Confounding expectation at Key Stage 3: flower-songs from an indigenous empire


Nicolas Kinloch, last updated: 31st August 2003

In this article Nicolas Kinloch examines aspects of an indigenous empire: that of Aztec Mexico. He attempts to persuade a group of mixed-ability Year 8 students to examine - and question - some of the assumptions they bring to the study of this empire. Their attitudes reflect quite widespread beliefs about so-called primitive societies, raising questions about the origin and accuracy of the ‘knowledge’ our students hold when they embark on any enquiry. Kinloch suggests ways in which ‘knowledge’ this can be challenged using an often-neglected source: the poetry of the Mexica people themselves. Such a source allows the Mexica to speak about some of their deepest beliefs in their own words. It encourages students to recognise and appreciate the complexity that is the common element of all human societies.

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