Learning history outside the classroom

You might have seen @TomRogers writing in the TES this week about getting outside the classroom and doing history specific schools visits. Here at #OBHD we know from many years of experience the power of school trips. Tom is right when he says: “Educational visits in history have a special curriculum value and they don’t have to be super costly or tough to organise.” As the summer term arrives it’s time to think about History Learning Outside the Classroom. However, time is precious and it would be a bit mad to head out without knowing the best way to maximise students’ learning, or without the support of the history teaching community’s expertise. Help is on hand!

The December 2017 edition of Teaching History is full of practical ideas related to onsite learning. For example, Michael Harcourt provided a very useful list of questions that could be adapted to any museum to help students see museums as interpretations. Reading museums critically is a great way to practice the tricky concept of historical interpretations that students need to master for success at GCSE.

The range of Teaching History (TH) articles online goes back to 1998 and here are a few of the articles you can go to for inspiration and practical help:

  • In TH 105 I. Davies, ‘Beyond the classroom: developing student teachers’ work with museums and historic sites’
  • In TH 126 H. Snelson, ‘‘I understood before, but not like this’: maximising
    historical learning by letting pupils take control of trips’
  • In TH 126 also H. Moloney and P. Kitching, ‘A search beyond the classroom: using a
    museum to support the renewal of a scheme of work’
  • In TH 126 A. Wilson and G. Hollis, ‘How do we get better at going on trips?
    Planning for progression outside the classroom’
  • In TH 144 J. Philpott and D. Guiney, ‘Exploring diversity at GCSE: making a
    World War I battlefields visit meaningful to all students
  • In TH 155 J. Freeman, ‘Remembering the First World War: using a battlefield
    tour of the Western Front to help pupils take a more critical approach to what
    they encounter’

For more general practical support see the website of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom and the chapter on historical learning outside the classroom in ‘Debates in History Teaching’ (2nd edition), I. Davies (ed.) (Routledge 2017).

The featured image this time is from the Agincourt800 Project. You can see primary students having fun with History on the field of Agincourt. Membership of the HA brings a lot of opporunties such as this. And… the inspiration of getting outside the classroom extends to teachers too! Why not look out for the next HA Teacher Fellowship programme and apply? Last month, the Age of Revolutions programme had its residential in Waterloo. The team spent the weekend learning and talking about the history of the period and how to teach it – ‘Rolls Royce’ CPD!

Follow the HA @histassoc and on Facebook and find out more online at www.history.org.uk

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