Learning

Learning history
This section focuses on opportunities for pupils to learn history in interesting and challenging ways. It starts with a description of the learning process developed over nearly twenty years of watching learners at work and of reading the best research. It does not aim to peddle a particular approach other than making learning engaging, active and stretching. It acknowledges that some research into learning styles is contradictory and advocates a balanced approach, not jumping on the latest bandwagon. So there are references to preferred learning styles and de Bono’s Thinking Hats but these approaches are not advocated uncritically.

The next section is likely to have a really powerful effect on your classroom practice. There are 50 really high quality learning activities for each key stage. There is naturally some overlap, but I have tried really hard to exemplify what I mean by reference to key stage specific practice. All of us need an injection of new ideas from time to time. So, if this section does nothing else (though I am sure it will!) I hope it reintroduces you to some activities which you have not used for a while as well as offering some that are really novel. If we can develop a shared understanding of which activities work best in which situations and for which purposes, we can then confidently draw on an extensive repertoire of activities which pupils will find effective.

Key to this section of the site is the area devoted to imaginative products, ideas for making the organisation and communication of understanding varied, interesting and challenging. There is a strong emphasis on creativity both in how you set the activity up and how pupils choose to interpret the task. Don’t be surprised to find pupils making movies, beating the textbook, running a post-it challenge or walking the gallery. Read on…

The next section looks at the roles learners take on in their history sessions. I would be amazed if you can’t find some ideas here to give your lessons an imaginative twist and cast pupils in a slightly different role, be it TV producer, gallery organiser, museum curator, interviewer, prosecution lawyer or archaeologist.

The final section looks at the views of learners. It is an obvious area to focus on, not just because of the current emphasis on personalisation and the pupil voice, but also because we need to respond to their views on how they learn most effectively. Tim Lomas’ recent research has been invaluable here.

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