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OFSTED and History Teaching


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 08:05 AM

Inspection data published OFSTED recently shows that the percentage of poor lessons seen in secondary schools has fallen over the past four years. The data, based on inspections carried out since 1998, shows that Information Technology is the least well-taught subject in secondary schools. History teachers performed the best with only 2.1 percent of lessons considered to be poor or unsatisfactory. This was followed by English (2.3), Geography (3.0), Design & Technology (3.6), Art (4.1), Mathematics (5.5), Music (6.7), Religious Education (7.3) and IT (8.5).

Any views on why history teachers have performed so well?

#2 Andrew Field

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 08:17 AM

John, is there seriously any need to ask? :D :D


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#3 neil mcdonald

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 08:46 AM

Basically, unlike other subjects - there is no shortage of people wanting to be History Teachers so the requirements to be a History Teacher I htink are far higher than in some shortgae subjects - I knew a Maths Teacher who had a 3rd, openly admitted the kids had more Maths knowledge than her at A level and she was still allowed to be a teacher!

Secondly, I think that History Teachers are far more pro-active than in other subjects. Look at this forum as an example - we are sharing our best practice daily.
Bernard Woolley: Have the countries in alphabetical order? Oh no, we can't do that, we'd put Iraq next to Iran.

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Bernard Woolley: That's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I give confidential security briefings. You leak. He has been charged under section 2a of the Official Secrets Act.

#4 Guest_andy_walker_*

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 10:36 AM

I agree wholeheartedly with the above comments about historians!
Isn't it disturbing though that ICT and RE should be bottom of the league?
Both surely crucial subjects for very different reasons.

#5 John Simkin

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 11:00 AM

When I did my PGCE twenty-five years ago that there was a marked difference in those training to teach History, English and Sociology from other subjects. The vast majority of these students had been attracted to teaching because they had a strong desire to improve society. I was very disturbed by the large number of students who did not know why they wanted to be teachers. For many of them, the main reason was they did not want to leave university (or Brighton).

This initial view has been reinforced over the last 25 years. The best teachers have been in these subjects. Their passion to make a difference has kept them going through the indifference shown by pupils and even more importantly, fellow members of staff.

Neil McDonald is right to refer to this History Forum. It reflects the passion history teachers have to improve their skills as a teacher. I suspect that somewhere on the web English teachers have a similar forum.

#6 Guest_andy_walker_*

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 11:45 AM

The vast majority of these students had been attracted to teaching because they had a strong desire to improve society.


I couldn't agree more --- but what's happened to RE? Such a great vehicle for multiculturalism and fundamanetally questioning and challenging in nature but evidently badly taught by many..... Still it was only Ofsted's opinion.

#7 neil mcdonald

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 02:59 PM

Re and ICT are so different.

ICT first. I think the main problem lies in the failure to recruit the best. At a time when ICT was growing in the commercial sector, teaching was left with candidates (not all but a fair few) who knew their stuff but weren't able to teach it. It is all when and good having the subject knowledge but failure to apply it to students in an interesting manner is surely the weakness of the teacher.

RE - One one hand I look at the issues expected to be raised and I feel that RE is a subject that has had alot of the goodness taken out by the governments of the day. quotas on christianity as opposed to Judaism other faiths etc. I have always though that RE should be about developing the consciences of students via the faiths. I'd like to see a development towards philosphy where students can be more free to develop thinking skills.
Bernard Woolley: Have the countries in alphabetical order? Oh no, we can't do that, we'd put Iraq next to Iran.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bernard Woolley: That's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I give confidential security briefings. You leak. He has been charged under section 2a of the Official Secrets Act.

#8 Andrew Field

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 03:11 PM

ICT first.  I think the main problem lies in the failure to recruit the best. At a time when ICT was growing in the commercial sector, teaching was left with candidates (not all but a fair few) who knew their stuff but weren't able to teach it.  It is all when and good having the subject knowledge but failure to apply it to students in an interesting manner is surely the weakness of the teacher.

I certainly see your point - but as the survey has actually taken place since 1988 it may not be the failure to recruit but the inability to recruit. ICT teaching requirements have changed and developed more than any other in the last 15 years and the rapidly changing face of computing means those with expertise and sense wouldn't look twice at teaching.

I'd also bring the issue of inspectors into ICT observations. The expectations and demands that ICT inspectors make seems to vary enormously largely because of the previous point. The lack of curriculum clarity and fundamental constant development of the subject has in some ways hindered ICT in the past. The KS3 ICT policy will fundamentally alter that more than any other KS3 ICT policy.

As History teachers we should be grateful that we have the best subject in the curriculum to teach and thus, if we are being honest, the easiest job to deliver and develop interesting lessons. I'm not putting history teachers' efforts down, but it is important we realise how lucky we are. After all, think of the job science and maths teachers must be faced with. ;) :D


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#9 neil mcdonald

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 05:31 PM

I take your point re: Strategies etc and the issue of recruitment. However I believe there needs to be some re-examination of the methods used ot recruit. Teachers coming in to the profession need to be good at their subject. Some of the trainee teachers I saw in other subjects were getting shedloads of money for being a shortgae subject. Meanwhile History teachers ( i am feeling a little bitter) had the pleasure of knowing we were good but cheap!
Bernard Woolley: Have the countries in alphabetical order? Oh no, we can't do that, we'd put Iraq next to Iran.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bernard Woolley: That's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I give confidential security briefings. You leak. He has been charged under section 2a of the Official Secrets Act.

#10 neil mcdonald

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 05:34 PM

Sorry for the last outburst. I came from that time when you did not get grants, or busaries or golden hellos etc. (My little sister who did her History PGCE after me got the 6k!)

PS yes thats right the Drews aren't the only ones with two History Teachers in the family!!!!!! :blink: :blink:
Bernard Woolley: Have the countries in alphabetical order? Oh no, we can't do that, we'd put Iraq next to Iran.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bernard Woolley: That's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I give confidential security briefings. You leak. He has been charged under section 2a of the Official Secrets Act.

#11 Andrew Field

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 06:06 PM

Neil, my wife and I know this only two well... nothing like that for us either. Aside from the (less than comforting) fact that we didn't have to pay the Tuition Fees.

Some might suggest a lot of PGCE students (although clearly not those who are concientious enough to frequent this forum) will complete a PGCE for the cash and the additional year in education to decide what to do with themselves. Of course, I wouldn't possibly say that.

It's better in the end to know we are worth more than mere bribes... :upset:


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