Presentation on theme: "As we start the new year, Mr Smith, I just want you to know that Im an abstract- sequential learner and I trust that youll conduct yourself accordingly."— Presentation transcript:
As we start the new year, Mr Smith, I just want you to know that Im an abstract- sequential learner and I trust that youll conduct yourself accordingly. Joe Smith SSAT Senior Lead Practitioner St Hildas High, Liverpool
Look at your Year 7 CAT data. There is data for verbal, non-verbal and quantitative reasoning. High ability, low ability and average students are fairly easy to spot, but look closer and there are puzzling outliers – pupils whose scores for the three tests vary wildly from each other by 30 or more points. It is not unusual for a child to be in a higher set for maths, but a lower set for English (or vice versa) but History is usually taught in mixed ability classrooms. Part way through Year 10 of a very mixed-ability class, I looked at the Year 7 data and the number of these outlier students with varying CAT scores was startling. 20 out of 28 students had a difference of more than 20 between their highest and lowest CAT scores.
Unfortunately, Howard Gardners nuanced work on MI has been re- packaged in schools as preferred learning styles. These two concepts are very different – an intelligence is the way in which an individual thinks, while a learning style is the way in this an individual prefers to be shown information. Consequently, a visually intelligent person is not necessarily a visual learner. In fact, an approach to teaching which relies on visual media will hinder a visually-intelligent persons learning by substituting the visual learners mental construct with a correct set of images. It is, therefore, counterproductive teach to a particular intelligence because a teachers ability to teach to, say, a musical intelligence is restricted by the teachers own musical intelligence which may be at a level far below the childs. We give different coloured exercise books to visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners. I was observed by the Assistant Head and she said, I teach that student and she really doesnt learn in the way you were teaching.
Looking at the data made me think about how this impacted on how the students were learning. I began to make links between the variation in some individuals data and multiple intelligences. I had been introduced to MI during teacher-training and not really given it a second thought, but going back to the primary literature made me realise that I had not fully understood MI the first time around. If MI is about pupil outcomes rather than teacher input perhaps there was something to be gained from allowing students to explore a topic in their own learning style. I thought more about judgement. At GCSE, students taking their own judgement counts for, at most, two marks in an essay (now less that SPG) for this reason, it is not always taught as a discrete skill – it comes naturally to the most able and baffles the less able. Could Multiple Intelligence theory help students form historical judgements?
As teachers of GCSE History, there is a danger that we neglect judgement as a skill. There are two reasons for this: There is relatively little reward for it in exams. It is a higher-order skill that can confuse the less able. Instead of prizing judgement, there is a risk that it becomes something formulaic, something mentioned briefly in an introduction or tacked onto the end of a two-sided answer. Students know they need to see both sides, but then frequently reach non- judgements: In conclusion, Hitlers foreign policy was some of the reason for World War Two, but not the whole reason. Multiple Intelligences allows us to put judgement at the heart of our approach to learning by legitimising student responses to historical debates.
Step One - Encourage students to take a more agentic approach to writing history by broadening their ideas about why history is for. Step Two – Allow students to communicate their understanding through non-written media. Step Three – Analyse the student responses. Are they good history?
Students dont really understand why they have to write their history essays in the way that they do. They know it should have an introduction, look at both sides of the question and have a conclusion, but they never seem to ask why. They do it because we tell them to do it. In actual fact, we are teaching children a bastardised form of a particular approach to writing history. An approach which is not good history in any transcendent sense, but one which is culturally and historically determined. I wanted to show to the students that the notion of good history changes and used the history of art to do this.
At first, painters tried to recreate reality as closely as possible. Artists got better and better at this so that cave paintings gave way to Roman Art and then the art of the Dutch Masters. This art was known as realism because it intended to be as real as possible. Lobster by Heda Roman Still Life – 70 AD Von Ranke was one of the first true historians. He believed that the job of the Historian was simply to tell it how it was. This made Von Rankes books extremely boring, they contained long lists of facts. While it was impressive that Von Ranke had done so much research it wasnt the kind of book that most people would want to read.
Modern art built on the work of the impressionist painters. They liked the way that impressionism made the painters view of the subject more important than the subject itself. Modern artists believed that art should tell the painters story. The painter did not have to justify his art because it was his story and he could tell it however he wanted. Many people criticised Modern Art for being unrealistic, but realism wasnt the point. The point was to communicate a message.
At the start of the twentieth century a group of artists began to question realism. They argued that it was impossible for a painting to be a copy of reality. It could only ever be a copy of what the artist saw as reality. These painters were called impressionists because they painted the impression that the thing had on them rather than trying to paint the thing itself. History books slowly changed to have more of the authors judgement in them. History books became very personal accounts that made it clear what the author felt, much like Impressionism in art. These books tended to be very one- sided.
Post modern artists argued that art was itself totally pointless. There was no point in trying to create a work of art to tell a story because everyone who looked at a piece of art looked at it in a different way. Art became less about the artist and more about the person who was looking at it. Post-Modern Artists abandoned all the rules of art and tried to create work that made a different type of sense to every person who viewed it. Post Modern Artists often didnt even give their work titles, preferring to call them composition number 16 or something that allowed the viewer to think of his own title.
Recently, history has moved into the era of post-modernism. Post-modern historians argue that writing history is impossible. We cannot know how World War Two affected the lives of every person involved and so it is impossible to try to write a history of World War Two. Postmodern historians do not believe that there are two-sides to every story, but that there are an infinite number of sides. To get round this problem, post- modern historians often restrict themselves to writing small-scale history books. Post-modern historians believe that all historians make the past up because they are writing about something that doesnt exist, this means that post-modern historians sometimes make up scenarios in history that support their view!
The goal of the art history exercise was not to question the validity of our modern approach to writing history, but to encourage students to think of history as something in which they could be actively involved rather than a remote academic exercise. Good judgement can only happen if the author believes that his judgement has legitimacy. Students must not be frightened of making a judgement
This project was the culmination of a GCSE unit on the Cold War. The aim of the project was to break free of the tyranny of the two-sided essay (in some ways the USSR was to blame, in some ways the USA was) and to get students exploring their own interpretations of the development of Cold War hostilities.
Activities like this are daunting for students and teachers alike. The student is anxious that s/he doesnt quite know what is expected, while the teacher is anxious that the student will not take the activity seriously. These are sensible concerns. The second concern is easily dealt with by way of a threat. If you dont try then youll just have to write the essay instead. The first concern requires some legwork to help students rethink what they understand history to be.
Intelligence Type SubmissionsFrequency VisualCartoon Painting Comic Strip Poster KinaestheticDecorated cake Stop-motion animation 1212 Logical- Mathematical Flow diagram Computer game concept 2121 InterpersonalDiary entry Short Story 2121 Linguistic- Verbal Poem2 MusicalSong2 It is worth noting two things about this table. Firstly, there was no apparent link between learning styles identified by diagnostic tools and the method that students chose to communicate their work. That is to say, pupils with high verbal CATs scores did not necessarily prefer verbal communication when offered the choice. Secondly, the different intelligences were spread across the ability range. There were high and low attaining visual learners and high and low attaining kinaesthetic learners. This would seem to challenge the notion that intelligence can be generalised.
Students had to submit a written explanation along with their non-written submission. The white is the space for the two sides to talk and this is getting smaller. The blue I feel is the space which america gave themselfs and is overpowering the picture as they did wish to do when the cold war was nationally known however the yellow which is the nuclear bomb seperates the natural flow between the two country with america being blue and the USSR being red [sic]
I feel that with Marshall Aid, the USA was using money as a weapon. That's why Ive included the strong arm of the USA with bags of money making a fist at the end and all the countries whose support it bought have their flags flying nearby. Many people think that the USSR was more aggressive, but they had to behave like this because they didnt have the money that America did. Ive drawn the Iron curtain as a defence against the Marshall Aid money. The USSRs of Marshall Aid, Comecon, in an old broken cannon sitting in Eastern Europe which is still grey and damaged by the war.
I chose this medium for a number of reasons. Firstly, a cake is usually divided up and shared. This shows the way that the great powers divided up the world. Secondly, the cake replicates how fragile the world became during the cold war with the threat of atomic bombs because a cake is very delicate and needs to be handled carefully. The world could easily have been destroyed, in much the same manner that a cake is destroyed when the time comes to eat it. Thirdly, although it doesnt look likely now that a country would use atomic bombs, I do believe that in future the world could be destroyed by atomic bombs. This is shown by the way that, at some point, the cake will eventually be eaten and destroyed. You cant have a cake and not eat it. In the same way, you cant have atomic bombs and not use them. Its tempting fate to have them in the first place.
This student produced a short story from the point of view of a pilot in the first sortie of the Berlin Airlift. Rather than share the story, I thought I would share his thoughts in the follow up semi-structured interview. N.B. The interviewers voice is mine, not John Bishops.
Concept Cold Warriors is a computer game where you have to be either Stalin or Truman and you have to take decisions to get the best deal that you can for your country. If you succeed, you can become the most powerful country in the world. If you fail, you might cause a nuclear war. The game moves through levels and you have to try to get the best deal you can. If you give too much away then you lose points, if you make the other side too angry then there is a war and the game ends. You cant move onto the next level unless you have taken good enough decisions for your country and got enough points. Each decision you take affects what the next level will be like so if youre too aggressive in getting your way, your opponent gets more aggressive in the next level.
Level One – Potsdam Conference, Soviet Objective – Secure control of Eastern Europe as a buffer against Germany USA Objective – Keep the USSR out of involvement in the war against Japan. Level Two – Eastern Europe Soviet Objective – Install friendly governments in Eastern Europe. USA Objective – Achieve full democratic elections in Eastern Europe Level Three – Greece and Turkey Soviet Objective – Achieve Pro-Communist governments in Greece and Turkey. USA Objective – Prevent Communist takeover in Greece and Turkey. Level Four – Marshall Aid Soviet Objective – Increase support for Communist parties in Western Europe USA Objective – Decrease support for Communist parties in Western Europe Level Five – Berlin Blockade Soviet Objective – Achieve control over the whole of Berlin. USA Objective – Maintain a free West Berlin