COMMENT

Now that the Government has flagged compulsory New Zealand history as part of the curriculum, the work begins of sorting out what that's going to look like. What aspects of history? As told by who? From what perspective?

And how much can you cram into a compulsory curriculum?

The Government says its "too early" to tell exactly what it will look like, but it will include early colonial history, the arrival of Māori, the Treaty of Waitangi, the New Zealand wars, the country's role in the Pacific, immigration and the evolving identity of our country.

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So who shapes how that all shakes down into bite size digestible school curriculum pieces?

According to one report, "historians, curriculum experts, iwi and mana whenua, Pacific communities, the education sector and school communities." will be involved. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

That is a whole lot of opinions views and angles all coming together in a relatively tight timeframe, to come up with a slick finished product.

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A product that will be expected to be free of propaganda, broad and balanced enough to engage a maximum amount of students, inspire a maximum amount of teachers, and one that stands the test of time.

That won't be easy, and there's just two years to get it done. And get it right.

I imagine among all the vested groups, there will be a range of voices wanting to be heard. There will be those adamant that certain aspects of our history are covered certain ways and it will not be easy bringing all these differing views and approaches together.

But should they be brought together?

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Or is the beauty of history that it is tackled from many differing viewpoints, that there is not one mass produced main message, but a myriad of messages open to interpretation?
That it provokes us to think and reflect, and challenges our already ingrained views?

You can guarantee within each community, within each school, within each classroom, there will be a variety of ways a subject is taught. There will be a variety of ways a subject is received by each student.

Most of school is about teaching us to think, rather than teaching us what to think.

So if a compulsory history which includes a range of reflections on how our country has evolved, provokes thought, feeling and engagement from students, then isn't that enough?

Isn't that the job of history?