|(From Church & State Magazine, No. 74, Autumn 2003)|
|Notes For Teachers—History|
|Irish Department of Education, 1932-34|
History is in many respects the subject that presents most difficulty to the teacher of pupils of primary school age. This is due, to some extent, to the fact that there is no subject in which the teacher has to try to attain so many aims. History not only gives knowledge of the past, but aims at explaining through the past the conditions under which people live at the present day. The function of the teacher of History is much wider, however, than the mere imparting of knowledge about the past and the present, since this subject can be made a valuable instrument for training the reasoning powers, firing the imagination, and directing the will. In the hands of the good teacher its fruits are, at least, as much moral as mental. In an Irish school in which History is properly taught, the pupils will learn that they are citizens of no mean country, that they belong to a race that has a noble tradition of heroism, and persistent loyalty to ideals. In such a school no formal exhortation should be necessary to bring home to every pupil the worth of good faith, courage and endurance, and the strong grounds there are for the belief that a race that has survived a millennium of grievous struggle and persecution must possess qualities that are a guarantee of a great future. It is not to be understood from this that the teacher of History should confine his teaching to sublime examples of patriotism, courage, self-sacrifice and devotion to noble ideals: there is a danger that if he confines himself to such aspects of history he may fail to inculcate in his pupils the lessons it also conveys for the conduct of ordinary life. Everyday life offers opportunities for the exercise of important civic virtues, and to a ‘good' teacher, while directing the minds of the children to the more dramatic events in the lives of the various leaders of the nation, will not fail to lead them also to admire those who served Ireland in humbler ways. History will indeed have failed in one of its chief aims if it does not bring home to the minds of the pupils the great truth that the ordinary people of Ireland who do their daily work faithfully, and thus by their labour benefit the country, are also good patriots.
While aiming at developing a sane and reasoned patriotism the teacher should also take care that there is no distortion of the facts of history nor any deliberate suppression of facts derogatory to national pride. Irish history has been much distorted by those who wrote from the enemy's standpoint. Such writers had to attempt to justify conquest and expropriation. They had to depict the Irish as a very perverse people, who wickedly resisted the gifts of culture and civilisation, which a kindly conqueror sought to bestow upon them. Distortions of this kind have still to be combated, but the most effective method of doing so is not a similar distortion of history in our own favour, but the setting forth of the simple truth. Here again, however, the teacher is faced with considerable difficulties, since it is not easy to give a truthful picture of other times. To give a true picture of former times, the teacher must acquire a sense of historical perspective. Without such a sense it will he difficult for him to avoid the tendency to judge the men and institutions of distant epochs by standards that are entirely inapplicable to them. It would, for instance, give a misleading idea of history if a teacher viewed solely from a modern standpoint the failure of mediaeval chiefs to think nationally. When he shows that a king or "clan" frequently put personal or local ambitions or jealousies before the interests of Ireland as a whole, and so often failed to present a united front to the Norse or the English, it will also be necessary for him to point out that nationalism is a political force of comparatively modern growth, that the idea of national, centralized governments has developed only since the Middle Ages and that mediaeval chiefs should not be treated as if they were modern statesmen, and condemned merely because their ideas were not in advance of their time.
The Teacher’s Reading
It will be evident from the above statement of the aims of History teaching and of the difficulties that lie in the path of the teacher that there is no subject for which the teacher requires a wider knowledge. Breadth of view and sanity of judgment are essential, and these can only be acquired by reading standard books on the great issues of History. In many cases the teaching of History is vitiated by imperfect knowledge and a narrow outlook, because the teacher has confined his reading to elementary text-books, sometimes written by quite incompetent persons, and often containing views that in the light of recent research must be considered obsolete. The teacher should know much more than he actually imparts in his lessons. He must be able to select and discriminate. The wider his reading, the better will be his judgment as to how much he should retain for school purposes and how much he should omit, the better will he be able to trace connections between things that at first sight may seem far apart, the keener will be his critical faculties in appraising the wisdom of policies, laws, and institutions. Perhaps in no subject is it so true to say that the teacher must be always a student.
A teacher who prepares himself by the study of the various periods in the works of such acknowledged authorities on particular phases or periods as MacNeill, Butler, Alice Stopford Green, etc., can hardly fail to arouse in the pupils a deep interest and a faculty for viewing events in their proper perspective. If enthusiasm and conviction are combined with wide reading, the effect on the pupils may be very great.
Selection Of Matter To Be Taught
While it is essential that the teacher should have an extensive knowledge of, and a keen interest in, history, these alone will not produce satisfactory results. The teacher must be able to select from his own store of knowledge the portions that will interest children and can be assimilated by them. To the mature student of history it is the growth of institutions, social conditions as affected by political development, great struggles due to the conflict of religious or political opinions or economic conditions that form the most valuable material for historical study. Such issues, however, can only imperfectly be grasped by children, and while the teacher should understand that his ultimate aim is to put the child in a position to appreciate the important bearings of historical movements, he can best do this, in the early stage, by arousing the child's interest through stories of the heroic or romantic exploits of the national heroes of legend and semi-history.
As the child grows older this introductory method should gradually give way to more definite historical treatment, but the material must still be presented in vivid and striking narrative, and appeal made to the child's love of the heroic, even at the risk sometimes of giving the impression that history is concerned absolutely with the deeds of great men and women. At this stage the history lesson should have definite continuity. Even in the highest standards of primary schools, however, it is not possible to expect any deep grasp of real historical issues. It will be sufficient if the pupils are enabled to follow in a very simple way, the gradual development of civilisation from remote times to the present day, using the chief events as rungs of an ascending ladder.
The present programme does not prescribe formal teaching of History before fifth standard, but in note 8, page 29, it is stated that incidental conversation and composition lessons dealing with stories, legends, biographies or scenes from Irish history, especially from local history, should be given, and it is also recommended on page 33 that a simple History Reader in story-form be used. The intention is to provide some informal introductory lessons on history. In addition to this, it is desirable that the Readers of both junior and middle standards should contain some stories from our old Heroic literature, especially from the Red Branch and Ossianic cycles. These stories belong to the dawn of history, and when told in a vivid. manner should prove of great interest to children. Irish children should read much of this material, but the earnest teacher will never wait for children to learn such stories through cold print; they were composed, not for reading, but for narration by the seanchaí and the teacher should play the part of a seanchaí and tell the stories to the children before they read the lessons. Teachers who cultivate the faculty of telling such stories vividly and dramatically will find that its frequent exercise will give them a most valuable influence over the children.
Another very important method of inspiring in children a love for history is the use of poems and ballads. Poems or ballads not only crystallize historical knowledge, but they make an emotional appeal to youth such as is beyond the power of prose. The teacher should make a careful selection, giving a preference to those of local interest. The poems should be learnt by heart and the pupils trained to recite them with spirit and vigour; this will give colour and vividness to the work and fix firmly in the memory the events related. Several volumes of historical ballads are now available at popular prices, and if a teacher, immediately after having dealt with some historical epoch, gets his pupils to read and perhaps memorize one or two poems dealing with incidents occurring in it, he will have forged the natural link between history and literature. This type of literature, being narrative and dramatic, is the type that appeals most to pupils of from 12 to 15 years.
To understand the place of our ballad literature in the history course, we must keep in mind that the Irish poet was a most powerful agent in keeping alive and transmitting the spirit of Irish nationality. Long before the spirit of nationality developed on the continent of Europe, Irish poets sang of an Ireland that was one, of "Banba", of the “Men of Éireann", of "the Gael", and later personified their country under such names as "Roisín Dubh" and "Caitlín Ni Uallacháin". "Let me make a people's songs, and I care not who make their laws."
One of the chief defects in Irish education of a generation ago was that it took little account of the environment of the pupils and concerned itself less with this country than it did with England or Scotland or India. For instance, pupils were taught the heights of the Andes Mountains and the lengths of rivers in distant continents, but they did not know the height of their own school site above sea level nor the source of local streams or rivers; they were taught the population of many cities but not that of their native village or county. The introduction of history into the programme, about a quarter of a century ago, did something to remedy this defect, since the course dealt chiefly with Irish History. Even then, unfortunately, the general history of the country was rarely linked with that of the locality of the school. Most of the pupils heard of historical happenings as something afar off, something that had never affected the lives of the people in their own parish or county. Teachers themselves were often quite uninformed regarding local events and the local repercussions of movements of national importance. This attitude towards local history is not yet dead. Even to-day, for instance, pupils with Norman surnames may be found who live beside the walls of Norman castles and yet have never heard that the Norman Invasion penetrated into their district. Where such ignorance prevails it is fairly certain that the teaching of national history has been done vaguely and abstractly. To a pupil of primary school age such abstract teaching is of little use, and the proper teaching of local history is one of the best correctives. In each period under review, the associations, where there are such, of local with national history should be stressed. Prominence should be given to battles, leaders and incidents of local celebrity. The word "local" should of course be interpreted in a broad sense. Naturally the child will be more interested in the things that happened in the immediate neighbourhood of the school and the home than in matters farther afield, but the parish, the diocese, the county, the old territory, as it was under the Gaelic system, sometimes even the province, may be regarded as, in a way, "local".
Every piece of local history not only arouses local pride and serves as an illustration of some phase in the general history of the country, but also helps, as no mere mention of a date can do, to give some idea of the period in which the event referred to happened, by stimulating interest and enthusiasm. A local "rath" or "crannóg" tells vividly how early settlers protected themselves. A "dolmen" or standing stone or burial mound tells of the respect that the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages folk had for their dead chiefs. Stone axes, flint arrow heads and bronze weapons discovered in the district vivify the knowledge of the Stone and Bronze Ages already acquired. Again there is scarcely a district in Ireland that does not preserve some remains of the early Christian period. The name of the patron saint of the parish, an old church or churchyard named after an early saint who was probably its founder, places and holy wells named after saints, all these provide material for lessons, and every effort should be made to collect any local legends concerning such matters, even though these cannot be regarded as definitely historical. The very scantiness of the remains from the early monastic period will give the teacher an opportunity to explain clearly why we have few remains of the early Irish monasteries. These were generally formed of wooden huts around a central church, and naturally the material was very perishable. On the other hand, the existence of the round towers built of stone in Norse times and usually adjacent to the old monastic buildings can be used to throw into strong relief the perils connected with monastic life in the Norse period. Again, the great monastic foundations of the foreign Orders—Cistercian, Dominican, Franciscan, etc.—where there are such in the locality, will naturally lead a teacher not only to seek information as to when the local monastery was built and in what circumstances, but also to obtain some general information about the history of the Order in question. This, in its turn, will help him to give interesting local colour to the story of the suppression of the monasteries by Henry VIII and of the vicissitudes in the religious struggles during the succeeding reigns. Similarly, an old, castle may be made to yield much information. When, by whom, and why was it built? Did it change hands? Was it a fortress, or only a residence? Such questions rouse the interest of the pupils as no mere book lessons can do. The ruins become still more interesting if they are visited by the pupils and examined at first hand. In order to make such visits really fruitful all available documentary and traditional knowledge should be collected beforehand, and after full discussion of all the topics arising from the visit, the whole matter should. be thoroughly worked through as an essay or series of essays.
Coming to more recent, times, local stories of Rapparees, Whiteboys, or of those who played a part in the 98 period, may survive in the locality. In Wexford the traditions of the '98 period are still vivid. Legends of the penal days survive in many places. A Mass rock or Mass garden tells its own story of those days.
It is hardly necessary to point out that the foundation of all teaching of local history should be, where possible, the history of the Gaelic people who originally inhabited the territory. The, names of the great Gaelic chiefs should be known; the extent of their territory, and when and how their rule came to an end should be explained. This will lead naturally to the history of those who replaced them and to the story of how conquest and confiscation affected their lands and their people. The story should go on to tell of what became of their descendants. If they distinguished themselves on "far foreign fields", such achievements should be dealt with. The struggle for the land in more recent times may have been marked by events of some local significance. Reference should be made to such events.
Any local song or poem in Irish or in English, which commemorates some event in local history, should he learned by heart, and the allusions it contains explained, even when it is of little literary merit.
Earnest teachers will endeavour to procure, either by purchase or loan, books that deal with local history, but as some of these books are rare and expensive, the most a teacher can do is to borrow them and make useful notes and extracts. There is much material in the annals and such works, but books of this kind are not easily procurable. Local newspapers sometimes make a point of giving accounts of notable historical happenings in the locality, of reprinting portions of rare books and of giving references in the annals to local events. Teachers should cut out and preserve such information.
It is most desirable that a number of teachers in a locality should form among themselves study groups to search out all the historical lore obtainable regarding this particular area, whether such area be a parish, a barony, or an old territory. Such co-operation would prove very interesting and, apart from its vivifying influence on history-teaching, might lead to valuable historical research in the unexplored by-ways of our history.
Equipment And Method Of Using It
As has already been stated the fundamental preparation for the teaching of history is the continuous study of the best historical works, a living interest on the part of the teacher in the history and antiquities of the locality and a careful selection beforehand of the material to be presented to the children from this store of knowledge. If this preparation has been made, the arrangement of notes for the particular lessons will be an easy matter, since in planning a suitable yearly scheme the lessons will fall almost automatically into their proper place. The following detailed suggestions on method are, therefore, merely supplementary and are intended rather as a help to inexperienced teachers than as rules for teaching, since every good teacher will gradually evolve his own individual methods of approach to the subject.
(a) Equipment.—A certain minimum of equipment is necessary for the proper teaching of history, but it is chiefly of a sort that the teacher can make or provide at little cost. Every history teacher should make for himself on millboard or other black material a good-sized outline map of Ireland, the coastline, rivers and mountains alone being shown in permanent colouring. This map will be of use in teaching both History and Geography and in showing the relations between these two subjects. In tracing the events of any period it will also be helpful if the teacher marks with chalk the position of different places referred to. When a period has been fully treated, these markings can be deleted and the map will serve for similar treatment of the next period. It is desirable to keep separate maps to illustrate special periods and to serve for revision purposes. Sheets of black paper (muraline sheets) adaptable to this purpose are easily procured. Maps on muraline sheets can be made, and preserved. One of these might show the position of the great schools of Ireland's Golden Age, another the extent of the Norse settlements, another the Norman settlements, others the Gaelic territories at different periods, the areas of the chief confiscations, etc. A number of these muraline sheets fastened together on a roller should be always at hand for revision lessons. The teacher might insist that the students keep special notebooks in which these maps should be copied on one page and the leading facts connected with the subject briefly noted on the opposite page.
In many countries historical pictures are considered indispensable for history teaching, and a great range of helpful pictures is available. In this country we have not such a wide selection from which to choose, but there are some pictures of famous Irish leaders which should be found on the wails of all schools, and there is a number of reproductions of various scenes in Irish History which would be a valuable aid. The enthusiastic teacher will manage to amass in various ways a considerable collection of illustrations. Picture postcards or little photographs of, say, a Norman castle, will give the pupils a vivid idea of the Norman system of warfare and of how incastellation made it easy for the Normans to conquer and hold a flat country before the invention of gunpowder. Postcards of Cormac's Chapel, Boyle Abbey, the Tara Brooch, the Ardagh Chalice, the Cross of Cong, and illustrations from the Book of Kells, etc., will make realistic for children the great skill of the Irish in certain of the arts before the coming of the Normans. Postcards or photographs of old castles, of abbeys or other remains in the home district or the home county can easily be obtained for every school, and, if suitably grouped and pasted on cardboard they can be used not only to illustrate the history lessons, but if hung on the school walls can themselves become an ever-present history lesson.
Charts made by the teacher showing graphically the chief periods and the dates of a few of the most important events are very valuable aids in bringing home to the pupils the main features in the growth of Irish history.
In addition to charts and pictures every school with a fairly large senior division should have a small library of text-books and books of reference for historical study. Historical fiction and biographies of famous men should be well represented, since these are powerful aids in creating a taste for history, particularly in the minds of the young.
(b) Method.—Every good teacher will have his own particular method of opening up the history lessons, but most teachers find it helpful to begin the lesson by asking one or two questions on, or making appropriate reference to, something already learned, and forming from this a suitable link with the new material. It is, of course, always very desirable to have at hand a blackboard and a map, preferably an outline map of the type already mentioned.
When the teacher has stated clearly the subject of the new lesson and has made certain that the pupils have grasped it he should proceed to narrate with reasonable slowness, with clearness and vividness the matter of the lesson, pausing now and again to ask a question to ascertain if his pupils are following him with interest and understanding. Now and again he may have to depart from the main stream of his narrative to explain some necessary reference to a person or place, but as a rule digression should be avoided. The teacher should, however, occasionally stop and ask one or two pupils to repeat some telling statement that adds special strength or vividness to the story. Phrases such as, "With the sword I won them; with the sword I will keep them", "If all Ireland cannot rule him, he shall rule all Ireland", "Sarsfield is the word and Sarsfield is the man", can be used to give dramatic effect to the story. If one lesson is insufficient to deal fully with the matter some suitable point should be selected at which to stop without too abrupt a break in the story. As a rule, the narrative should be brought to a close at least five minutes before the end of the class period in order to give time for recapitulation. The recapitulatory questions should not be such as can be answered in one or two short sentences. Each of the pupils should be required to give some of the story as a connected narrative much as the teacher himself gave it. This is a valuable training in oral expression, and the teacher should attend carefully to the style of speaking and to the accuracy of the language used by the pupils. During his exposition the teacher will have noted concisely on the blackboard the leading points of the lesson, and during the recapitulation the pupils should be allowed to consult the blackboard notings to assist their memory in giving the sequence of events. It may require two or more lessons of this kind to treat fully the matter of one historical event or period, but when the ground has been completely covered, there should be a general recapitulation of the whole, and this should be followed by an exercise in written composition, either a summary of the whole; or a fuller treatment of a portion of the subject.
While vivid oral narration assisted by all realistic means available—pictures, maps, and blackboard exposition—is the proper method of teaching History in primary schools there is room for a good text-book also. The book should be one that is clearly and brightly written and well illustrated. The pupils should be required to read, either as a home lesson or as a silent study in school, the chapter dealing with the subject last taught in class, and from time to time their task should be to revise the earlier portions of the book and to answer questions on such revision study.
While there is a place in good teaching for the use of a text-book it is necessary to stress the point that no skilful teacher will confine his oral instruction to the matter of the pupils' text-book, or allow the text-book to dominate his instruction. Above all no good teacher will turn the history lesson into a mere reading lesson. The teachers who follow this dull and lethargic method cannot be considered as teaching History in any real sense of the word.
As the pupils advance in knowledge of History they will, of course, be able to use text-books to an extent that would not be possible at an earlier stage. Pupils in seventh and eighth standards, for instance, can be trained in the definite reading of text-books, and should be taught to make use of the school library, or of such books as the teacher may lend from his own library, or as can be procured from a public library. The teacher in a small school has not much time to devote to the few pupils that he may have in these classes, but he should be able to afford a few minutes now and again to direct their studies, or to examine them on a task or problem that he has already set them to solve. Pupils in these advanced classes should be trained to make notes and to compare the accounts of the same events given by different authors. They should have special note-books for History and the training should be so directed that the pupils will learn to study without help, and develop a taste for the pursuit of knowledge. Such pupils might be allowed to work in collaboration if the teacher takes adequate precautions to see that they do so profitably. Above all, the teacher should aim at cultivating among these pupils a taste for historical reading.
(c) Revision.—Frequent revision of History is most important, since no matter how effective the presentation of the lesson may have been, the impression made will tend to become blurred. Such revision may be given from time to time as part of the home-work, and, if followed up on the following day by systematic questioning, will be found to be very valuable. Towards the end of each term there should be a general revision of the work done in the term, and towards the end of the school year there should be a similar review of the year's course.
It is desirable that these general revisions should not follow too closely the lines of the original presentation. Close adherence to the lines of the first presentation may result in the dulling of the interest of the pupils and thus lead to the failure of the revision work to recall and deepen effectively the first impressions. Accordingly an effort should be made to introduce some variety into the revision lessons, and questions should be put to the class that will demand more effort than mere power of recall. Topics may be given for class discussion there and then, or they maybe set for home study and for class discussion subsequently. They should be given as far as possible in such a way as to enable the pupils, when working over the matter of the original lessons, to view it from a different angle. This can be done in a variety of ways that will help to keep the interest of the pupils aroused. A favourite method is the use of contrast and comparison between well-known historical personages. If, for instance, pupils are asked to name the character of their history course whom they admire most, or dislike most, to defend their choice and to meet objections urged by fellow pupils or by the teacher, they will be much more interested in their work. A more difficult form of contrast is that between the characters, methods, tactics and policies of outstanding men such as, e.g., Brian Boru and Malachy, whom he deposed, Hugh O'Neill and Shane O'Neill, Hugh O'Neill and Red Hugh O'Donnell, Owen Roe O'Neill and Preston, Davis and O'Connell, etc. A further method by which variety and interest can be secured in revision work is the grouping of the various events in a different order from that in which they were presented in the previous lessons, e.g., instead of dealing with the various wars and confiscations which brought about the transfer of the land of Ireland from native owners to alien owners, as events belonging each to its own period, these might be dealt with as a group. Similarly the different Acts of Parliament and popular movements that undid the confiscations and made the tenant owner of the soil can be treated as a group, and the teacher can treat as a unit all the movements, constitutional and revolutionary, for Irish freedom from the first invasion until to-day.
Indeed one of the things in which the good history teacher excels is his capacity for seeing events constantly from new points of view, his power of contrast and comparison, and his ability to make clear to his pupils the manner in which historical personages and events fall into different groups according to the angle from which they are approached.
The Language Medium In History Teaching
The history of Ireland is the history of the various peoples who inhabited Ireland ever since the first advent of man to our shores, but it is more particularly the study of the Gaelic race and Gaelic civilisation, and of the resistance of that race and civilisation for a thousand years to foreign domination, whether Norse, Norman or English. The Irish language was perhaps the most powerful of all the influences that saved our people from defeat and absorption by alien forces in that long struggle. It is still a very powerful influence in preserving national continuity, and for this, if for no other reason, it is most fitting that it should be the language used in our schools to teach history.
In the majority of our schools there are undoubtedly, at the moment, great difficulties in the way of using Irish as the sole medium of instruction in the History classes. The teaching of History demands a greater and more varied vocabulary than the teaching of perhaps any other subject. The teacher is often dealing with things remote from the experience of the child, and it is necessary to work on his imagination so that he may get fair clear pictures of incidents in bygone epochs. Consequently, the pupil needs to have made considerable progress in Irish before he can follow History instruction in that language with profit, since real interest in history is not excited, nor can appeal be made to the imagination, if one is constantly struggling with linguistic difficulties. While, however, this means that at present English has to be used to a great extent in the teaching of, history in schools in which the pupils have made only moderate progress in the Irish language, there is no reason why Irish should not be used to a great and increasing extent in all schools in which the pupils know some Irish. There is, for instance, no reason why a blackboard summary in Irish of the leading points of the lesson should not be given in such schools, and oral revision questions in Irish asked. The pupils might write out the blackboard summaries at a convenient time and commit them to memory. All names of Irish leaders and of places in Ireland should, as a matter of course, be given in Irish. This would not be teaching history through the medium of Irish, but it would be the next best thing and would be a transition method leading naturally and gradually to the use of Irish alone at a later stage.
There are, of course, various other methods of introducing Irish: a partial medium of instruction in schools in which it cannot yet be used to the full. Some good teachers, for example, in schools where the pupils have not, yet a sufficient mastery of the language to do all the History work through Irish, teach the more difficult lessons in English and simpler portions in Irish, and supplement their instruction by getting the pupils to read a short text-book in Irish. They question the pupils thoroughly in Irish and use Irish almost always at revision lessons. This is quite a good plan, provided that the text-book is a well-written one. Many other methods will suggest themselves to teachers who wish to associate the Irish language and Irish history as they ought to be associated.
The organisation and grouping of the pupils for History teaching presents a certain amount of difficulty. In large schools, where there is a teacher for every standard, there is the question as to whether the teaching of History should be done by the class teacher in each class separately or whether the teacher who best qualified in History should have charge of History in all the upper standards. Both methods have their advantages. For instance, if the specialist teacher method is applied there is disadvantage that the teacher has not the opportunity of correlating his instruction with the work in the other subjects such as geography, literature and written composition. In such schools the principal teacher will have to weigh the merits and defects of each plan with regard to the circumstances.
In smaller schools the difficulty is of quite another type, being due to the small staff available and to the consequent need to combine classes for the History lesson. In the average two-teacher school the normal arrangement would be that standards V and VI should be grouped for History lessons. If there are some pupils in higher standards they should be given some historical matter to study independently, though for revision work they might occasionally be taken with standards V and VI. The teacher may, however, consider it more judicious to group standards VI and VII. If so, he should arrange to give at least one half-hour lesson to each group in the week; and during the period when one group is under oral instruction the other should be engaged in silent study of text-books. The more usual plan will be that first suggested. If that is adopted, the teacher should teach, during one year the programme detailed for standard V, and during the succeeding year he should teach the matter laid down for standard VI. This will ensure that the pupils of both sections of the group will have fresh matter each year, and that the pupils who pass through standard VI will know the elements of the country's story from the earliest times to the present day.
The document continues with Notes On The
Treatment Of Some Topics In Irish History, intended as
a guide for inexperienced teachers until such time as they are able to
draw up a suitable skeleton programme of their own. And there is an Appendix
of sources. DA]
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