SHP 2011: Reflection

In January, when I was signed up for an SHP workshop, I remember thinking to myself, “You’d better actually do some more things now, or you’ll have nothing to say in July.” I’m so glad I took my own advice! It was a real honour for me to present at SHP this year and I was thrilled with the positive feedback I got on my sessions. Many thanks to all who attended and please get in touch if I can help any more with the mapping – and with links to your maps! It was also quite exciting to be name-checked by Jamie Byrom in his plenary on Sunday.

Aside from that, I managed to do an awful lot of learning for myself. The weekend was a complete knockout, unsurprisingly. There were a few recurrent themes:
1. Greater challenge is needed in the classroom
2. Pupils need to be better prepared for University
3. Teachers are working too hard in lesson time, and need to back off and let the pupils get there on their own.

If I were to write at length about all the ideas I had thanks to this weekend, we’d be here a long time. Instead, I’m going to make a list. In no particular order, here are the things that stuck with me from the weekend.

  • Writing History is like drinking an ocean and peeing a cupful
  • Teachers think written work is a means – a method of communicating. Students think it is an end.
  • Lessons need to be a combination of hook and rigour – pear drops AND porridge
  • The makers of Medal of Honour etc spend millions on researchers to ensure historically authentic scenarios
  • Sub levels in History have very little meaning and levels should not be given on a termly basis (this, from Michael Madison, HMI…his full report is available here)
  • Set texts for A-levels reduce the ability of sixth formers to access alternatives
  • History is the most popular GCSE option out there
  • 82% of students taking History at GCSE get a C in English GCSE, compared to 56% of those who didn’t (perhaps this is not the straightforward statistic it seems, though)
  • Share the students’ work more
  • Make revision kites with learning points on the body and evidence on the ribbons
  • Read Ron Berger’s Ethic of Excellent
  • Teach students to be incremental theorists – they should believe that there is no limit to their achievements
  • “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today” Malcolm X

I also attended a very enjoyable TeachMeet which gave me lots of new ideas, though those were all shared on Twitter. As usual, I tweeted A LOT. Here’s the archive of tweets from the weekend – even more ideas for you. The Twitter feed was so extensive that even those who didn’t attend the conference were able to benefit. The power of social networking!

To finish, then, here is a Wordle of the Tweet archive for #SHPCon2011

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