Northern Ireland

In this podcast Natasha Robinson explores the history of the Northern Irish Troubles, and how it is taught in England and Northern Ireland. The Northern Irish Troubles are not the first thing that comes to mind when we mention ‘controversial history’ in England. In 2019 History Today magazine published an article entitled Why do the British know so little about Irish history? Yet the Brexit debates have reopened fault lines and inter-community tensions are again making headlines.

Unsurprisingly, just across the water, this extremely divisive and painful past is shaping the way that teachers and students are engaging with the subject in history classrooms. Natasha speaks to Dr Timothy Bowman, a reader in Irish military history at the University of Kent as well as a qualified history teacher; and to Dr Alan McCully, a former senior lecturer of education at the University of Ulster, a history teacher educator and currently the president of the Northern Irish history teachers’ association. Together they explore what makes this history controversial, and what the Northern Irish perspective can offer to those who are interested in teaching the Troubles.

Please note that each of the introductions are specific to the individual podcast while the acknowledgements are generic in all of the introductions. 

1. Introduction
2. How did you get interested in teaching Irish and Northern Irish history?
3. How is this history taught differently in Northern Ireland?
4. How is Irish and Northern Irish history taught in England?
5. Can you give an impression of your students’ existing knowledge/assumptions?
6. How has teaching Irish/Northern Irish history changed recently?
7. What does controversy look like in this context?
8. What does risk-taking look like in an English classroom?
9. How has the historiography changed?
10. How has school history kept up with scholarship?
11. How has the trend towards cultural and social history impacted Irish and Northern Irish history?
12. Multiple perspectives and the problems of polarised perspectives
13. How are module choices made by schools in Northern Ireland?
14. Do you think history education should have a civic agenda in Northern Ireland?
15. What approaches do you use to prepare teachers to teach this history?
16. What makes good history teaching in a post-conflict context?

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