As a history teacher, I am very aware that we teach events, topics and ideas in chunks. There are, of course, benefits to doing so. Primarily, as assessors, this offers the opportunity to ensure that learning is consolidated before moving on to the next focus. What bothers me most about this, however, is that students often forget to create the links between different ideas. More often then not, this is something that my low-attainers struggle with;remembering that the dots do connect, that often, there isn’t a fixed start and end.
Recently, in a Year 10 class, I gave my students 2 hours (yes, a whole double lesson!) to complete a task during which the students were given one sheet of A1 paper, some markers and a bunch of road signs. We were focusing on the causes of the Cold War. Primarily the students had to illustrate a convincing argument on who they believed should be considered rising tensions. These were the instructions:
And off they were. My students had roughly an hour to prep their work. They could have done with much longer, but ultimately I was more interested in their ability to articulate their viewpoint in a convincing manner. This was what we got:
A generic overall of Cold War causes:
Blame of the Cold War placed on the USA – primarily due to the antagonistic actions of the Truman:
Some wonderful imagery here! We also recorded the students articulating their views to the class and kept our posters on our working wall; so we can refer to them as and when necessary, especially ahead of end of year revision. A great way to consolidate learning, focusing on knowledge and explanation – both core components of our GCSE specification.