WW2 History in schools?

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by 17thDYRCH, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. gunbunnyB/3/75FA

    gunbunnyB/3/75FA Senior Member

    wow, i think you may have a poet on your hands. i wonder what he could come out with if you handed him a copy of "all quiet on the western front"
     
  2. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  3. johnabcitizen

    johnabcitizen Junior Member

    I finished school not too long ago and not once was there ever a major focus in the Second World War from Prep to Year 12. Sure, there were scatterings here and there in Year 9 Australian History and Grade 5, but even in a Year 11 VCE subject called '20th Century History', the entire 20th Century was more or less covered except for 1939-1945. We did do a lot on the lead-up to WW2 (i.e. the Nazis taking power and all that) but absolutely nothing on the actual war. Even our textbook saw fit to cover it using only four pages, complete with inaccurate information (according to the textbook, it was the Americans who won the Battle of the Coral Sea by themselves).
     
  4. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    It was quite funny and a bit of a coincidence for me to spot this thread at this particular time.

    Later today I will be talking to a class of 6 to 7 year olds on what it was like to be a soldier in WW2 :)

    If I come back in one piece I will make my report later this evening.

    Ron
     
    Za Rodinu likes this.
  5. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Good man, Ron.
    Thinking of my own 7-year-old... you may get some 'interesting' questions ;).
     
  6. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    It was quite funny and a bit of a coincidence for me to spot this thread at this particular time.

    Later today I will be talking to a class of 6 to 7 year olds on what it was like to be a soldier in WW2 :)

    If I come back in one piece I will make my report later this evening.

    Ron
    Look forward to reading that Ron! best of luck.
     
  7. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Back in one piece so feel obliged to make a report on what it was like giving a talk to 6 to 7 year olds.

    First of all I have to mention the "culture shock"

    The school itself, which I won't name, was very welcoming and the form teacher must have warned the class that their speaker had arrived because when we opened the classroom door I was greeted by a phalanx of eager-eyed kids, all facing the door and staring at this old git wearing his medals and I thought, Blimey !..... what have I let myself in for !!!!

    I was relieved when at a single word from their teacher they were all sitting on the floor, facing a white screen already showing some old photos I had previously supplied and I was invited to introduce myself.

    I picked the largest kid I could see, asked him to keep his friends in order and then I was off into a prepared 10 minute talk but punctuated with lots of questions.

    I was humbled at some of the answers from the kids, truly, and it made me realise how knowledgable they were in some areas and yet completely clueless in others.

    I started by telling them that when war broke out I was swimming in the sea at Hove and heard the first sirens warning us of an impending air raid (false alarm, as it turned out)

    I stopped and asked "Does anyone know what an air raid siren sounded like"

    The nearest kid to me popped up her hand and said "we get them in Israel" and I thought "so you do, and not just for Remembrance Day either "

    I was about to tell them an old favourite story of mine about a day leave in Rome when it occurred to me I had better check if they knew where Rome was.

    I asked the question and hands shot up.

    I picked a delightful child who was waving franticallyl.

    "Its the Capital of Italy", she said and as I congratulated her I immediately thought, could I have done the same at her age ?

    I spoke of having served in a tank unit and asked "do you know what a tank looks like ?"
    "It's a gun on wheels" said the nearest boy confidently and I said "Well done that man !", but added gently that we used tracks instead of wheels.

    I made the mistake of telling them my parrot story and for the rest of the talk, hands would occasionally pop up and we would all have to hear about their dogs and hampsters :)

    By the time we finished my allotted half an hour had spread to 45 minutes but I enjoyed it, it seemed like my audience had too and yes, one of the questions was "what did you get all those medals for?" :)

    Would I do it again ?

    Without question.

    Ron
     
  8. Jakob Kjaersgaard

    Jakob Kjaersgaard Senior Member

    Well done Ron. Sounds like a great experience for both parts.
     
  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Ron,
    During the exchanges was there a question you wished you'd been asked, but weren't?
     
  10. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Ron,
    During the exchanges was there a question you wished you'd been asked, but weren't?

    Diane

    Hadn't thought about that, but probably the answer is probably yes and the question I would like to have been asked "were you ever scared ?"

    The main problem was the limitations of time.

    Try and convey six years of experience in a fifteen minute talk to an audience with a limited vocabulary ............ the more I think about it I realise that it was asking the impossible and yet it seemed to work :)

    By the way, the parrot story is here:BBC - WW2 People's War - Keeping Pets in the Forces
     
  11. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Thats Great stuff Ron and gives hope that the kids of today will want to learn about our recent past (certainly in historical terms). I'm sure it was a heck of a job trying to convey your experiences in so short a time. Do you do this often by the way?
     
  12. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Gerard

    Do I do this regularly ?

    Strictly a first for me, on this subject anyway.

    When I was younger, I used to give talks on Ancient Coins but I must admit that my audience were also a little ancient as well. :)

    Ron
     
  13. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Tell you what, you might have discovered a new vocation!!! You kept a group of 6-7 year olds attentive for 45 minutes that is a real accomplishment!
     
  14. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Misquoting, they stared at a well of knowledge and the well stared back... and it smiled. I'm sure they went home richer.
     
  15. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Miguel

    Actually, the whole experience has set me thinking.

    When I was their (the kids) age it was 1930.

    The Great War had ended in 1918, only twelve years earlier and yet I cannot ever remember being taught about the conflict in school, in fact my only childhood memory even connected to the war was seeing the occasional street musicians, complete with their one legged players, who begged for pennies in the streets.

    And yet, here was I, expecting these kids of the same age that I was then, to know about events of sixty to seventy years ago.

    Ron
     
  16. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Good show Ron

    well done and thank you
     
  17. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    When I was their (the kids) age it was 1930.

    The Great War had ended in 1918, only twelve years earlier and yet I cannot ever remember being taught about the conflict in school, in fact my only childhood memory even connected to the war was seeing the occasional street musicians, complete with their one legged players, who begged for pennies in the streets.

    And yet, here was I, expecting these kids of the same age that I was then, to know about events of sixty to seventy years ago.

    Ron
    I find that pretty profound really.
    We can't expect every bit of the past to be handed down & treasured by future generations. It just ain't a possibility. And things do move on (while in many ways staying the same).
    I would say though, that even my scratchy memory recalls almost everyone that ever visited my school to give a talk on something, from a WW1 veteran in an assembly, to a bloke with a sack full of snakes... so I think you do a damned fine thing going in, Ron. Funny what catches kids' attention.
    Makes me think I ought to start volunteering at the school again.
     
  18. ronald

    ronald Senior Member

    80% of the Dutch youth want that the WWII commemorations stay and they also want that the schools pay more attention to WWII. Many scholars also want to talk to somebody who experienced the war.

    Source: Research by a Dutch Youth Movement by order of the Government.



    Ron...
     
  19. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Ron,
    Any chance that you could post the history curriculum taught to children in the Netherlands?
    In Canada, very little attention is paid to ww2 which is a shame considering that we had a million people in uniform out of a population of eleven million people in 1939.

    Cheers
     
  20. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Ron,
    Any chance that you could post the history curriculum taught to children in the Netherlands?
    In Canada, very little attention is paid to ww2 which is a shame considering that we had a million people in uniform out of a population of eleven million people in 1939.

    Cheers
    Randy, I will second that I would be very intrested to see what Dutch kids learn about ww2 in school, especially given the scant knowledge that was passed on to myself in school.
     

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