Teacher thinking

Recent research found that ‘the potentially sensitive nature of teaching about the recent past meant that some teachers were reluctant to teach certain topics, in particular those relating to the Troubles’ (Bell et al, 2010). Could this reluctance relate to the fact that teachers’ also struggle with “internally persuasive dialogues” that requires them to take a purely academic stance, one that may not be emotionally congruent with their own underlying beliefs and community orientation? After all, teachers’ thinking has also been influenced by the same religious and sectarian strife and strong family and community identities as their students. History teachers in particular are exercised by the perceived constraints of the subject’s methodology and the fear of being accused of trying to socially engineer pupil perspectives by too strong a correlation between past and present.