Footprints 4: History for Sixth Standard
This is a good example of a primary school history textbook reflecting changes to textbook publication after the introduction of the 1971 curriculum both in terms of a clear move away from overtly nationalist history-writing and the introduction of child-centred learning methods. The text, published in 1988, was ‘prepared in accordance with the most recent guidelines of the Department of Education’ and as such reflects not only the 1971 Curriculum but also more recent developments. The introduction refers to various features of the text that were designed to meet changing curricular emphases and asserts the avowedly child-centred approach taken by the text. Features such as the inclusion of both traditional themes and ‘patch studies’ and the ‘teaching potential of the extensive illustrative material’ are noted. There is also an emphasis on active and discovery learning. The text encourages pupils to undertake their own research on the clothing in the age of Queen Elizabeth I, for example, and prepare a project on the Spanish Armada. There are text boxes entitled ‘To do’ and ‘Talk about it’ suggesting research and class work. The text does not present a straight chronological history of Ireland. There are a number of thematic chapters interspersed breaking the chronological narrative, for example, ‘Lighting through the Ages’, ‘Canals and Railways’ and ‘Give Peace a Chance’. ‘History Around Us’ covers local history, focusing on the changes to homes, streets and farms. European and world history are incorporated in ‘Great Civilisations’, examining the Arab World and the Incas, and ‘The Age of Revolutions’ which links revolution in America and France to Ireland. One of the suggested activities is to ‘Organise a drama about one of the rebellions described in this unit. Try to include people with different points of view’ (80); an activity that reflects an emphasis on a balanced understanding of historical events. The chapter ‘Give Peace a Chance’ focuses on the concept of peaceful means of achieving justice, describing the Buddha, Jesus, the Society of Friends, Brehon Law, Gandhi and Martin Luther King. The text therefore represents a marked change from the nationalist history textbooks of an earlier period that celebrated military events as glorious episodes in the struggle for independence. The text uses a number of innovative features to enliven the telling of history such as historical ‘characters’ telling their stories in speech bubbles. The variety of illustrative material is also notable, and includes maps and diagrams, photographs, contemporary sketches and documents such as a Famine ration card and an advertisement for a day trip to The Shannon Electrical Scheme. A Teachers’ Guide for Footprints 3 and Footprints 4 was available.
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215 p. ill. 21x20 cm.
History, Textbook, Ireland, Europe, 1971 Curriculum, Active Learning, Discovery Learning, Patch Studies
General Catalogue (Children’s Books) - NLI