The article is an extract from a chapter designed to be a part of a major work on the selection of basic subject-matter in history at Eight-Year General Educational Schools. The purpose of this work is to show how to eliminate from history textbooks unfruitful items which unnecessarily burden the pupils' memory. The chapter on the didactic problems of history teaching in the light of history as a science is to help find progressive traditions to be followed up in solving the question of suitability of the subject-matter to the pupils' age.
The author investigates the teaching of history in the Czech lands from the second half of the last century (in Elementary Schools and Junior High Schools). The function of history teaching at these schools was naturally different from its present-day function, it proceeded from a different conception of history as a science. Its unofficial function was the promotion of Czech national revival, which was furthered by patriotic teachers.
Official history teaching solved the question of suitability of the subject-matter to the pupils' age by selecting anecdotic narratives about rulers, by selecting interesting items of history, by presenting the suject-matter in the style of story-telling.
By the end of the last and the beginning of this century patriotic teachers fought vigorously for the introduction of Czech history into the school curriculum. At the same time a progressive didactic tradition was taking shape, especially in Elementary Schools (with eight-year attendance). Particularly L. Horák succeeded in making the curriculum of the subject-matter in such a way as to be suited to the pupils’ age, teaching them to see a concrete picture of the historical past in simple, .mutually connected stages of development. In three or four cycles he proceeds .from the concrete to the general, from the hear to the distant. Czech history forms the basis of cyclical curriculum-making. The first cycle covers history based on historical monuments of material culture, as far as possible from the pupils’ neighbourhood. In the following cycles the subject-matter is extended to the nation and homeland, state and empire, and finally to the history of mankind. From the field of historical řnonuments of material culture. Horák proceeds in cycles, by way of social relations, to ideology.
The didactic treatment is not formal, he respects the historical science of his time.