back to article British youths think Churchill went to moon

In yet another set of survey results that surely tells us all we need to know about the state of our great nation, British youngsters innocently state that Sir Winston Churchill was the first man to walk on the moon, the Telegraph smirks. Befuddled tykes, aged between four and ten, confused the iconic and eerily baby-faced WWII …

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Unhappy

Just the facts

Er, what else does anybody expect for most 4 to 10 year olds? They probably also believe in Santa Claus and that MPs are honest, upstanding people. Schools are no longer required to teach facts and now we see the results.

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Alien

nextGeneration Thinking

With the number of reported news events throughout history increasing, is it reasonable to expect young minds (4 to 10 as stated) to have a thorough and detailed knowledge of all historical events (and from how many perspectives, for there is never only one, is there?), given the fact that they must also learn so many other things?

The fact that Mr Churchill did not travel to the moon is something which is Easily Corrected at a later date.

And if we take the title literally: ‘British youths think Churchill went to moon’. Then we can deduce that children are thinking, which is encouraging.

The third rate mind is only happy when it thinks with the majority. The second rate mind is only happy when it thinks with the minority. The first rate mind is only happy when it thinks.

And boy, can some children think, I kid you not. :-)

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This is one to take with a LARGE pinch of salt...

I remember the death of Churchill quite clearly - I was ten. I hadn't the foggiest what all the fuss was all about - I had no idea of who he was. Like most kids, I knew we had beaten the Germans in the war and that was about it.

And that was in 1965, when it was still clearly in the memory of most people.

So why on earth the average kid in the street these days should know anything about Winston Churchill between the ages of four to ten, I do not know. If you say to them "Churchill", they are almost bound to think of a jowly dog.

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duh?

when I was 4 I didn't know who Churchill was... I thought he was a dog off the telly.

And why are Disney involved :-/

Market reasearch?

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Boffin

No Comfort For Astronomers Either

"Reassuringly, though, the survey did indicate that children are eager to replace their mental ragbag of Wikipedia-grade unfacts with greater knowledge of astronomy. "

Judging by the terrifying results of this and other surveys of the results of our politically driven (and therefore appalling) educational system, these abandoned and benighted children probably think astronomy is about reading one's horoscope in their household's Daily Redtop.

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we'll fight them on the muthaf**kin beaches, bitch!

quite right too!

being a white, upper class old tory reactionary... and a smoker! - winston churchill hardly conforms to the requirements of today's 'multi-ethnic, multi-faith, feminist, disability-aware' britain, and it's only fit and proper that the 'yoof' of today are spared learning about such a person.

such a poor role model should be kept out of the curriculum, at least until such time as the history books can be 'adjusted' so that 'winnie' becomes a black, wheelchair-bound moslem lesbian, who inspires the british people to victory with his gangsta rap lyrics.

which is probably why disney are involved, in the first place.

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Flame

Well done, an article title

worthy of the currant bun and the daily mail.

Four to ten year olds are youths? I tend to think of youths being a bit older than that.

I'm 54 and you know what, I sure don't remember getting taught about Churchill in primary school.

I do remember a lot of reading, writing, arithmetic and that great Scottish attitude adjuster the tawse

http://www.archivist.f2s.com/cpa/instruments/scotsbelt.htm

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Unhappy

Wrong Group

A more interesting and perhaps more relevant survey would come from testing the big people who teach the little ones. Not just the science and maths teachers but all of them. What kind of example are they setting regarding acceptable levels of lack-of-knowledge?

And while you're at it test the idiots who thought that turning museums into entertainment centres and collections of ooh-ah sound bites was a good idea.

Hell, test the politicians too. Probably wouldn't do much better than 4 year olds.

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Joke

Amateurs

What are kids coming to these days? I learned the quadratic formula while I was still in the womb!

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Bronze badge
Coat

HA!!

35 years ago my brother believed there was no gravity on the moon because there was no air; and my sister believed that Concorde flew at twice the speed of light.

So I am tempted to agree with the above.

The problem is, their parents probably believe Winny was the first man on the moon as well!!!! After all, many of them still believe that MP's are honest; why else would they keep voting Conservative/Labour/Liberal??

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Pirate

Pap

"commissioned by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment" says it all really.

"Befuddled tykes" - Was the survey only undertaken in Newcastle?

AFAIK Primary School children aren't being taught or even given a grounding in science, particularly Astronomy. Science begins at Secondary School.

As none of this relates to IT how about this angle:

My 7 year old, under the guise of ICT, is being "taught" how to use Monopoly Office.

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Alien

But surely...

... everyone knows that the moon landings were faked.

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Go

Not just the kiddies

There are -and always have been - plenty of adults who don't have a clue about history. Moon landings were so long ago that I doubt if many adults can name them - I couldn't and I don't give a toss.

Many adults, though, can tell you the entire history of every character in

Eastenders/Coronation Street/Emmerdale/Neighbours which is really how it is preferred.

History has a nasty habit of coming up and reminding people what really went on instead of the usual official press-release rubbish we are fed.

Churchill should be remembered for both stopping the use of Road Tax funds going directly to roads and for chemical bombing people in Persia back in the 1920's -- history is best for taking the shine off of well-polished turds.

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Aged between four and ten?

Oh, come on, give them a break. If it were teenagers I may be a bit more worried.

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IT Angle

Ease off the kiddies

Hell's tintinnabulations, guys. At 4 I thought the world was flat, wondered if encyclopedias were written by people or just grew, and didn't know what a crane was.

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mm...

so the average reader of this site is what, 30? 40? I bet you knew equally as much about Lloyd George when you were that age...

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Anonymous Coward

Cheap shot?

As far as I can see this is just another big company/establishment organisation claiming that the English are all crap, and that the solution is to bring in hordes of technologists and scientists from abroad, who are supposedly world-beaters, on five pounds per hour.

Maybe the society is pushing for a new form of politically correct science teaching, where kids learn lots of third-rate science, but also to slit their wrists for being English?

C'mon Reg, these surveys are putrid and deserve to pointed out as such. Whatever politicians do, the English consistently produce top scientists and technologists who are admired the world over. Let's ridicule these cheap attempts at Brit bashing.

Do the French or Germans take out surveys aimed at taking the piss out of their own kids?

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Black Helicopters

The kids aren't so dumb

There are adults who believe that Neil Armstrong was on the moon not on a film lot in the desert somewhere. How dumb is that?

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Happy

@Nomen Publicus

Yes, but at least they have their high self esteem, even if it's undeserved.

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Paris Hilton

Pfft.

Surely there is a big difference between what a kid knows at 4 and what they know at 10?

Seems a bit nappy to me. Mind you if we were to stop all this performance target cobblers and teach kids proper like wot I woz then we wouldn't have these vacuous surveys to get riled at.

Paris because she's comfortably adjusted to this age group.

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Alert

About right

There seems to be a correlation between tots and pols here in the States. While a few of either group know the difference between Adam Smith and Yuri Gagarin, nearly all of the people in both are likely to know who Tom Brady and Miley Cyrus are. Given this educational baseline and the way both pols and tots are apt to spend money, it is clear that the least educated become the leaders of future generations.

I, for one, welcome our wee confused overlords.

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Bronze badge

Do they think that Buzz Aldrin was a boxer?

Oh wait, that's not so far off.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOo6aHSY8hU

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Thumb Down

So what...

I'd be more happy kids at that age knowing the difference between right and wrong before knowing who the first person to land on the moon was.

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Paris Hilton

Could be worse

I guess you can be thankful that they at least choose Churchill... These days one wouldn't be suprised if they had thought it was that Gandalf like Wizard from Harry Potter and that the Trojan Wars where fought over some chick from "[ENTER COUNTRY HERE] Next Supermodel".

Ah, at last! I have become the bitter, unfair and hippocritic old man I always wanted to be! Move aside Waldorf and Statler!

The Paris angle is self-explanatory I guess

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Paris Hilton

I would've faked the answers...

Not when I was 4, but not too much longer after that I would've probably intentionally put in false answers.

Perhaps Disney has been punked?

Paris 'cause she might've gotten these questions wrong too.

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Lack of history as well as science

I think this shows more of a lack of teaching history as well as science, which these days is not regarded as beneficial, after all, who wants to be a historian when they grow up... there are many scientists in the making out there.. but who says they need to know what at that age anyway... the idea at that stage is mainly to stimulate an interest in greater learning.

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Anonymous Coward

And you think America is all fouled up?

Wow... Even I can remember almost 30 decades ago, when I was learning about the history of WWII, I was taught about Winston Churchill, and to this very day, believe him to be the greatest leader of the 20th century, period.

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Paris Hilton

In fact, what we want ...

... is a complete ABSENCE of anything remotely smelling like a “fact”.

All we want is complete and total acceptance of “if we tell you black is white, then that's good enough”.

Paris, because she is a shining beacon to all young people. Everywhere.

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@BWS

30 Decades? A decade being ten years...so three hundred years ago? My word you learned of WWII before it happened and you didn't warn us it was coming?! You must have a good anti-aging cream... J/K ;-)

As for the Churchill moon mess up, is it really relevant at age four? Didn't learn in education about the 'war' until secondary school. Well I knew before that as I watched documentaries and learned about it from grandparents etc. How many children today have grandparents who served, probably not many.

@ImaGnuber

What I find shocking is certain friends who are now qualified teachers generally don't know a great deal outside their own bit of the curriculum. Huge amounts of general ignorance going around. One friend was stumped when a primary age child asked where clouds came from...

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Paris Hilton

Earth to Churchill, earth to Churchill.....

I don't see what is so fantastic about kids associating Churchill with moon landings, I really don't. He probably went there to meet The Clangers. It is no more fantastic than believing that man actually landed on the moon and returned home again safely half a dozen times nearly 40 years ago, when they couldn't get the one-shot rocket to work here on earth it apparently worked perfectly every time they needed to lift off from the moonscape.

Britney gets the nod because I need to inject some realism into the argument.

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Flame

Not so bad

That at average age of 7, they recognise the name of a dead politician (who died prob. before their parents were born), and that he was significant in modern history, albeit the wrong event (off by 2 decades).

"Where Churchill was concerned, the association appeared to be with a talking nodding insurance dog"

Well that's hardly suprising, how many times will they have seen the advert vs. watching a history program? Replace TV adverts with short "did you know" style facts?

The history of WWII is usually taught at secondary school level, for good reasons - e.g. I still remember watching footage from the liberation of Belsen and it's not something I'd show to most people under 12 years. Comprehending the background, causes, and after-effects, with analysis, is also beyond most 7 year olds, unless you want reduce it the base level of "goodies" vs "baddies" (which is historially inaccurate).

As for Churchill being a role model, don't forget to teach the history of how Churchill sent the army in to murder striking miners, his role in the general strike of 1926 and how he was resposnible for the f**k-up of Gallipoli in the first world war, etc. (Madra, please drop dead.)

@reg I demand a "Churchill with a green mohawk" icon :-)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1305000/images/_1306023_010501mayday150churchill.jpg

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Paris Hilton

@Anonymous from Mars

You learned the quadratic formula while was still in the womb? That's nothing. I had to teach my own parents about reproduction before I was even conceived!!!

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@bws

"Even I can remember almost 30 decades ago, when I was learning about the history of WWII"

Surely you were learning about the predictions of WWII? Who was your teacher? Nostradamus?

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Coat

@Pheet and the other guy

Churchill may have been a bit of a bastard, but he was our bastard and we won, so shut it. :)

Nice day to you.

Yes, the one with the cigar pocket please...

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@Red Bren

You gave me a good laugh, there... well done, that!

Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if the questions were phrased specifically to give outrageous results:

"In the context of superatmospheric microgravitational navigation, A. Armstrong allegedly is the contextual and generally predominant protagonist in modern media portrayals of lunar perambulation vs. W.Churchill. Is it or is it not the case that this statement has been proven to potentially be true within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act. of 1933?"

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Of course..

If these were American kids, it'd be all hate rants and yammering on about how Americans like to own guns (the fools!) with the skull & bones icon on the posts.

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Pirate

So what?

most people think the thatcher's are human and tony blair wasn't a clone

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Linux

Ahem.

Am I right that Churchill, Hitler and Stalin are now no longer the mandatory figures of 20th century history in British schools? I have read it on BBC, if my memory does not cheat me.

"History does not teach anybody anything. But it cruelly punishes those ones who did not learn the lesson" (c) not me.

Well, the real Brits (I am just alien) may have other opinions, but to me, if I should choose the one and only representative Brit of XX century - it would undoubtedly be Sir Winston Churchill.

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Stop

@Frank Haney

"There are adults who believe that Neil Armstrong was on the moon not on a film lot in the desert somewhere. How dumb is that?"

There are adults who believe that Neil Armstrong was on a film lot in the desert somewhere and not on the moon. How dumb is that?...

i have yet to hear a convincing argument to-date to say the moon landings were faked... and none of thes nubile rantings about mulitiple light sources, no stars in the sky, perfectly framed pictures from chest mounted cameras with no viewfinder.... proper arguments.....

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Boffin

Survey is a push-polling ad

What do you need to get The Register to push Disney's new Power Rangers' DVD? Publish a survey showing that young children don't know stuff that happened before their most of their parents were born.

Surveys are marvellous: they're peanuts to run, you manipulate them to get seemingly outrageous results, and then the media gives you more coverage then you would otherwise be able to afford. The media are now cynical about surveys, which is why you slip a donation to some august but short of cash body to be associated with the survey (sometimes you don't even need to give them money, they'll happily lend their name to efforts to educate the little 'uns if you make the sob story good enough).

Original MR here in full Disney Home Entertainment technicolor:

<http://www.responsesource.com/releases/rel_display.php?relid=37671>

You'll note that there's nothing similar on the RAS site, which suggests that they've just lent their name.

Using the same test adjusted for the older age of El Reg's readership, name the opposing military leaders of the Boer War (no Googling, you in the back row).

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Happy

@Salsero

"Am I right that Churchill, Hitler and Stalin are now no longer the mandatory figures of 20th century history in British schools? I have read it on BBC, if my memory does not cheat me."

Certainly seems that way to me. I was still in school until very recently (ten years! Goes in the blink of an eye) and I don't recall learning a single iota about Churchill then. I mean I did go to a rotten school where we all learned more about arson than astronomy anyway, but still. Even so, we didn't learn anything about any war or indeed much about the solar system until we hit 12 years old - certainly not when we were under 10.

Come to think of it, I don't recall learning _anything_ about notable 20th century figures in school at all apart from the top three Nazis. Also learned sod-all about the moon and had to teach myself how clouds worked.

This has just led me to the disturbing conclusion that I didn't actually really learn anything much in school at all. :[ All those years, wasted! WTH were we doing during them? I couldn't have spent them _all_ writing lines on the bench in the gym for "forgetting" my kit, surely? Suppose it shows the power of the determined autodidact in the end.

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Anonymous Coward

@Neil Greatorex

Hope your not helping your child with geography. Tykes are from Gods Own County - Yorkshire. Last time I checked, folks from Newcastle usually answer to the collective name of Geordies.

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Coat

Churchill Not PC

Churchill made a bit of a mistake becoming MP for Dundee,

A city at the time known for low male employment (unemployed men known as Kettle Billers), high female employment and a bit of a drink problem,

Him for being against universal suffrage.

Strangely he lost his seat, his office and appendix and vowed never to return until grass grew from he pavements.

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Stop

So what?

What are the chances of the survey being a multiple choice type where one of the candidates listed was our own Winston? Some kids, too young to have such knowledge, could well have picked that option at random. Furthermore, we don't actually know what portion of kids picked Winston, was it just one in 100?

I can't be arsed to investigate because it ultimately means nothing!

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Anonymous Coward

@simp

Ah, echoes of the glorious Major government. What actually is the difference between right and wrong, by the way?

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100% of Reg journalists don't know these surveys are useless

Who cares? These surveys are useful for dribble-spattered reactionaries who want to voice their outrage at things being different from how the voices in their head say they should be, and for selling newspapers, and for absolutely nothing else.

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Happy

@Anonymous Coward

"Hope your not helping your child with geography. Tykes are from Gods Own County - Yorkshire."

your <> you're (or even you are.)

Hope _you're_ not helping _your_ child with grammar..... :-)

I accept the correction, (in my defence; I was "tired & emotional") however the OED definition is as follows. Read into it what you will, especially re. the origin :-)

tyke

(also tike)

• noun 1 informal a small child, especially a mischievous one. 2 a dog, especially a mongrel. 3 Brit. informal a person from Yorkshire.

— ORIGIN Old Norse, ‘bitch’.

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Flame

My GOD is this what the Register is for?

For pity's sake!

Is this the Register or the Daily Mail. I have never read such a God-Awful knee-jerk article in all my life. Where are the facts? Where are the stats? What were the actual questions asked? What was the sample size.

Rot, utter rot. I never associated such pathetic rants with the Register, I thought this was an intellectual paper not an electronic rag.

For the record my 6 year old learnt about Neil Armstrong in Reception class. He is now in Year One and knows the name of the monarch at the time of the Great Fire of London and is just going on to cover the World Wars. His grasp of science is on a par or above that of many of the year 10s I teach (adjusted for Piaget's cognitive levels of development) but I may to blame for that. Churchill is associated with the advert dog but ask again in a month or two and he'll be able to talk the hind legs of a whatsit about the blitz, Churchill, the evacuations, rationing and other assorted WWII facts. He already has a good knowledge of the horrors of trench warfare...

...actually, here we go:

"In a recent sample conducted by secondary school teachers it was found that year one pupils can name all of the Doctors, explain the role of gravity in maintaining orbits, can quote the poems of Wilfred Owens, have read all the major works of Roald Dahl, know that acids are corrosive and that pH is related to the free Hydrogen ions in solution, know that Space Pirates and Luna Jim are utter rot as there is no atmosphere to speak of in space or on the Moon, know that a medium is needed to transmit sound, have a solid grasp of anatomy and physiology..." and so on and so on

As factually accurate as the Register article, more so perhaps.

I really did expect more from this website with the science and IT basis that it has.

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Paris Hilton

@ Anthony Zacharzewski

Any ideas how to clean red wine from a keyboard?

I had just taken a sip when I read your comment {:^D.

Paris, as I imagine she's dribble-spattered most of the time.

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Stop

These are kids - it isn't about science or history

I note many posters are commenting on how this shows the poor state of British education (although 4 year olds may well not have even started school), but consider that these are just kids - they are bound to have misconceptions and results like these suggest the kids have been prompted towards particular responses, eg by multiple choice.

I recall a similar survey ~15 years ago asking about well known public figures. When presented with a picture of the then Prime Minister one kid did a lot better than the others by responding:

"That's John Major. He is a member of the public."

OK, that is laughable ignorance. But what does it mean? Nothing. Kids have very little experience of the world outside and need to learn first. That is precisely what we send kids to school for. Politics is one area that children simply do not need to know about until they mature. Science and history, except at the most elementary level, are others.

I recall once when I was a child asking my mother if Arthur Scargill was the Prime Minister. I had no need to know about politics back then but he was a key figure in political coverage of the time. Now I need to be a little more politically aware so I know who he is. Hardly rocket science.

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