What’s so bad about Blackadder?

Languages and humanities
What's so bad about Blackadder in history lessons? What's so bad about a little laughter in the classroom? Psychologist Karen Sullivan says it can actually have a positive impact on student outcomes.

I am beginning to suspect that if Mr Gove gets his way, the classroom will become a deeply boring, factory-chicken sort of affair. History, we are now told, should be taught with a straight face and avoid the “left-wing myths that belittle Britain” and “denigrate patriotism”. The First World War was serious stuff and should be portrayed as such. Mr Gove appears to be lacking something of the classic British sense of humour on this occasion; what’s more, if you ask me, he’s missing a trick.

First and foremost, so what if Blackadder is not strictly accurate? It’s funny, it’s certainly an introduction to the subject of the First World War (and more), and it provides enormous scope for discussion. As a tool it can be used to engage students and also offer a point of comparison. Does art mimic life? What is the reality? 

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