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UK Schools Drop Holocaust Due To Muslims

From the UK’s Times:

Schools drop Holocaust lessons to avoid offence

April 2, 2007
Alexandra Frean

Teachers are dropping controversial subjects such as the Holocaust and the Crusades from history lessons because they do not want to cause offence to children from certain races or religions, a report claims.

A lack of factual knowledge among some teachers, particularly in primary schools, is also leading to “shallow” lessons on emotive and difficult subjects, according to the study by the Historical Association.

The report, produced with funding from the Department for Education, said that where teachers and staff avoided emotive and controversial history, their motives were generally well intentioned.

“Staff may wish to avoid causing offence or appearing insensitive to individuals or groups in their classes. In particular settings, teachers of history are unwilling to challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in which pupils are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship,” it concluded.

However, it was concerned that this could lead to divisions within school, and that it might also put pupils off history.

With a little more detail those defenders of the faith at the BBC:

Schools ‘avoid Holocaust lessons’

The Holocaust will be protected in the new curriculum

Some schools avoid teaching the Holocaust and other controversial history subjects as they do not want to cause offence, research has claimed.

Teachers fear meeting anti-Semitic sentiment, particularly from Muslim pupils, the government-funded study by the Historical Association said.

It also said the way the slave trade was taught could leave both white and black children feeling alienated.

Ministers in England had asked for guidance on teaching emotive subjects.

When he commissioned the report last year, schools minister Lord Adonis said the national curriculum encouraged teachers to choose content “likely to resonate in their multicultural classrooms” – but some found it difficult to do that.

The Historical Association report claimed: “Teachers and schools avoid emotive and controversial history for a variety of reasons, some of which are well-intentioned.

“Staff may wish to avoid causing offence or appearing insensitive to individuals or groups in their classes.

“In particular settings, teachers of history are unwilling to challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in which pupils are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship.”

The report gave the example of a history department in a northern city which decided not to teach the Holocaust as a topic for GCSE coursework.

It cited another school which taught the Holocaust, but then avoided teaching the Crusades because “balanced treatment” of the topic would have challenged what some local mosques were teaching.

Emotive issues such as the slave trade can be taught too blandly, portraying Afro-Caribbeans as victims and isolating black children, the report said.

But when teachers downplay the role of the white authorities in abolishing the slave trade, white children can become alienated.

The report called for resources, which were scarce at present, to be made available to teach controversial and emotional history subjects.

Initial teacher training should include more attention on how to teach these subjects and a better research base should be made available to teachers, it said.

And further research into the issue, particularly the attitudes of different groups, families and individuals’ to difficult subjects, needed to be carried out.

A government review of citizenship education recommended that all pupils should learn about issues such as slavery and the legacy of the British Empire.

A Department of Education and Skills spokesman said there was scope for schools to make their own decision on what to teach within the national curriculum

But he added: “Teaching of the Holocaust is already compulsory in schools at KS3. It will remain so in the new KS3 curriculum from September 2008…

Apparently the BBC article is meant to reassure us that the holocaust will still be taught as part of the British national curriculum. But in such a way as to not offend the ever touchy Muslims.

Of course the question is, what is it about teaching the holocaust offends Muslims in the first place? 

(Thanks to DGA for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, April 2nd, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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