“History is like a knife..”

The report in the Sunday Tribune on the Oireachtas Select Committee on Education and Science report on teaching modern Irish history contains a compelling argument.

History teachers said they avoided Northern Ireland because it “can raise discriminatory attitudes in class and name calling”. There was little support for introducing it in the classroom, they said.

Other reasons given by teachers for avoiding the subject were they felt they lacked knowledge of the subject and believed they could not compete with the information the students got from their communities and families. [added emphasis]

But the report warns this will have to change. “If students do not learn about modern Irish history in a school context, will they be skilled enough to interpret what they see in the media outside school?” it asks.

Among the report’s recommendations [Word doc]


• There needs to be a full acceptance at political level that History is a subject that can assist in a very vital part of a child’s development in this era of changing dynamics and continue to support changes that are still deemed necessary.

• Former approaches to History stressed a single interpretation of events as being “the Truth”. It is now internationally accepted that there can be many views and interpretations, which are based on evidence, and there is validity to the Multiple Perspective approach that assists and encourages students to respect diversity and cultural difference rather than reinforce the more negative aspects of Nationalism.