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Unique Troubles textbook published for pupils


Unique Troubles textbook published for pupils

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Belfast Telegraph
By Lisa Smyth

A textbook on The Troubles designed for Northern Ireland pupils - believed to be the first of its kind - has been published.

Aimed at pupils aged 13 and 14 who are studying at Key Stage Three level, it is hoped the book Troubled Images will be employed by teachers in secondary schools throughout the province from September.

Based around the Linen Hall Library's world-famous Northern Ireland political collection, the textbook aims to challenge pupils to examine the province's bloody history from a variety of perspectives.

Its author, Dr Gordon Gillespie, a lecturer at Queen's University's Institute of Irish Studies, said that, by undertaking the project, he intended to produce a politically neutral resource for pupils which would help them learn about The Troubles.

"From next term, students will have to learn about The Troubles and I think I have produced a textbook that will help them do this while at the same time invite them to consider events and the history of Northern Ireland from a perspective which may be different from their own," he said.

"I spent about a year compiling it. The book starts in 1968 and, although I wasn't originally meant to, I decided to run it onto the formation of the new Executive in May 2007. There was just so much happening at the time that I thought it would be wrong not to include it in the book.

"Even now when I am lecturing students at Queen's, the first thing many of them remember is the Good Friday Agreement, so to the pupils using this textbook, most of the subject matter will be new to them."

The 88-page glossy publication, published by the Linen Hall Library and Colourpoint Educational books, contains dozens of colour photographs of political posters and cartoons. All are taken from the Troubled Images collection from the Linen Hall's political collection, which has toured the world over the last five years.

There are also extracts from the Belfast Telegraph and other daily newspapers in Northern Ireland which covered the many atrocities, political breakthroughs and stalemates which have occurred in the past four decades.

Dr Gillespie explained: "From my own experience as a lecturer, I know that teaching methods have changed. You can't just give an hour long lecture like you used to. You have to use visual aids as well, which is why the images from the library's collection are so useful in the book."

Linen Hall Library teamed up with Colourpoint Books, which aims to bring books produced specifically to be used by pupils in Northern Ireland, to create the textbook.

Julie Trouton, education editor at Colourpoint Books, said the company was keen to get involved in the library project because it believed the textbook caters for the educational requirements of Key Stage Three pupils.

"They already had the Trouble Images exhibition CD Rom and they wanted to create a resource which could be used by young people and we believe they have done just that," she said.

"A lot of work went into the textbook and hopefully it will appeal to young people with all the activities and questions included in it."



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