Today, seven 1st year history pupils from Jordanhill School attended our Pedagogy and Curriculum history tutorial along with the Principal Teacher of history at Jordanhill School, Mrs Claire Wood to lead a session on Collaborative Learning.
I have to say, it was one of the most enjoyable learning experiences I have had at Jordanhill College so far and the pupils were a credit to their school. They had us student teachers do some homework prior to the session- background reading on The Bayeax Tapestry because of which I missed the FA Cup game on the telly! I hope to teach at Jordanhill School one day in the future where I will get my revenge with copious amounts of homework issued to only these pupils every day!
The day began with us being put into groups of 5 and we were to act out a particular scene of our choosing from the Bayeux Tapestry- I think some people in the class should be doing drama rather than history!
After performing for the class and a quick coffee, Mrs Wood delivered a very interesting presentation on Collaborative Learning; I will just share a few of the points that struck a chord with me.
Firstly, with respect to the importance of studying history and its prevalence in the school curriculum; I have worried in the past about its dilution and the obvious knock-on effects to my future employment prospects in teaching. However, rather than get sympathy for this position, Mrs Wood believes it is the fault of history practitioners, including us students, for what seems like an attack on history...and she has a point.
It is not enough for teachers and student teachers to motivate children and young people to value history for intrinsic reasons. We must do more. For example, for every school department to flourish, it needs an uptake of pupils for certificate classes; every pupil will choose their subjects for different reasons. Some might like the department teachers, some because their pals are doing it. Subjects will also be chosen based on what will help pupils get work after school- to earn a living, working to live. As Claire Wood stated today, it is up to myself and fellow student history teachers to be active agents in banging the drum for history as teaching pupils how to live, ie helping to foster in them active citizenship for example.
This cannot just be done in the classroom though and involves bringing history to life for pupils through field trips etc. One such example of this which I will look at in another post is the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) War Memorial at Kelvingrove Park which I am going to visit tomorrow afternoon.