‘What medieval historian’s heart did not thrill
to yesterday’s news that every primary school in England
will be sent a copy of Magna Carta, together with
interpretative guides which show English history
(indeed apparently global history) over the last
800 years as “a fight for freedom and rights”?
– Charles West, a senior lecturer in medieval history at Sheffield University
West outlines some interesting lesson plans designed:
- to teach children that the concept of political representation and election actually pre-dates Magna Carta.
- to create a new version of a 10thC teaching role-play text, with updated vocations, to discuss the extent to which political liberty requires progressive economic policies to be meaningful.
- to turn a 12thC text in which a London working man bursts out into criticism of the clergy, into a classroom game by replacing the word ‘clerics’ with more modern career paths, building in some careers advice to prepare students for the modern globalised “world of work”?
- to using the Declaration of Abroath (Scotland 1320) as a springboard to discuss the representation of the SNP and the European Union in the pre-election English media, and whether ‘liberty’ is a distinctively English historical theme.
- to use the speech of the radical preacher John Ball, in 1381, in the heat of the Peasants’ Revolt, to think that policies would John Ball put in his manifesto about if he were standing for election in May.
For full details see West’s posting on http://www.historymatters.group.shef.ac.uk/magna-carta-classroom-suggestions.
Will these interesting suggestions be taken up in Croydon Schools?