‘‘They took Ireland away from us and we have to fight to get it back’’: Using fictional characters to explore the relationship between historical interpretation and contemporary attitudes

Alan McCully, Nigel Pilgrim

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Helping students to understand how and why people in the present interpret the past differently is a challenge. It is also vital if we are to develop an understanding of why the meanings we ascribe to the past are not fixed, but rather are subject to our own prejudices or goals. A number of articles in previous editions have explored how students might start to explore the particular interpretations advanced in film, by historians or on the web. But what about exploring the way that particular individuals are both shaped by – and shape – their interpretations of history? Indeed, can we begin to engage students in a process of deconstructing their very owninterpretations? This would be a powerful – and radical – approach in any context, but in Northern Ireland it is doubly so. Alan McCully and Nigel Pilgrim have written previously in Teaching History about the need for students in Northern Ireland to engage more directly with their emotional responses to the past and its links with the present. In this article they introduce us to a fascinating way to help all our students,wherever they live, do exactly that.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages17-21
    JournalTeaching History
    Volume114
    Issue number114
    Publication statusPublished - 2004

    Fingerprint

    Ireland
    Northern Ireland
    Fictional Characters
    Prejudice
    History of Interpretation
    Teaching of History
    Pilgrims
    Emotional Response
    Historian
    World Wide Web

    Keywords

    • History Teaching
    • Educational responses to conflict
    • Divided societies
    • Interpretations

    Cite this

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    title = "‘‘They took Ireland away from us and we have to fight to get it back’’: Using fictional characters to explore the relationship between historical interpretation and contemporary attitudes",
    abstract = "Helping students to understand how and why people in the present interpret the past differently is a challenge. It is also vital if we are to develop an understanding of why the meanings we ascribe to the past are not fixed, but rather are subject to our own prejudices or goals. A number of articles in previous editions have explored how students might start to explore the particular interpretations advanced in film, by historians or on the web. But what about exploring the way that particular individuals are both shaped by – and shape – their interpretations of history? Indeed, can we begin to engage students in a process of deconstructing their very owninterpretations? This would be a powerful – and radical – approach in any context, but in Northern Ireland it is doubly so. Alan McCully and Nigel Pilgrim have written previously in Teaching History about the need for students in Northern Ireland to engage more directly with their emotional responses to the past and its links with the present. In this article they introduce us to a fascinating way to help all our students,wherever they live, do exactly that.",
    keywords = "History Teaching, Educational responses to conflict, Divided societies, Interpretations",
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    note = "Reference text: CCEA (2003) Pathways: proposals for Curriculum and Assessment at Key Stage 3, Part : Background rationale and Detail, Belfast, Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment. NFER (1999) Real Curriculum reports. 4. McCully A., Pilgrim N., Sutherland A. and McMinn T. (2002) ‘ ‘Don’t worry, Mr. Trimble. We can handle it.’ Balancing the rational and emotional in the teaching of contentious topics’, Teaching History 106. Barton, K.C. & McCully, A.W. (2005) ‘History, Identity and the School Curriculum in Northern Ireland: An Empirical Study of Secondary Students’ Ideas and Perspectives’ Journal of Curriculum Studies",
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