Saturday, February 07, 2009

The teaching of history

The whole Battle on the Plains of Abraham once again made me realize how crappy the education system is at teaching history. When I was in high school we could take at most 3 history class, the first one on the ancient world, the Greek, the Egyptian and the Roman (go forbid we talked about the Celt, the native American, the Aztec, the Maya, the Chinless or the Indonesian civilizations) while the second is supposed to be on the world history until world war 1 with emphasis on Quebec and Canada. Now my memory of that second class is pretty hazy I know we talked about the end of the renaissance and the beginning of the colonization of Quebec. We saw in some details how the colony was settled up until the English conquest and then learned about that battle (and that battle only, nothing about the rest of the war, such as Chevalier de Levis’ attempt to capture Quebec). Then it was major event in Quebec with particular insistence put on event that the English minority at the time put inflicted on the Quebecers. The patriot revolt (with failure to mention the English patriots), the declaration of the high and low Canada and all the other stuff that reinforce the idea that Quebec is an oppressed province in Canada. But we skip over any realization by the Canadians and most of the thing involving Quebec that are not “inflicted” by the English.

Sure I understand that the class is limited in time and that we have to cover the “important” event but I fail to see how skipping part of the patriot revolt really inform Quebec student about it and how failing to mention the treaty of Paris influence on English rule really help. I would think that the history we teach should at least be complete and true. Now if I was redoing the curriculum for high school there would be history class at every grade. I would also insure that the program includes both Canadian and Quebec history and that it goes up about 10 years before the last class (i.e. 1999 this year). I think we need to learn a lot more about our history to understand where we come from and to be ready to step into a greater role in the world. Not to mention that it would help us take another look at the decision of the past and if we can give the next generation a better understanding of these decision they would be better equipped to see if we need to change them. It probably would reduce Quebec’s reliance on the: “it’s a choice we made as a society” answer when we question our model.

Well, in a way that part of my a better education is the best way to solve most of our society problems and to insure that our society’s future is bright and free of tyranny. I really think that education is much more important the health care (well one is actually part of the other, a good education includes preventive health care which is sorely lacking) and should involve a great deal more of our effort.

1 comment:

yofed said...

I totally agree with you, history classes were really taught in such a way that it made the English look like big bad guys and the quebecers like poor opressed people. If you ever find a good history book, either for Quebec or Canada as a whole, please let me know, because I find too many of them are very biased.