When I last taught history in HE, which must be about 3 years ago now – we had to do this … in many ways I think it’s useful to determine ‘transferable skills’, but also important to note that it’s taking away from other potential teaching time:
First-year history students at my university take a course titled Making History that teaches them about historical research and writing.
It comprises 20 twice-weekly lectures, given by various colleagues, on broad topics such as historiography, periodisation, causation, primary sources and reading critically, and 10 weekly seminars applying those topics to particular historical subjects – the American Revolution in my case.
This year, though, one seminar required students to “prepare three things: a CV; a paragraph identifying its weaknesses; an action plan for how you are going to address these weaknesses”.
Seeing these instructions, it struck me how far the “employability agenda” has progressed – to the point that it is now claiming time on syllabi at the expense of academic subjects and inculcating market values at the expense of free and critical thinking.
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