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Durham e-Theses
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History in the secondary school curriculum: Some considerations for drawing up a syllabus

Danziger, E.C. (1973) History in the secondary school curriculum: Some considerations for drawing up a syllabus. Masters thesis, Durham University.



It is obviously no longer acceptable to a large sector of educationalists to regard history as a necessary evil whose survival, although a constant source of complaint, is nevertheless conceded. It is both desirable and necessary, therefore, to provide reasons which will satisfy not only these critics but others less antagonistic to the subject, of the justification of the place of history in the secondary school curriculum. This study therefore, set itself the following objects: first, it aimed to put the case for the study of history in secondary schools. To do this it was necessary to summarise some of the conclusions regarding the nature of history. What is it that we are defending and how is it viewed by those who attack it? This done, it proposed to see what provisions are laid down by current curriculum theory regarding the criteria for the inclusion of subject matter in the secondary school curriculum; Moreover, it was recognised that by submitting history to the supposedly neutral arbitration of curriculum theory, certain limitations or prescriptions might be laid upon it if a favourable judgement were returned. In the event, justification was found in curriculum theory for the inclusion of history in the secondary school curriculum, and it did prove to be the case that, as a condition of that justification, a certain redirection of the focus of history courses was perhaps indicated. The second concern of this study, therefore, was to examine some of the other features which have bearing on the organisation of history curricula, and in particular those, the negligence of which had given rise to some of the current disillusionment with history as a secondary school subject. The areas of concern chosen were the syllabus itself, the influence of examinations, the capacity of the pupil to profit from a study of history, and the ability of the teacher to communicate such study profitably. These were the factors, it was felt, which imposed the greatest restraints upon the teaching of history, and no conclusions drawn from curriculum theory would be remotely viable unless they took these restraints into account. From the prescriptions offered in the first part of this study, with due regard to the limitations imposed upon them by the issues raised in the second part of this study, the third part proposed to offer some considerations for drawing up a history curriculum. These considerations, in the main, arose from a detailed expression of a set of objectives for history teaching. It was felt that it was a lack of this clarity that was responsible for much of the current dissatisfaction with the teaching of history. These objectives were linked to the learning experiences and content which were most urgently prescribed by the principles examined in part one : finally, procedures were suggested for evaluating with what success these objectives have been achieved. These objectives, learning experiences, content, and evaluation are intended, in sum, to form the basis for a secondary school history curriculum.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Education
Thesis Date:1973
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:17

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