The role of history teaching in discussing difficult topics
Enabling the discussion of difficult histories in the classroom
This project investigated divergency and convergency in history education in both jurisdictions, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, in post-partition Ireland. Particularly, it includes a forthcoming empirical study examining why political history has been an accepted area for study at primary level in the south but been eschewed by educators in the north.
This work was commissioned by Community Relations Council to facilitate the development of curriculum materials for schools to help young people in Northern Ireland better understand and respond to the centenaries of historical events in the 1912-22 period. The resource is underpinned by a set of principles on teaching controversial and sensitive history which emerged from classroom research and experience in Northern Ireland and other conflict contexts. The work forms part of a CPD programme for history teachers engaged in Shared Education.
Funded by the Royal Irish Academy, this investigation focused on the interface between history young people learn in schools and that they encounter in families and communities in Northern Ireland. It examined how young people in Northern Ireland conceptualize their identity in relation to national history, how they respond to the politicized histories they encounter in their communities, the impact curriculum has on young people’s sense of identity, and how this changes during their early secondary education. This project was undertaken in collaboration with Professor Keith Barton, Indiana University.
Initially, the funding from the Nuffield Foundation supported an international seminar on teaching history in societies emerging from conflict. This seminar brought together researchers and policymakers from 6 countries. Using this seminar as its foundation block, an informal network has been developed and has led to research and development in this field over a period of nearly 15 years. Many collaborative publications have stemmed from this, some of which are listed below.