So as I’ve mentioned before,I’m spending my summer holiday travelling with my wonderful wife across some of Canada and the west coast of the US.I’m currently in Banff,a great town in the east of the Rockies. It’s a beautiful place,we’ve travelled down the Bow river on a raft,visited lakes,waterfalls and beautiful vistas. Although we’re only three days in, its already an amazing holiday!
When we’ve had time, we’ve had different news channels on the TV in our hotel rooms, keeping an eye on the build up to London 2012’s opening ceremony. It was a very difficult decision to go away during the Olympics, but the coverage here is phenomenal- and it’s very interesting to see an outside view of it all. The Korean flag incident is clearly very embarrassing, and the Canadian portrayal of Boris Johnson is hilarious- they love him!
Today we were taken around by a tour guide called Annicke. Her knowledge of not only the area, but the history of it, was astounding. My wife likes the scenery & wildlife, where as (not surprisingly) I’m finding the history side fascinating. Considering I have a lot of North American history to teach next year, this is a great place to be!
But this led to an interesting conversation today. In conversation between outselves, Annicke & an Irish touring companion led to talks of teaching. Annicke was astounded how much our teaching was focused on European,American and World history compared to British history. When she asked me why, I found it hard to give her an answer!
Over the next few years, Mrs. Durham & I will be rewriting the KS3 curriculum for JBS. Despite the extra work this brings, I enjoy the blank canvas and chance for a different approach. With Gove’s shadow looming large, British history and chronology will dominate the agenda at times. It’s a real opportunity to shape students’ understanding of our country, and give them a crucial sense of identity- how we became the Britain we see today, and their part in that. It’s one of history teachings most important assets- using a study of the past to gain a better appreciation of the present.
So as I travel west through the Rockies before crossing the border, I’ll keep watching ‘history in the making’ back home in London, and cheering on Team GB as I go. But realising that we are all ‘Team GB’, during the Olympics and beyond… that challenge starts on September!