Shifting Focus

I’ll never forget the first time I walked into my classroom sitting down for the first time at my desk to find drawers of glitter, feathers and medieval fashion books done as assessment tasks. I remember a genuine sense of confusion that this was what history teaching was. Clearly a lot of work had gone into this work as students had taken great care to make sure the feathers were perfectly positioned and glitter was in the right place. But I wondered how much thinking had gone on the reasons why women suddenly had rich silk dresses at the time of the British conquest of India. I skimmed schemes of work which included two weeks of lessons watching Titanic and a DVD of puppets talking history. Confusion turned to worry that my thoughts of teaching were somehow not right and that my plans of academic lessons were misplaced.

Thinking back this underlined my commitment to ensuring that the history curriculum would change to give students a more rigorous diet of academia based on key pillars of the past. This meant confronting gaps in historical knowledge and literacy, for the past needs to be decoded to be comprehended. Rising to the challenge of ensuring rich discussions, analysis and comprehension in a school where literacy can be a significant barrier to achievement. Initially I thought that this challenge could be met by consistently delivering great history lessons. However, meeting this challenge of providing rich academic history cannot just be done through excellent delivery alone it requires a solid foundation of a curriculum map.

This was the start of my project. My aim simple, to provide academically rigorous lessons to inspire pupils with a drive to own the knowledge of the past. Less clear is the path. Thats the fun.



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