“Why do we have to do this stuff?”
It’s a refrain which teachers are used to, and most of us have got our answers ready. Rather than reach for a philosophical defence of the study of history I tend to opt either for the totalitarian answer (“because the Government, or the school you attend, says it’s mandatory”) or for the free-market answer (“because you opted to do it”).
But that’s not what this Fifth Form pupil meant. “You’re just teaching us this stuff [the collectivisation of Soviet agriculture under Stalin] so that we think that socialism is bad.”
Well, I answered, if you think I’ve told you any lies, then do say so; if not, would you prefer me to tell you some?
He sighed. “It’s just propaganda though isn’t it? Socialism is bad. Every lesson. I bet you could teach us a load of stuff to say that socialism…
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