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Thread: [UK] ‘Don’t teach children patriotism’

  1. #1

    [UK] ‘Don’t teach children patriotism’

    I'm going to keep posting these up to show the situation as it stands in the UK right now as a contrast to the current political arena of the USA.

    This is from the Times, February 1st 2008:

    Patriotism should be avoided in school lessons because British history is “morally ambiguous”, a leading educational body recommends.

    History and citizenship lessons should stick to the bare facts rather than encouraging loyalty to Britain when covering subjects such as the Second World War or the British Empire, the Institute of Education researchers said. Teachers should not instill pride in what they consider great moments of British history, as more shameful episodes could be downplayed or excluded.

    The slave trade, imperialism and 20th century wars should be taught as controversial issues while students are deciding how they feel about their country, the report says.

    Three quarters of teachers felt obliged to tell students about the danger of patriotism. The survey suggested neither pupils nor teachers wanted patriotism endorsed by schools.

    Historians said last night, however, that it was impossible to teach the subject without patriotism or a recognition that British values were rooted in the past.

    The report criticises the current drive to use citizenship lessons as a way of promoting pride in being British and developing a sense of belonging. It said: “To love what is corrupt is itself corrupting, not least because it inclines us to ignore, forget, forgive or excuse the corruption. And there’s the rub for patriotism.

    “Countries are morally ambiguous entities: they are what they are by virtue of their histories.”

    The authors added: “It is hard to think of a national history free from the blights of warmongering, imperialism, tyranny, injustice, slavery and subjugation, or a national identity forged without recourse to exclusionary and xenophobic stereotypes.”

    Alan Johnson, the former Education Secretary, announced last year that pupils aged 11 to 16 would have compulsory lessons in British history. Ethnicity, religion, race and national identity will be taught, through studying immigration, the Commonwealth, the Empire and devolution, extending the popular vote and women’s rights.

    Gordon Brown said at the time: “There is a golden thread that intertwines the unshakeable British commitment to liberty with another very British idea: that of duty and social responsibility.”

    But Dr Hand, the co-author of the report, said: “Gordon Brown and David Cameron have both called for a history curriculum that fosters attachment and loyalty to Britain, but the case for promoting patriotism in schools is weak.

    “Are countries really appropriate objects of love? Loving things can be bad for us, for example when the things we love are morally corrupt. Since all national histories are at best morally ambiguous, it’s an open question whether citizens should love their countries.”

    The institute - part of the University of London – asked nearly 300 pupils aged 13 to 14, and 47 teachers, in 20 London schools, how patriotism should be handled. About 94 per cent of teachers and 77 per cent of teenagers said that schools should give a balanced presentation of opposing views. Fewer than 10 per cent felt patriotism should be actively promoted.

    However, 19 per cent of teachers and 16 per cent of teenagers thought schools should support patriotic views when expressed by pupils.The historian Tristram Hunt said of the institute’s report: “I think it’s a very immature approach to the topic. The point is not whether history was right or wrong from a 21st Century liberal-left perspective. It’s about teaching students to understand the mindset and context of our forebears.

    “The real problem isn’t that our children are being indoctrinated with patriotism, but that they don’t know enough British history."

    Ambiguous times

    1750-1830 The Industrial Revolution: exploitation of the poor versus great wealth creation and growth

    1807 Abolition of the slave trade. Britons were both practitioners of the trade and responsible for abolition

    1947 Indian independence and Partition. How well did Britain manage its withdrawal from the sub-continent?

    2003 Iraq war: was it liberation or occupation?
    I'll also point out something here; according to this, British schoolchildren are being taught that the Industrial Revolution was founded on "exploitation of the poor versus great wealth creation and growth".

    That's a point of view, not historical fact, one that reinforces the perception that the poor are downtrodden, championed by...the Government.

    This is where socialism and political correctness end up; with massive revisions to history, until an entire generation is growing up in awe of the state, instead of the country that they grow up in. They aren't taught ambition, they are taught their place.

    Original article link here.

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  3. #2
    Or even worse, the children might become proud of being part of a culture and heritage that includes Magna Carta, Common Law, and the like.

    Under no circumstances should they reach the conclusion that the actions of their ancestors at Agincourt, the Spanish Armada, Trafalgar, Waterloo, and such were noble and good.
    Out of every one hundred men they send us, ten should not even be here. Eighty will do nothing but serve as targets for the enemy. Nine are real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, upon them depends our success in battle. But one, ah the one, he is a real warrior, and he will bring the others back from battle alive.

    Duty is the most sublime word in the English language. Do your duty in all things. You can not do more than your duty. You should never wish to do less than your duty.

  4. #3
    that is completely insane. UK is the big brother state now.

  5. #4
    Now, Johnny, don't say that the German Socialists were bad for killing all those Jews. They could really have all been murderers. We just don't know for sure.
    Quote Originally Posted by dannno View Post
    Lol, wow, Anthony Weiner, too?

  6. #5
    Australians and the English "stir each other up a lot." I doubt the POM's will settle, the same as the Aussies.

    I defend civil liberties, but party with an Aussie and a Pom, and you will have a good time.

  7. #6
    UK IS A SURVEILLANCE STATE, have you people seen the laws coming out of that police state?

  8. #7
    they should teach Ron paul patriotism, to resist tyranny of government and to defend your family, community, country, and rights

  9. #8
    Patriotism is silly.

    I'm a person who just happened to be born in the United Kingdom. My connection with my country ends there. It's a country. It is what it is. Land mass.

    I have a bigger connection to the street I grew up in than my country as a whole, and I don't love the street I grew up in. I couldn't care less if it was bulldozed tomorrow.

    I had nothing to do with the history of this country. I wasn't there. I claim nothing from it. No pride. No shame. I couldn't careless. Why would I.


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  11. #9
    This is actually conditioning for One World Government. "Patriotism" is soooooo last year.

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by phixion View Post
    Patriotism is silly.

    I'm a person who just happened to be born in the United Kingdom. My connection with my country ends there. It's a country. It is what it is. Land mass.

    I have a bigger connection to the street I grew up in than my country as a whole, and I don't love the street I grew up in. I couldn't care less if it was bulldozed tomorrow.

    I had nothing to do with the history of this country. I wasn't there. I claim nothing from it. No pride. No shame. I couldn't careless. Why would I.

    I agree 100%.

  13. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by phixion View Post
    Patriotism is silly.

    I'm a person who just happened to be born in the United Kingdom. My connection with my country ends there. It's a country. It is what it is. Land mass.

    I have a bigger connection to the street I grew up in than my country as a whole, and I don't love the street I grew up in. I couldn't care less if it was bulldozed tomorrow.

    I had nothing to do with the history of this country. I wasn't there. I claim nothing from it. No pride. No shame. I couldn't careless. Why would I.
    If you're not exercising the great British talent for sarcasm, you just proved my point to a tee, Pete.

    Without understanding the history of your country (and your place in it), no-one grows up understanding what national identity or patriotism mean and why they should be valued; what sacrifices the generations that went before you made to give you the rights you enjoy; what mistakes were made so you can avoid them again; and what tyrannies were fought against so you can recognise and rail against the same thing if it ever starts to develop again.

    Here's another article, in the same vein.

    Schools told to dump Churchill and Hitler from history lessons

    Even Winston Churchill no longer merits a mention after a drastic slimming-down of the syllabus to create more space for "modern" issues.

    Along with Hitler, Gandhi, Stalin and Martin Luther King, the former prime minister has been dropped from a list of key figures to be mentioned in history teaching.

    This means pupils may no longer hear about his stirring speeches during the Second World War, when he told Parliament that defeating Hitler would be Britain's "finest hour".

    The only individuals now named in guidance accompanying the curriculum are anti-slavery campaigners Olaudah Equiano and William Wilberforce.

    The omission of Churchill added to a growing row over Labour reforms to secondary education - the most radical since the national curriculum was introduced in 1988.

    Critics warned traditional subject disciplines were being stripped of key content and used to promote fashionable causes and poorly-defined "life skills".

    They said that while the two World Wars remain on the curriculum as broad topics the failure to specify teaching on Churchill - while naming other individuals - downgraded his importance.

    The move was called "madness" by his grandson Nicholas Soames, the Tory MP.

    "It is absurd. I expect he wasn't New Labour enough for them," he said.

    Tory spokesman on children Michael Gove added: "Winston Churchill is the towering figure of twentieth century British history.

    "His fight against fascism was Britain's finest hour. Our national story can't be told without Churchill at the centre."

    Schools are also being told to tear up the timetable of eight lessons a day and introduce classes lasting a few minutes - or several hours - by mixing different subjects together.

    Five-minute lessons on spelling, French or German could be "drip-fed" throughout the day.

    The architect of the new curriculum, Dr Ken Boston, insisted traditional approaches had been "exhausted".

    The slimline regime is being introduced amid concerns that teachers do not have enough time to ensure youngsters master the three Rs.
    I would seriously question anyone's ability to accurately learn about the Second World War, its alliances, its losses and its triumphs without learning about Churchill or Hitler; learning about totalitarianism without learning about Hitler and Stalin; or learning tolerance without the examples of Gandhi and MLK.

    I wonder if the Peasant's Revolt is ever taught about in English schools now?

    Or this one:

    Winston Churchill didn't really exist, say teens

    A fifth of British teenagers believe Sir Winston Churchill was a fictional character, while many think Sherlock Holmes, King Arthur and Eleanor Rigby were real, a survey shows.

    The canvass of 3,000 under-twenties uncovered an extraordinary paucity of basic historical knowledge that older generations take for granted.

    Despite his celebrated military reputation, 47 per cent of respondents dismissed the 12th-century crusading English king Richard the Lionheart as fictional.

    More than a quarter (27 per cent) thought Florence Nightingale, the pioneering nurse who coaxed injured soldiers back to health in the Crimean War, was a mythical figure.

    In contrast, a series of fictitious characters that have featured in British films and literature over the past few centuries were awarded real-life status.

    King Arthur is the mythical figure most commonly mistaken for fact - almost two thirds of teens (65 per cent) believe that he existed and led a round table of knights at Camelot.

    Sherlock Holmes, the detective, was so convincingly brought to life in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novels, their film versions and television series, that 58 per cent of respondents believe that the sleuth really lived at 221B Baker Street.

    Fifty-one per cent of respondents believed that Robin Hood lived in Sherwood Forest, robbing the rich to give to the poor, while 47 per cent believed Eleanor Rigby was a real person rather than a creation of The Beatles.

    The study also shows a marked change in how people acquire their historical knowledge these days. More than three-quarters of those polled (77 per cent) admitted they did not read history books, and 61 per cent said that they changed channels rather than watch historical programmes on television.

    Paul Moreton, the channel head of UKTV Gold, which commissioned the poll, said that while there was no excuse for demoting real historical figures such as Churchill, the elevation of mythical figures to real life showed the impact good films could have in shaping the public consciousness.

    "Stories like Robin Hood are so inspiring that it's not surprising people like to believe these characters truly existed," he said.
    The problem is that modern "history" is taught as a pile of facts and dates, rather than as a chain of events; its dry, dusty and dead.

    History should be taught as the ongoing chronicle of human events, from the beginning of recorded history until the present day. Every single person alive right now is part of that somehow, to some degree, and is connected to the generation that went before them. It's living history based on people that gives you pride in your country, and tells you that everyone is capable of great or terrible things.

    To give you a personal example, I know that my grandfather fought in the Second World War against the Nazis, sacrificed much of his early time with his wife and children just to defend our country and its ideals, to give my mother (and by extension) myself and every generation afterwards a chance to grow up in a democratic England.

    I know that I didn't inherently earn my rights just by being born - they were given to me to take care of by my grandfather and the rest of the brave men and women that defended our shores from tyranny. I'll do my very best to defend them, and pass them along to my children. Most importantly, I know that a government didn't give me my rights.

    Without an understanding of patriotism, that means absolutely nothing; and likely, you wouldn't understand why the current generation of Britain's military and Britain's police still swear an oath to Queen and Country instead of to the State, and what implications it has on the civil rights of every person living in Britain if that ever changes.

    Patriotism is something uniquely tied to the people of a country; while I view nationalism as being inherently tied to government. The decline of patriotic values and the rise of nationalistic ones in a country means something has gone badly wrong and will likely lead to the civil rights of that country's people being challenged - especially when a decline in patriotic values (which includes the questioning of acts of government) is encouraged by the politicians in power at the time.
    Last edited by silverhawks; 10-21-2008 at 12:27 AM.

  14. #12
    Hah hah.. holy $#@! this is bad. Maybe they will get rid of tea time next?

  15. #13
    It's easy for us to criticize it, and surely, it is ridiculous, but remember WWI. Remember what extreme patriotism did to that continent, to Britain and the rest of Europe. I think when you consider that, while still a sign of Europe's self-loathing, it's understandable, at least.

    Remember, in centuries to come Indian historians will argue about why this happened.

  16. #14
    Just to add an addendum here, I'm sure that one of the excuses they are citing for removing Sir Winston from our curriculums is that everything he said was "in the past anyway"...

    "...control is enforced upon the common people by various kinds of all-embracing police governments. The power of the State is exercised without restraint, either by dictators or by compact oligarchies operating through a privileged party and a political police. It is not our duty at this time when difficulties are so numerous to interfere forcibly in the internal affairs of countries which we have not conquered in war. But we must never cease to proclaim in fearless tones the great principles of freedom and the rights of man which are the joint inheritance of the English-speaking world and which through Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and the English common law."

    Nothing to teach our children, is it?

    "All this means that the people of any country have the right, and should have the power by constitutional action, by free unfettered elections, with secret ballot, to choose or change the character or form of government under which they dwell; that freedom of speech and thought should reign; that courts of justice, independent of the executive, unbiased by any party, should administer laws which have received the broad assent of large majorities or are consecrated by time and custom. Here are the title deeds of freedom which should lie in every cottage home."

    And I know this is taken slightly out of context, but I find it very relevant to what's happening today.

    "We have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged, and that the terrible words have for the time being pronounced against the Western democracies: "Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting." And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning."

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