Seeking New Perspectives


We’ve all heard the line “those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”, probably to the point of pain…but it as apt now as it ever has been. This is where William S. Lind and Co fall on their collective butts: in only taking those parts of history that suit their argument, they promote false learning and false learning is not learning. That’s what’s wrong with 4GW and the other models that purport to prove that what is now is new.

This blog caught my eye in the WordPress ‘Latest Updates’ list: a young (12 in ’89 so, yes, still young)  lady, Damiella, is publishing excerpts from her 80s diary, and offering a perspective from 20 years on in The Diary Project. Reading it, I was immediately taken back to my own Form 2 year and all the trials and tribulations of a 12 year old – that alone made the journey to this blog well worthwhile. On another level, it is interesting to see, through Damiella’s commentary, how those issues that seemed so mega then just raise a wry smile now.

Perhaps we might want to conduct this activity ourselves on both personal and historical levels to help give us a better handle on who we are now and the world we live in…how many would be prepared, even with a bit of judicious editing and pruning, to reveal their teen joys, angsts and trials to the world? Something to think about – it is possible that we learning from history can also apply at the personal level, that we can perhaps see that our issues were not ours alone and that, in fact, we might actually have been quite normal teens…

On a similar vein, we can not learn from history if we have no knowledge of history. UK commentator, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, has some thoughts on the apparent reinvigoration of history curriculums in the UK. Not only do we have to do it, we have to do it properly without bias and partiality. We need to be able to discuss the dark with the good, the heights and the troughs of human activity so that new generations will be armed to make better, more informed decisions and resist the myopic me, me, me siren call of the 21st Century.

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