Thursday, July 02, 2009

Unfuckingbelievable...two things today (today being Thursday ...posting after midnight) have left me open mouthed in disbelief: one was pleasant: Cheryl Cole's dress that she wore Tuesday night, or not so much the dress but more specifically Cheryl Cole in it; the other, and the one not based on lust, is the poor level of intelligence (if that is the right word to use) of some UK students. Every year there are similar tales of falls in standards - coinciding with rises in pass-rates - and every year there are similar stories of primary school students or secondary school pupils etc and what they don't know...this time it is gobsmackingly worse in that the following refers to 18 year old university first-years: "Trendy teaching is 'producing a generation of history numbskulls'"
(Daily Mail, click on image, as usual opens in new tab)
Dumb fucks... Please tell me you're astounded the way...these weren't students in lycra-knitting media studies or Egyptian modern art for vegan monocyclists; they were firstyear undergraduates reading history in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

P.S. I answered all five correctly in the time it took to read them...maybe 20 seconds? In fact in that time I also gave the monarch of both sides in Q2 and in Q4 gave four of the 20-odd possible correct answers.

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Paul said...

I answered them in the same time as you. I was talking about something similar to a member of staff this week (she's just turned 30) and it was interesting/depressing really.

Span Ows said...

A worrying trend...history students!! FFS!

Les Paul Junior said...

I had to think for a few seconds about the first question but the rest I found O.K. Now, I failed my history O-level three times so I can have no claim to being good at history. I got them right because I'm almost 54 years old and have, over the years, seen lots of television documentaries about lots of different stuff. A first year undergraduate will be about 19 nineteen years old and will simply not have had sufficient time to pick up those particular facts UNLESS they exclusively studied English history whilst at school.

Sorry, I'm not astounded. However, I have noticed that the teaching of history in schools has changed dramatically since I was a boy. Today there is a strong emphasis on how to research historical events, i.e. how some sources are better than others, rather than memorising lists of facts.

Do we really want history lessons to consist of children being taught a list of facts that are designed to show how great our country used to be?

Span Ows said...

How great we used to be? Q1 was a world changing event, probably Q2 too. I don't agree although I do agree re the experience one picks up through life.

After reading your reply I did a quick exam of 2 of my lads...(one's away but I am confident he'd also know.) This was by telephone so they could have cheated but they also got them right but we have both Bristol and South Africa connections and one is interested in army and battles etc (yes...really!) so it could be skewed. One is 14 the other 17, neither has any real interest in history as a subject.

I defy anyone to say that a HISTORY undergraduate shouldn't be able to name a single PM of the 19th century (or only 1 in 10 of them)...surely just by watching films they'd know Q2 for instance. I can't remember correctly but I wouldn't mind betting I would have got all 5 right after my O levels.

Span Ows said...

P.S. "Today there is a strong emphasis on how to research historical events, i.e. how some sources are better than others..."

That would take a week at most...what did they do for the other 5 + years?

The Great Gildersleeve said...

Well, it's how many watch or listen to the news and documentaries or read newspapers, books and magazines or radio that offer more than just recent events and have more in thjem than celebrities, Big Brother, Music, films etc...

Whether we should roughly at school decide whether we teach mainly world events or events that happened in countries not with a connection to the UK or just domestic history or a variety of it all.

And whether we put a time limit on how far back we go.

So it is history but more relevent to the students...

There could be something in the idea that you add to your knowledge as you leave school and that is just a starting point as you only learn to drive a car after you have passed your test...

But yes I do often find myself laughing or groaning when I hear how little people(youngsters seem to know)

I too got the questions correct and answered them as I was reading them :-)