not-nearly-so historical Celtic historian friends around to visit some NPOV of our own on it :-) user:sjc

Yikes. Just, 'yikes'! Well, more than yikes - not only is this really bad history, but it encourages poor typing habits among the young by using nin-standard capitalization. What's THAT about? MichaelTinkler


NO. JUST NO. Plus, this is a real insult to the author of the original Child's history, Mr. C. Dickens. This should be removed on the following counts:

  1. It's patronizing
  2. It's inaccurate to the point of lying
  3. It is not NPOV (mostly because it glosses over lots of facts to over-simplify what happened)
  4. The author's intent may be good, but his way of demonstrating it is ethically offensive to historians, most of whom believe that history is very complex (and therefore interesting) and that, if we taught our children to think about history as it truly was, in all its complexity, they would acquire the basics for true critical thinking

I vote to delete the contents of this page (but perhaps retain the page itself for an entry on the classic Dicken's work) JHK

Either that or alternatively we could do something really radical and write it as a real child's guide to history, warts and all. user:sjc

I agree, I think editing it for NPOV is better -- The Anome

You can't edit it for NPOV, the history is just so wrong and misleading. A edit for NPOV and accuracy would require a total rewrite. Vote for delete.

I hate to ask this - but do any of you think that the current level of wikipedia prose is much above the bright child level? Let them rise to real history. This is hopeless. Otherwise we'll have Physics for children, next. MichaelTinkler

Shouldn't this be posted on the meta instead? The info in this article is too watered down and oversimplified to be useful in an encyclopedia. I admire the intention though. And Michael, maybe we should have Physics for Children - but I agree it should not be in the regular wikipedia. I am all for developing GNU FDL material that can be directly used in the classroom (as lectures or lesson plans, for example). However, this goes beyond the scope of a mere encyclopedia. --maveric149

Until someone gets around to editing this piece for spelling, grammar, accuracy, point-of-view, etc.... isn't it better than nothing? (From the standpoint of one who knows how woefully ignorant the average American is about world history.)

The more I see of this debate the more convinced I have become that this article should be removed to another place. My thumb is down. sjc

This article is similar to BF's M-theory Simplified, which really shouldn't exist here either. (Bad) summaries of other articles are not encyclopedia topics. sodium

So far, the vote is veering for deletion. Just keeping tabs. Also asking people to please sign their entries. My opinion on "better than nothing" is a BIG, unqualified NO. Most of the prose here is already accessible. Also, as a teacher of college freshmen (many of whom are high-school seniors and juniors in double-enrollment), and step-monster to a newly post-adolescent person, kids don't need this. Once they read something that's wrong, they taking the points for having read something, internalize what they've read as truth, and go no further unless obliged. Unless history is presented in a way that begs questions, people tend to accept the simplest (and in this case, most simplistic) answer. In an age where American educational institutions are cutting their history departments on a regular basis, I'd prefer not to stab myself in the back by supporting this kind of drivel. JHK