We are a group of age 13-17 year olds from various schools in York. We’re currently taking part in an ISSP course and we are focusing on history and journalism. We are doing this in conjunction with the school in Berlin; The Philipp-Melanchthon School which we have kept in contact with using the site www.radiowaves.co.uk/yorkissp which was enabled us to view each other’s blogs and stories, as well as allowing us to take part in polls. The website was especially useful for uploading and sharing video’s of interviews with members of the public. Both members of the school in the Berlin and ourselves were able to make comments on our work as well as other visitors to the site. This has all being in aid of coming to the conclusion of our ‘BIG-question’: ‘What 5 things should all European students be taught about in school about history in the 20th century.’ To help us with the aspect of journalism with answering this question, David Matthews, a journalist in training from London came up to York and interviewed us for a report in the Times Education Supplement. As a bonus he also gave us tips on how to be good journalists. The views that we have received from the general public have ranged from ‘global warming’ and ‘microwaves’ to the obvious suggestions of the world wars and communism. At the beginning of the course our views on the ‘BIG-question’ were WW1, Women in Britain, The Fall of the Berlin Wall, Developments in Technology and The Cold War. All of these ideas were mentioned by different people that we interviewed in York Railway Station using flip cameras. Sadly it was noticeable that many people who we would consider middle-aged struggled to say anything more than the two world wars, more over they panicked at the start of the interview. However it soon became clear that they those who had experienced events or allowed themselves more time to think came up with original suggestions such as ‘The Motor Car’, ‘The Beatles’ and the benefit of the EU allowing the first lady that we interviewed to be able to work in different countries with ease. It was clear to see that the younger generation wanted to study aspects of history in the 20th century that are still effective now; most prevalent was the Israel Palestine conflict. This was especially clear in our group discussion following our trip to the railway station. Furthermore it was clear that in general people our age felt that they lacked understanding and knowledge of the Israel Palestine conflict and therefore that it should be taught to all European students. Though we think that WW1 has dramatically affected the 20th century, our views on the ‘BIG-question’ have altered in some ways. As a group we decided on our top 5 answers to the question which are: The EU and the relationships between different members, The Holocaust, The Israel/Palestine Conflict, Inter War years (1919-1939) and Powered Flight (and the arms between the USSR and the USA). Attention must be paid to the fact that we now include the EU in our list, this ties in with the answers given by the German students and a few of the people that we interviewed. The German students included the EU straight away possibly due to their nation’s more positive membership of it; this was highlighted by a teacher at the German school in response to one of our blogs. Another aspect that changed our views was that with hearing other people’s viewpoints new ides emerged that we hadn’t considered before, such as ‘Powered Flight’. The wider issues that we had to think about with our ‘BIG-question’ was the fact that we had to remember that it was for all European students. This instantly ruled out some ideas that we got from people that were typically British things such as, ‘The Beatles’, which although they had fans all over Europe their heritage is restricted to Britain, and cannot be considered relevant enough for all European students to study. Finally we must consider the significance of the historical events in today’s society, their legacy can be used to measure this, especially in the cases of ‘Powered Flight’ and ‘The Inter-War Years’ this is due to the vast globalization that was induced by powered flight and total war that developed in the inter-war years. We would like all those who have any political influence on education to take note of our suggestions and the views that we have found because we believe that ordinary people especially students, like ourselves, can provide the list of things that should really be on the curriculum for all European students.
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