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Preparing Students to Thrive (Re)presenting how history teaching can make a difference History teaching with passion1.

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Presentation on theme: "Preparing Students to Thrive (Re)presenting how history teaching can make a difference History teaching with passion1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Preparing Students to Thrive (Re)presenting how history teaching can make a difference History teaching with passion1

2 The History Passion Project Aims to: Encourage conversation about key issues concerning historians as teachers Provide digital & bibliographic resources Generate ideas about present & future practice History teaching with passion2

3 Research questions What motivates historians as teachers? Where does love of the subject fit & how does it influence pedagogic hopes & ideals? What difference does history teaching make? And how can this be expressed in ways that resonate with wider publics? What sort of teaching engages students deeply? How do historians view their development as teachers & what advice do they have for others – especially those just starting out? History teaching with passion3

4 Methodology National online survey of UK historians based in history departments Filmed individual interviews and group discussions Review of literature History teaching with passion4

5 The survey 38% female 14% up to 5 years 21% 5-10 years 33% teaching for 10 – 20 years 32% 20 years+ 22% professors 36% seniors 27% lecturers 15% other 42% male 72 HE Institutions 54% research intensive History teaching with passion5 210 survey responses

6 What historians say about teaching: some headlines History teaching with passion6

7 Love, engagement and making a difference ‘I teach history because I love history... In teaching it you have the sense that you are opening minds to things they never considered previously.’ ‘I want to inspire an enduring love of history that lasts well-beyond the degree.’ ‘I really get a kick out of seeing students develop, particularly to the point when they don’t need me anymore... I like the fact that I can make a difference to so many lives.’ History teaching with passion7

8 Lightbulb moments ‘ Seeing the lightbulb above their heads when they understand what the study of history is all about – when they’ve made a qualitative leap.’ ‘That moment when the penny drops and you can sense that a student has begun to understand the process of thinking historically.’ ‘I particularly enjoy it when it is meaningful in some way – beyond the usual skills. Sometimes there is that flash of recognition when they see the past/their community/their own life/their future differently.’ History teaching with passion8

9 Questions 7 & 8 Q 7: In your view what can students get from history teaching at its best? Q 8: How would you describe the value of these things to policymakers? History teaching with passion9

10 What can students get from history teaching at its best? (1) ‘History teaching can encourage students to think about the past, or distant societies, and reflect what it might mean for both the human experience and for today. History in many ways is uniquely placed to ask the big questions societies face, and arguably to point to solutions, challenges and impacts. It crosses every aspect of human activity – from culture to the environment, to gender relations, economics, welfare, nation-building... the list could go on.’ ‘History education cultivates people useful to a democratic society. It is not enough to have practical skills. How those skills are imparted to others, and how our graduates shape the opportunities for others, are all determined by an ability to be fair, open-minded, see other peoples’ views, to see false or dangerous arguments and to be empowered to act upon those things.’ History teaching with passion10

11 What can students get from history teaching at its best? (2) ‘They get the realisation that they are the heirs of a vastly complex and messy thing called humanity... history gives students the understanding that humans are irrational and illogical. That is necessary in coming to grips with the horrors found in history, but it is also essential in the appreciation of great beauties, the great triumphs that we as human beings have been capable of.’ ‘History students acquire a deep sense of the contours of the past. They realise that events are never simple and straightforward but, instead, highly nuanced. They learn to appreciate that decision-making is fraught with risk because the outcomes are never clear to the participants and they learn to differentiate between what matters and what does not. This helps them to reach conclusions on imperfect information, and remain flexible and to improvise when required. In a fast changing world the creation of a group of people with those capabilities is vital to the future success of the nation.’ History teaching with passion11

12 What can students get from history teaching at its best (3)? ‘The study of history encourages people to think critically, to refuse to accept things as they appear on the surface. It produces individuals who are aware of the complexity of issues that confront society. History graduates have a greater sense, not only of the world they live in, but how it got there. Ultimately, this can only make for better citizens.’ ‘[History teaching] encourages not only critical but creative ways of looking, and an ethical imagination. Without history we would be reduced to a society which had deprived itself of a key compass with which to navigate the complexities of our own world or imagine futures in an evidence-based way. Without the self- reflexive qualities history education provides we would be left with “traditions” we could not properly understand or use.’ History teaching with passion12

13 What can students get from history teaching at its best? History teaching with passion13

14 People with a complex awareness Understand society (& selves) in broader perspective View society in multi-faceted ways Sensitive to ‘otherness’ Attentive to complexity of events and circumstances Aware of contingency Attuned to partiality of information and knowledge Sensitive to the complexity of making judgements History teaching with passion14

15 People who display... A critical disposition – a healthy scepticism; independent thinking; rigorous logic; eye for details; flexible thinking; ability to see beyond the taken-for-granted and current fashions; a questioning approach to all information; nuanced judgement; self-reflexivity. A sympathetic imagination – tolerance; empathy; humility in never fully knowing; sensitivity to ‘messiness’ of human life; openness to the strange and different; fair-minded; curiosity about others. A will to learn (and keep learning) – passion; enthusiasm; excitement; intuition; wonderment; awe; intellectual curiosity; openness to new information and experience; resourcefulness; persistence; self- reliance; confidence. History teaching with passion15

16 Q8 How would you describe the value of these things to policymakers? History teaching with passion16

17 Expressions of value to policymakers ‘These are essential skills all valuable to the free market, enterprise economy...’ ‘I would describe the study of History as a superb method of producing an inquisitive, innovative and flexible workforce.’ ‘Sadly, I would try to speak to policy-makers on their own terms: parroting the seemingly relentless business/skills agenda.’ History teaching with passion17

18 Some (more polite) expressions of disquiet ‘I am worried that we repeatedly articulate the value of what we do in terms largely dictated by the Treasury view rather than seek to challenge the terms of debate.’ ‘If we instrumentalise the study of history to please policy-makers in 2010, we will simply have to change our language when the policy- makers of 2011 change theirs. Hitching our wagons to transient stars won’t save us – but nor should we loftily trumpet “ivory tower” values.’ ‘I am extremely concerned that policy-makers and university managers will opt for the measurable and ignore the less tangible, in particular the development of students as independent learners.’ History teaching with passion18

19 Complex constantly changing world History teaching with passion19

20 History Graduates from 2009 History teaching with passion20 6 months following graduation 47% in employment 7.8% working + studying 14.4% studying for higher degree PGCE 3.5% 4.7% not available 9.2% unemployed

21 Employment 23.0% Retail, Catering, Waiting and bar staff 17.9% Other Occupations 15.0% Other clerical and secretarial occupations 8.3% Business & Financial Professionals and Associate Professionals 10.3% Commercial, Industrial and Public Sector Managers 6.5% Marketing, Sales & Advertising Professionals History teaching with passion21 4.0% education professionals

22 Richard Lambert, CBI ‘ It is impossible to predict what disciplines will be of most economic and social value in a rapidly changing world. Most of the big breakthroughs in the development of products and services these days come from collaboration among different disciplines.’ Richard Lambert, former Director General of the Confederation of British Industry (a historian) Nov.12 th 2010 History teaching with passion22

23 Making a living in a complex constantly changing world History teaching with passion23

24 History teaching with passion24

25 To thrive in complexity requires ability To relate to, make & maintain relationships with people at all levels, inside & outside organisations Collaborate & work in teams, more than one team at once, & adjust roles in ever-shifting situation Willingness to learn continually, take risks, lead & deal with change & help others to do so Self-management, self- confidence & self-promotion Harvey, New Realities, 2000 Ability to recontextualise their skills, knowledge and understanding according to the requirements of different settings & develop a frame of mind whereby they continually look to improve Warwick Institute for Employment Research, Changing Patterns of Work, 2010 History teaching with passion25

26 People with a complex awareness Understand society (& selves) in broader perspective View society in multi-faceted ways Sensitive to ‘otherness’ Attentive to complexity of events and circumstances Aware of contingency Attuned to partiality of information and knowledge Sensitive to the complexity of making judgements History teaching with passion26

27 People who display... A critical disposition – a healthy scepticism; independent thinking; rigorous logic; eye for details; flexible thinking; ability to see beyond the taken-for-granted and current fashions; a questioning approach to all information; nuanced judgement; self-reflexivity. A sympathetic imagination – tolerance; empathy; humility in never fully knowing; sensitivity to ‘messiness’ of human life; openness to the strange and different; fair-minded; curiosity about others. A will to learn (and keep learning) – passion; enthusiasm; excitement; intuition; wonderment; awe; intellectual curiosity; openness to new information and experience; resourcefulness; persistence; self- reliance; confidence. History teaching with passion27

28 Top 10 reasons for going to university History teaching with passion28

29 Changing attitudes to work/life Want good work Makes a difference Shared values Flat structures Self-development Ethical & sustainable operation Sharing learning & working in teams Creating work for themselves 46% increase in graduates starting own business More from arts and humanities Third of those starting businesses start social enterprises History teaching with passion29

30 (Re)presenting history teaching at its best Amplify how it goes beyond skills & employability to prepare graduates to make a good living Draw more deeply on values & ideals that anchor us as teachers and are shared by many students Appeal to the emotional as well as the intellectual nature of engagement with the subject Demonstrate ‘the particularity of the kind of people’ that history teaching at its best can cultivate Draw upon a richer vocabulary that expresses how history teaching fosters the ‘will to learn’ and go on learning Demonstrate practically how history teaching at its best enables students to navigate the kinds of lives they will be living in a complex, unpredictable world History teaching with passion30

31 And some final (hopeful) advice from historians to their (new) selves... ‘Try not to be discouraged by the widespread Human Resources and Management- speak, the constant misery reported by the ‘Times Higher’ Magazine and the general climate of gloom and doom in higher education in Britain. Cherish idealism rather than the current trend to make all things vocational and you will find students and their parents, to whom we genuinely owe our calling, respond.’ ‘Try as hard as possible to ignore Human Resources-inspired nonsense, the RAE/REF culture of publish-any-old-rubbish and jump-on-whatever-the-latest-bandwagon is, and be true to yourself and to the intellectual curiosity, idealism and general human decency of your students.’ ‘Be yourself – don’t try and pretend to be someone you’re not. Use this as strength in your teaching – be natural and don’t be afraid of what others might think or say about you. Allow your passion for the subject to shine out – students will love it, and you’ll be true to yourself.’ History teaching with passion31


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