What do they teach in history class in other countries?

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What do they teach in history class in other countries?

Postby tinyrick » Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:42 pm

I saw this post on reddit that asked British people how public schools in Britain teach about the Revolutionary War and the major consensus was they they really don't. From the British side, the American Revolution was just an extension of the larger conflict with France and the American Revolution was merely a proxy war. One redditor summed it up best by paraphrasing M. Bison from the Street Fighter Movie. For the US, the Revolutionary War was the most important event in our history. For the British, it was a Tuesday. The British have a history that extends over 2000 years, so they have to cover a lot more and the Americas was just one small corner of the 25% of the globe they conquered.

It's really weird to think historical events that were so important to us are just blips on the radar to everyone else. It made me wonder about other European countries in relation to the US and how history is taught. Does the average Frenchman even know what the Louisiana Purchase is? It was a big deal for us cause it basically doubled the size of the United States, but to the French it must just be the sale of some land the French weren't using anyway, and they had way bigger things going on considering Napolean was the one that sold us that land.
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Re: What do they teach in history class in other countries?

Postby cmsellers » Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:01 pm

Conversely, the Boxer Rebellion is a huge part of Chinese history, as part of a nationalist narrative of China's "century of humiliation." Everywhere you go in Beijing, there's signs about stuff that was destroyed but the "Eight-Power Allies." "The who?" you may ask? Basically everyone who was anyone in Europe, plus Japan and the US. Did you know the US invaded China? I didn't before I went to China, and I don't think it was ever covered in school.
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Re: What do they teach in history class in other countries?

Postby Marcuse » Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:53 pm

I studied history in the UK and have a (pretty crappy grade) A Level in it. If I could summarise what I learned very briefly it would be:

1066 (the Battles of Stamford Bridge and Hastings)
Crop rotation in the 14th century
The Tudors (basically an overview of the dynasty from Henry VII to Elizabeth I)
English Civil War (incorporating the early Stuarts but omitting later monarchs such as William of Orange)
First World War
Second World War (subset of which was limited explanation of Russian communism)
Vietnam War (omitting US domestic politics nearly entirely)
Italian Fascism
The Rise of Hitler 1918 - 1936
18th Century British domestic politics (basically the Great Reform Acts and the Poor Laws)

Notice something missing?

I wasn't taught a jot about the British Empire, foreign policy outside of notable wars (the American Revolution was never mentioned once), or really anything between 1700 and 1900. It's bizarre really, but we get an extremely edited version of history in school. I was actually so aware of the gaps in my knowledge that I ended up doing independent research to gain some kind of broad overview of European history so I understood the context of things.
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Re: What do they teach in history class in other countries?

Postby Aquila89 » Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:03 pm

Here in Hungary, about half of history classes deal with the history of Hungary, and the other half deal with the history of the rest of the world (in a rather Eurocentric way). I still have my old textbook about 18th and 19th century. It does deal with the Revolutionary War, but only devotes about two pages to it.
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Re: What do they teach in history class in other countries?

Postby NathanLoiselle » Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:38 am

In post-Soviet era Russia. History learns you!
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Re: What do they teach in history class in other countries?

Postby tinyrick » Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:45 pm

Marcuse wrote:I studied history in the UK and have a (pretty crappy grade) A Level in it. If I could summarise what I learned very briefly it would be:

1066 (the Battles of Stamford Bridge and Hastings)
Crop rotation in the 14th century
The Tudors (basically an overview of the dynasty from Henry VII to Elizabeth I)
English Civil War (incorporating the early Stuarts but omitting later monarchs such as William of Orange)
First World War
Second World War (subset of which was limited explanation of Russian communism)
Vietnam War (omitting US domestic politics nearly entirely)
Italian Fascism
The Rise of Hitler 1918 - 1936
18th Century British domestic politics (basically the Great Reform Acts and the Poor Laws)

Notice something missing?

I wasn't taught a jot about the British Empire, foreign policy outside of notable wars (the American Revolution was never mentioned once), or really anything between 1700 and 1900. It's bizarre really, but we get an extremely edited version of history in school. I was actually so aware of the gaps in my knowledge that I ended up doing independent research to gain some kind of broad overview of European history so I understood the context of things.


My history classes actually covered most of that except, they focused way more on German Fascism than Italian Fascism. We barely cover WWI at all. The only British domestic polices we really learned about was about the Irish Potato Famine, but that's largely due to the fact that it directly affected us. The famine is a major reason we had so many Irish immigrants during that period. Some of English history was taught in English class rather than History, since we had to learn about Shakespeare at some point.
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Re: What do they teach in history class in other countries?

Postby iMURDAu » Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:25 pm

What do they teach in history class in America? Entire coverage of World War I, aka The Great War from my years of schooling:

It happened.

I think it only gets mentioned because WWII is a numbered sequel.
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Re: What do they teach in history class in other countries?

Postby cmsellers » Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:43 pm

My American History teacher for that period was a European history major who resented the fact that most of her job was teaching American History classes. So she made sure to spend over a week on WWI, simply because it was something she actually knew and cared about. The Spanish-American War, however, basically boiled down to "and also that happened," as did pretty much all of American History between the Civil War and the Great Depression.
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Re: What do they teach in history class in other countries?

Postby Twistappel » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:49 am

Marcuse wrote:I wasn't taught a jot about the British Empire, foreign policy outside of notable wars (the American Revolution was never mentioned once), or really anything between 1700 and 1900. It's bizarre really, but we get an extremely edited version of history in school. I was actually so aware of the gaps in my knowledge that I ended up doing independent research to gain some kind of broad overview of European history so I understood the context of things.

Funnily enough, my school went into the rise and fall of the British Empire, as well as colonialism/imperialism generally, in considerable detail. Maybe it's because Australia was one of Britain's colonies, or maybe it's just my school (we had a bunch of international students from the Asia Pacific region), but that seemed to be one of the major themes of the curriculum. For some reason, we did the Indian independence movement twice.

We also did quite a lot on US history, including the Revolutionary and Civil wars, as well as the emergence of the USA as a superpower, following WWII.

Looking at this stuff as an adult, I do think the whole thing had a decidedly sanitized, pro-British/Australian bent. Although compared to a lot of people I've spoken to, my school seems to have provided a relatively solid education. For example, we did at least cover some of the more unsavory elements of Australian history, like slavery (I'm amazed at how many Australians don't know that this was a thing), the Stolen Generation and the White Australia policy.

Other major things we covered were:
The Renaissance
The Reformation
The Spanish Inquisition
The French, Russian and Chinese Revolutions
The Industrial Revolution
The Australian gold rush
Both World Wars
The Vietnam war (which dovetailed pretty nicely into the "colonialism" theme)
The Boer War and Apartheid (which was still a thing for most of my high school education)
The reunification of Germany
The US civil rights movement
The feminist movement
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Re: What do they teach in history class in other countries?

Postby CarrieVS » Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:00 am

I covered a similar range of topics as Marcuse but my high school's history department specialised in giving us "the evidence" and letting us "interpret it" and come to a conclusion.

I have since learned that in pretty much every instance of that we were given an extremely one-sided selection of "the evidence." We were persuaded to believe amongst other things that William of Normandy, rather than Harold Godwinson, was the "rightful" successor to Edward the Confessor, that the Gunpowder Plot was a false-flag conspiracy, and that there was a second gunman in the assassination of President Kennedy.

We were also taught as fact such opinions as proportional representation is a bad electoral system as it usually results in coalition governments which are inherently weak and this was a direct cause of the Nazis coming to power, leading to World War II and the Holocaust.

I generally default to disbelieving anything I learned in high school history unless I've independently verified it.
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Re: What do they teach in history class in other countries?

Postby Ladki96 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:43 am

Fun fact, my school material is available online so anyone can look up the subject textbooks I studied ^^ I've been having a nostalgic blast reading them since I began teaching.

Here's the link for interested peeps: http://epathshala.nic.in/e-pathshala-4/flipbook/

My school followed the CBSE (Central Board) and thank god for that because the State board education is... something else. History is grouped along with Economics, Political Science, Disaster Management in a broad subject called Social Science ^^

Anyway, our syllabus of course mostly focused on Indian history. Key international stuff I remember learning in high school are:

1) British colonialism (obviously)
2) French and Russian Revolutions, Soviet Union
3) Nazism
4) WW1 & 2 v. briefly, UN
5) tiny bits about the Cold War/Vietnam War
6) Apartheid
7) if there is anything left out, I don't remember. Something about Belgium?

Indian history

1) Indus Valley Civilisation
2) Early kingdoms
3) Mughal Empire
4) East India Company
5) Revolt of 1857
6) Civil Disobedience and the struggle for Independence
7) Partition, Making of the Constitution
8) Agricultural Revolution and making our government/economy gud
9) Modern India (political events my parents or at least grandparents were alive for)

So yeah, I didn't know/care much about 'Merica or really any other country in school :P this continued until my B.A. second year, around the time when my knowledge of international history expanded due to college/meeting u guys on IRC and caring about randos on the other side of the world.
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Re: What do they teach in history class in other countries?

Postby Kivutar » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:35 pm

CarrieVS wrote:We were persuaded to believe amongst other things that William of Normandy, rather than Harold Godwinson, was the "rightful" successor to Edward the Confessor


Kind of hilarious that they cared about the legitimacy of a guy who lived almost a thousand years ago (and is more commonly known as "The Conqueror" regardless of their efforts).
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Re: What do they teach in history class in other countries?

Postby iMURDAu » Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:27 pm

It's okay Ladki if you ever wanted to fill in any knowledge gaps you've got regarding American History we've made plenty of movies on the subject:

The Patriot
Forrest Gump (covers a ton of the 20th century)
All The President's Men
Lincoln
Apollo 13
Back to the Future (covers an entire century)
and...
American History X (It's in the title!)
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Re: What do they teach in history class in other countries?

Postby Ladki96 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:17 pm

Forrest can wipe his face on someone else's shirt and establish a universal symbol for happiness but when I do it the police is called smh

(I love that movie <3 the heroine is a bitch tho)
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Re: What do they teach in history class in other countries?

Postby jbobsully11 » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:49 am

In middle school: In sixth grade (ages 11-12), we mostly learned about ancient civilizations: Egypt, Mesopotamia, Harappans, etc. (by which I mean "probably others, but none that come to mind"). In seventh grade, we mostly learned world geography, which is why I almost failed it (apparently my alarmingly poor sense of direction applies on a global scale as well as local). Eighth grade was spent learning about early US history, up to around the time of the Revolution.

In high school: I honestly forget what we learned in ninth grade world history, except that I actually found it really interesting at the time (I would say I had a good teacher, but again, I can't remember what we learned). US history 1 covered from a little before the Revolutionary War up until about the industrial revolution. That teacher was kind of... off, so I took most of what he said with a grain of salt.

US history 2 picked up from there. Among other things, we spent an awful lot of time learning about the US’s involvement in WW1 (I still remember the teacher saying that Woodrow Wilson was re-elected under the slogan "He kept us out of war," which lasted about ten minutes into his second term), “...and by the way, pretty much every other major power suffered casualties orders of magnitude greater than the US.” We also learned that the League of Nations was formed, but the US didn’t join, so... *voice trails off*

That class went up until the Vietnam War, which I wrote a research paper on before we started that chapter (we could pick any topic we either had covered or would cover that year).

In college, I took a five-week summer class (three hours a day, three days a week, IIRC) that started with late 19th century Europe, spent most of the time on WWI (among other things, we had to read All Quiet on the Western Front), about two days on WWII, and the last day we learned about the Korean and Vietnam wars. I think the US was barely mentioned until the end, which was refreshing.
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