Absence and myopia in A-level coursework

Teaching History article

Steven Driver, last updated: 12th April 2019

The intellectual revolution against historical neglect begins in the classroom

It is a charge commonly laid at history teachers that we, myopically, teach only the same-old same-old. Steven Driver has taken extreme steps to avoid this by focusing on a particular neglected event – the American occupation of Nicaragua in the early twentieth century – as part of his preparation of his students for A-level coursework. He presents here his rationale for forcing his students to work outside their (and most of our) comfort zones, both as historians and as students. He also demonstrates his analysis of their reactions to Central American history – to the interpretations which they felt more, and less, able to adopt as their own. Readers of this article who wish to teach Central American history for themselves will find helpful starting points; everyone will find the inspiration at least to consider structuring their curricula to banish their myopia, and to enable their students to do something a bit different.

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