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Table of Contents
A Critique of Haydn, T. (2012) ‘History in Schools and the Problem of ‘The Nation’’ Education Sciences, 2(4): 276-289
Why I Chose this Article
There is a very high-spirited campaign among Irish academics to preserve Junior Certificate History in its current format at present, I had planned to critique an Irish academic article on this topic but unfortunately high calibre, carefully considered, peer reviewed materials were simply not at my disposal here, highlighting how excitable but often inadequate the quality of debate on this topic has been to date. I chose to critique ‘History in Schools and the Problem of ‘The Nation’’ instead because of the striking parallels between GCSE History targets in England (OCR, 2009) and the aims prescribed for Junior Certificate History here in Ireland (NCCA, 2008). I wanted to investigate if the defence of Junior Certificate History is justifiable and if the learning objectives of the subject are still relevant and useful to students a quarter of a century after the revised syllabus was first launched. Background, Discipline and Political Persuasion of the Author Professor Terry Haydn, PhD., is a highly respected academic and with good cause - he is indisputably an expert in his field. Haydn constantly researches the predicament of History in school settings with University-backed projects such as ‘Children’s Ideas about School History and Why they Matter’ and is regularly published and co-published, in academic literatures and esteemed, peer-reviewed periodicals (UEA, 2012). ‘History in Schools and the Problem of ‘The Nation’’ was published in ‘Education Sciences’, an international, academic, reputable, open access journal (Education Sciences, 2013).
The Quality, Relevance and Compilation of his Sources
Haydn’s academic articles are always accompanied by an impressive, purposeful and up-to-date bibliography. Haydn himself appears a conspicuous 6 times in the ‘Nation’s’ bibliography – although on closer scrutiny, the article is a cumulative product of his assembly of empirical data and relevant case studies with papers such as ‘Factors Influencing Pupil Take-up of History…’ and ‘Pupils’ Perceptions of History at Key Stage 3.’ (Haydn, 2012, p. 286-289). Therefore the multiple self-citations are justified. Spokespersons in the fortunes of English school History are cited and cross-referenced aplenty - including journalists, politicians, academic historians, subject inspectors, teachers and, aforementioned, school students. The newspapers Haydn references are a model of objectivity - with titles cited equitably from across the Left/Right political gambit (BBC, 2013). Paradoxically though, despite the fair-mindedness and far reach of Haydn’s compilation of...