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Napoleonic history barely taught in French schools now

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Napoleonic history barely taught in French schools now

Postby FBC-Elvas, Portugal » January 9th, 2016, 10:00 am

Peter Hicks, Historian and Director of International Relations at the Fondation Napoléon, reflects on the teaching of Napoleonic history in French schools today.

Our humanity and the values traditionally associated with it – namely, reflection, analysis, weighing up, passion versus equanimity – are the daily bread of the historian. How we teach this to our children is therefore of great importance. We must try to remain unshackled by dogma (political or religious). ‘Telling it how it was' so as better to ‘tell it how it is'.
In the French bulletin this week, Thierry Lentz details the half-thought-out and failed reforms of an ideologically-driven French national education. Promises regarding syllabuses have been broken, and the French Revolution and the First Empire (not to mention Napoleon I or III) have all but disappeared from school history teaching. Add to this the dismantling of a research group fundamental to the work of the prestigious Institut d'Histoire de la Révolution Française, founded in 1937 in part through the energy of Robert Lefebvre, and you have a parlous situation.
At a time when citizens in the French Republic need (and some are demanding) to know their past in order better to see who they are, it is not less but more, and better, XIXth-century history that we need. And that right from the earliest school years!

Sarah
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Re: Napoleonic history barely taught in French schools now

Postby TheBibliophile » January 9th, 2016, 6:15 pm

Ask a British kid who Winston Churchill was.
Theyll tell you its the dog off the insurance advert.
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Re: Napoleonic history barely taught in French schools now

Postby Andrew » January 10th, 2016, 9:32 pm

It is very sad that French students should no longer study Napoleon's rule; there is so much debate on his character (good or bad) and his rule (good or bad) and so much for that France should be proud of, that it's a loss/shame. As Bibliopile suggests, we have the same paradoxes in our own history, not just in our own period of study, and both countries have a history that should help us debate what is good and bad; analysis that should encourage an objective approach to history rather than purely judging it by the mores of today.
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Re: Napoleonic history barely taught in French schools now

Postby DaveH » January 11th, 2016, 12:51 pm

I can understand, given the trendy education agendas, that they might not teach Napoleon any more, but the Revolution is surely fundamental to France and shows what happens - they inevitably end in chaos and a strongman emerging to sort it out (Russia, Arab Spring etc. etc.).
The problem is the trendy agendas - that ********** Sharma was just as bad. In his History of Britain series, he was supposed to be covering the Enlightenment out to Waterloo, but it was just him pontificating about the supposed "advance of women" over that period.
So, I suppose we are back with "Those, who do not understand the past, are condemned to repeat it".
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Re: Napoleonic history barely taught in French schools now

Postby TheBibliophile » January 11th, 2016, 2:44 pm

Those that do not understand history, go on TV :D
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Re: Napoleonic history barely taught in French schools now

Postby Mark » January 12th, 2016, 11:39 am

Interestingly, the Battle of Waterloo has been added to the new A-Level history curriculum in the UK. As I find out more I will post details.

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