In an article entitled »The Problem of Basic Subject-Matter in History« causes are examined as to why the textbooks in history for the 6th, 7th and 8th grade of general educational schools constitute an excessive burden for the pupils. On the basis of the shortcomings revealed, a way is suggested for the selection and elaboration of basic subject-matter.
In reviewing the textbooks for individual grades, the author devotes one chapter to each grade. In each chapter she gives a brief criticism of the general conception and elaboration of the textbook and analyses a subject-matter unit to be dealt with in one class period. At the same time she mentions the results attained by pupils, found out by means of regular listenings-in, instruction, oral and written tests. On the basis of her research she comes to the conclusion that the main causes why children are overburdened are the following:
1. The endeavour to present to the pupils history classified in detail into individual social-historical periods (esp. the period of feudalism).
2. This conception, which involves above all a correct interpretation of the economic laws governing the respective historical periods, compels the textbookwriters to include abstract conclusions and theories at the expense of a simple narration of historical facts.
3. A detailed classification into periods makes it impossible to present the interdependence of our history with world history in such a way as to make it intelligible for children. And this is impossible on account of unequal historical development in various countries.
Upon the whole, the textbook material is not fitted to the pupils’ age. The system, which is to organize the knowledge of history in the pupils* minds, is incomprehensible and unsuited to children of eleven or twelve. When determining the basic subject-matter it is necessary to avoid the above-mentioned mistakes and see that the pupils have, for the organization of their pieces of knowledge, a solid basis in geographical and chronological notions so as to be able to understand simple facts concerning the interdependence in the development of world history and that of our country.