“Face to face support” – this is what we are doing

Continuing our blogposts related to teaching history in a world with Covid-19 restrictions, Secondary Committee member and assistant head Richard Kennett (@kenradical) shares his department’s thoughts ahout “face-to-face” support for returning Y10s and Y12s. 

So I’d imagine like us you are getting ready to welcome Year 10 and Year 12 back in some form in the next few weeks. Although I appreciate there is not a set format for this, many of the schools I have spoken to seem to be offering one (or if you are lucky two) catch up sessions for each non-core option subject. History has to play second fiddle to the core subjects (I get why) so most history teachers will probably be seeing some students later in June or early in July for a few hours.

Except this won’t look like normal school or a normal lesson. You will be following social distancing rules which if this means anything like my school you won’t be able to teach how you normally do. The teacher probably has to remain at the front. You won’t be able to walk around the room. With your students sat at least 2 metres apart you probably can’t get them to discuss or god forbid work together. Handing out resources mid-lesson is going to be a big no no. This is a completely different beast.

So this week my team have been wrestling with what to do. We want the sessions to be meaningful. We want them to be reassuring. We want them to have purpose. But we need to stick to the guidelines.

And now we have a plan so I thought I would share what we are going to do. I am far from saying we have it right or that this is the only solution. But we have something that should work and we hope it might inspire people to think about what you could do in your schools.

We knew we needed to plan a session that we could lead from the front. But we also knew that if we just did a lecture where our students made notes without any structure it would fall flat on its face. So we have made a very structured workbook. It is linked below:

Living under Nazi Rule Student Workbook

I appreciate this is huge but these are some of our thought processes:

  • This book covers everything we have set during lockdown so far AND everything we will cover until the end of the year. We thought it was important to cover both so students have something really concrete to consolidate their work at home.
  • As this covers everything, the teacher in charge of that session can pick and choose what they want to cover in the session (which for us is two hours). The classes we will see are not going to be our normal class cohorts but a mixture of students from all four groups so we won’t necessarily know the students or how much work they have done or not. At the start of the session the teacher can use the checklist on the first page to establish prior knowledge and build the session around the needs of that group.
  • We have left out any mention of exam questions. We thought this might overwhelm the kids and cause more anxiety. Although there are options for some extended writing these are not official exam questions. We have watered them down.
  • We have included our core knowledge sheets (knowledge organisers if you want) at the back. We did this so if a student is freaking out that they just don’t know they can look it up independently.
  • The work booklet can then be taken home for them to complete as they wish.

To accompany this we are also going to make a teacher PowerPoint which will have all the answers. This means we can speed through content or slow down as we wish. 

We also realise that not all our students will come in for these sessions. For those that don’t we intend to post home the work booklet. We will also add narration to the teacher PowerPoint and turn it into a video for those students at home. This way none will miss out. 

I repeat I am not saying this is the only way. But we are happy. This isn’t going to be easy this term so the more thought you can put in the better. Good luck!

P.s. The work booklet above is made specifically for the OCR B Living Under Nazi Rule unit. If you do the Nazis for another board don’t use this as it will miss bits out. We need to be bespoke in what we do.

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