Alex Ford Profile picture
22 Feb, 8 tweets, 6 min read
So @OliverDowden seems to think contextualising our heritage more fully is leading to "misunderstanding". Presumably there was some golden age where heritage and history was represented "fairly" in the past? Let's see shall we? [Thread]
Let's take a journey back in time to 2010. If you wanted to explore the roots of Harewood House (built using profits from the slave trade) this is what you would have found online. Hmmmm.... maybe heritage orgs weren't that good at presenting a rounded history at all...
@katiehall1979 developed a great unit for KS4 (c.2006) exploring how Harewood presented (or failed to present) its historic roots - especially in materials expressly created for this purpose. Here you can see Harewood paying lip service to engagement in some materials from 2007.
More from 2007: In this extract from Harewood's "available by request" Harewood 1807 leaflet, the Lascelles are distanced from the act of enslavement by describing the processes of enslavement as somehow detached from the actions of the Lascelles themselves.
Here it is implied that Henry Lascelles was caricatured as a supporter of slavery and was not opposed to abolition despite being heavily invested in enslavement. The second extract suggests he stood down for reasons unconnected to slavery.
I carried on teaching this until 2011. Each year we asked to work with Harewood and offered to share our work. Each year they refused. By 2013, the special "1807" site had been taken down and references to slavery and Harewood were all but gone again.
Yet now, in the wake of the #BLM protests, there has been some movement. Harewood are finally engaging more meaningfully, and more accurately, with their history. History is once again mentioned and there is a direct and frank engagement with the slave roots of Harewood.
But there's much left to do. Visitors still need to seek the information out, and euphemisms abound.

Attempts to undo these first faltering steps by the heritage industry only serve to return us to an inaccurate, incomplete, and silenced interpretation of the past.

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More from @apf102

12 Feb
A thread on why we can’t just rely on ‘the historical method’ as a guarantor of the pursuit of historical truth. We must engage with the underlying purposes and ethics of history creation. Even more vital when it comes to creating history curricula for schools. #historyteacher
At the heart of history is a deep conservatism. Marc Bloch referred to the discipline as ‘the guild’ because of it. Although historical interps can be challenged, in reality this process is often glacial and usually needs a shove to get going. Let me illustrate
Ray Allen Billington’s ‘Westward Expansion’ was first published in 1949 when, according to its 6th Ed blurb (2001), it “set a new standard for scholarship in western American history”. It went on to become the core narrative of US expansion for millions of students.
Read 23 tweets
26 Jan
So a few years ago I took a Y11 battlefields trip to France and Belgium. 80 children, 8 staff. They were a lovely group. We had a great trip. Then, on the final day, the coach driver started feeling a bit odd. Then a couple of students started feeling a bit under the weather...
When we had a final trip to Ypres to stock up on chocolate, two children sat with the staff to recover. All went ok. We loaded up the coaches and set off for the ferry port. On the way, the one of the two children was sick. Before long, the second was too.
Half an hour into the journey, five children had vomited. Then I got a call from the other coach. Chaos. More vomiting children and one member of staff down too. By the time we got to the ferry port, a dozen people flopped out of the coaches to lie on the grass.
Read 25 tweets
30 Jun 20
Policy Exchange have a campaign to prevent "history" being "re-written & erased". Out of respect I am going to assume this is a genuine misunderstanding of history. But I still call bullsh*t. @RichardEvans36 @simon_schama @DavidOlusoga @1972SHP…
First we need to be clear that whilst history might well inform our political choices, what we are mostly talking about in the statues debate is how we choose to remember history - it is an act in the present and not the past. @RichardEvans36 wrote about this brilliantly here
This an attempt to discredit the current critique of public memory by trying to produce egs which look ridiculous. Equally "decolonising" the curriculum is presented without any exploration of what this actually means i.e. studying problematic people and events in MORE depth!
Read 20 tweets
10 Oct 19
Timing and 2 year GCSE is def a challenge. If you are struggling in history it may be: an issue of clear spec writing; knowing when to be more concise (or stop doing excessive practice) or an @ofqual regulatory failing. Here are some thoughts on #historyteacher specs {thread}
First: a standard GCSE should take 120 hours. Some schools are spending nearly 240 hours, whereas others are using only the 120. Things will be fairer when this is levelled.

Each unit is a portion of 120. Nazi Germany units:
AQA should be 30 hours
Edexcel = 36hr
OCR B = 24hr
A survey I conducted last year suggested that time spent practising exam questions (and therefore not teaching content) did not correlate well with improved outcomes. Indeed more frequent practise sometimes made things worse.…
Read 12 tweets
9 Apr 19
Several interesting tensions between Sweller et al. (2006 -Left) and Sweller et al. (2019 -Rigth) in relation to Cognitive Load Theory.
1) The notion that complete information is always best (2006) contrasts the importance of problem solving to more expert learners (2019)
2) Compounded in 2006 with the strong statement that everything points towards strong guidance (am skimming the fact that the contrast with no/minimal guidance seems somewhat silly). Contrasting guidance fading effect. Note that a few years of study may constitute expertise!
3) Big tension between the idea that problem solving places too heavy a demand on a learner (2006) to the idea that self explanation or even imagination activities might well have impact
Read 6 tweets

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