Using feature films as a means of enhancing history teaching in the primary school

Primary History article

By Bob Burden, published 30th July 2008

Please note: this article pre-dates the 2014 National Curriculum and some content may be outdated.

Although I have always been fascinated by history and almost took it as my major subject at university, I have to admit that the bulk of my ‘knowledge' about historical people and events was shaped from an early age by what I gleaned from the cinema. Admittedly, this has led at times to a subsequent need to revise my initial beliefs that Errol Flynn single-handedly drove the Japanese out of Burma after having previously led the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava and defeated Sitting Bull and the might of the Sioux nation at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, but it also led to me wanting to find out more about why and where and how those events took place and even why Hollywood could get it so wrong. Despite such obvious limitations, I have long believed that films (and television) can bring history to life in a unique way that can capture and retain the imagination of even fairly young children, either in illustrating lessons introduced by their teachers or as stimuli for further exploration of particular themes...

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