Why children need to be taught to think critically about Remembrance Day

Impact: Cultural impacts

Description of impact

Then there was this piece yesterday from history educator, Kim Wilson, also in The Conversation, on the need to teach children critical thinking about Remembrance Day. We were particularly interested in the report of a British study which ‘found that the historical monuments [at Ypres] elicited such a strong emotional reaction from the students that it impaired their analytical skills, which were otherwise well developed in relation to other kinds of historical accounts’. We have noted many times the obsession of the commemoration industry with getting emotional reactions from students – and adults. Perhaps this is why. (See this related piece from 2016.)

Wilson also has this perceptive paragraph:

As historical tourists attending commemorative services, students (and the adults they grow into) are at risk of accepting without question nationalistic and political agendas that may not be in their best interests. I want my students and pre-service teachers to recognise the political, social, and economic factors that influence how a society conducts and participates in memorialisation of the past. Recognising and understanding this influence leads to active and proactive citizenship.
Impact date11 Nov 2017
Category of impactCultural impacts
Impact levelAdoption