More than fifth of British teenagers think Winston Churchill was a fictional character.
This is from a recent poll of 3,000 teenagers by a British TV channel. Here are some of the other results.
- 65% said King Arthur was real
- 58% thought Sherlock Holmes was real
- 51% assumed Robin Hood was real
- 47% believed Eleanor Rigby from the Beatles song was a real person
- 47% also figured King Richard the Lionheart was fictional
- 27% labeled Florence Nightingale as a made up nurse
I’m unsure what to make of this (they’re all wrong by the way). I encourage participants in the Hero Workshop to learn from any heroes whether they’re real or not, alive or not. So for my hero sensibilities, I’m not too worried. My education sensibilities are a little rattled though. These results would suggest that movies are doing a better job of suggesting historical heroes than the education system. I know history is far from the top of the pile in schools these days as no child is allowed to be left behind… This seems correctable though.
I have some history students reading – what do you think?