Thought I’d pass on this: Active Independent Revision, which I’ve just finished compiling from the suggestions of the very clever staff at Little Heath School. It’s not particularly history specific, though most of the techniques we could use in helping our students prepare for exams at the end of the year.
Hope it is useful for you.
SCHOOLS HISTORY PROJECT CONFERENCE
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I try not to be overtly political on this blog (plenty of space for that on www.podesta.org.uk). But, the condemnation by the History Association of Mr Gove’s move to end AS levels and return to a two year linear A-level has inspired me to re-post this - Michael Gove Ends the Dreams of Thousands – The Historical Association.
Steve Mastin talks a great deal of sense in this article about the lack of a golden age in history teaching, and the fact that 30% take up of GCSE history is actually quite impressive in a crowded options market.
Previously I have not been convinced that compulsory GCSE in history should be imposed on schools, but I’m willing to be persuaded that it is a good idea. The main stumbling block, and one which Steve does not tackle in his interview, is the lack of curriculum time and of good quality, well trained history teachers.
The increasing numbers of schools turning to two year KS3 courses, and pushing history to the margins of these curricula, or becoming academies (which are far more likely not to offer GCSE history at all), and the destruction of the PGCE system in this country will make imposing a compulsory GCSE very hard to implement.
Shameless showing off. Really pleased that my article Helping Year 7 put some flesh on Roman bones – The Historical Association, was published in last month’s Teaching History.
You need to be a HA member to download the whole thing, but if you don’t tell anyone, you can read it here.
I have just bumped into Historical fiction in the classroom by Dave Martin @davemartin46. It’s a great site, with a very wide range of books covered, both in terms of topic and age range.
Dave has also had a book published on The French Revolution (Enquiring History Series), the same series for which I’m currently striving to write a book on Italian Unification with Pam Canning, a colleague at LHS. I got an advance copy last week, and it looks really good – very engaging, but also challenging.
I saw this the other day - The trench talk that is now entrenched in the English language – Telegraph - and wondered whether there was a lesson in it. This absolutely fascinating article talks about how the language of the Trenches has been absorbed into our everyday speech.
It started me off on a bit of an internet wander, and led me to this piece - http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/slang.htm at FirstWorldWar.com, which gives some fascinating vignettes, like the fact that for the Germans, front line soldiers were Frontschwein, “front-pigs”, whilst for the French they were poilu – “hairy beasts”.
There’s even a book, apparently – Trench Talk: Words of the First World War.
Posted in aside, KS3, KS4
You can now find a series of lessons that I’ve been teaching about British propaganda during the Second World War on this site. These might be adaptable in the future to help tick off many of those on the list of the great and the good that we might be asked to cover under the new Hirschean National Curriculum!!
Just read Tim Brighouse on why London schools need a strategic body to help oversee education in the capital. I thought that it made interesting arguments, as does Boris Johnson for some sort of LEA for the Greater London area now that London Challenge has ended. This afternoon I also found myself listening to ‘Inside the Academy School Revolution‘ on Radio 4 with one ear, whilst making lunch.
I am going to listen to the program again tomorrow with more focus. It struck me how many academy heads were blaming what seemed to be the dead hand of the LEA for a lack of innovation. I wondered whether there was any research done about how the LEA acted with failing schools before the academies were set up? Anyone know?
From outside it seems rather that because ‘old style’ academies were created out of failing schools, for which ‘things could only get better’ – one school on the program had a 5A*-C pass rate of 3%. Lots of money was poured into such schools (rightly so), new buildings were made, and in many cases new teachers were found (again rightly so).
I wonder how many of the new academies – the outstanding schools or the private schools that have recently converted have found that, freed from the dead hand of the LEA, or fee-paying parents, they are able to radically overhaul their structures, curricula and teaching practices. This is a genuine question by the way. Of course I have my own prejudices, but I would really like to know if anyone has studied these things.