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History Post -16


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#1 Paul Smith

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Posted 17 May 2004 - 11:08 AM

This seminar is designed to stimulate a discussion about History teaching, post-16.

It cannot be divorced from the wider context of the recent developments in 14-19 education and recent "headline grabbers", such as the Tomlinson Report and these "new-fangled" apprenticeships!

I want to develop three themes:

1. The wider post-16 agenda

Is the debate on post-16 education a "dead" issue? The agenda is 14 -19, should this be the framework we should all now be working to?

What is the impact of the new vocational thrust likely to be on "academic" subjects? There is evidence that some vocational post-16 provision is being moulded into the AS/A2 system. Given Tomlinson; isn't this shutting the barn door after you've just led out all the horses into another barn? (to corrupt a metaphor!)

Are AS/A2's dead in the water?


2. History post -16

There has been an excellent debate on this in History Review ( see the September 2003 issue).


Has AS/A2 advanced or damaged history teaching?


Do the Tomlinson proposals address our concerns? The emphasis on a long dissertation may be welcomed.


Should we be more vocal about the range of vocational opportunities History A level gives access to....


OR


Should we be looking at ways to "vocationalise" the post-16 History offer? (Heritage Studies, links with Leisure and Tourism courses?)


Is the International Baccalaureate a better solution?


3. Teaching and Learning post-16

A number of us teach exclusively post-16. From the wonderful contributions to this forum I know there is a huge range of strategies used to enhance student learning in 11 -16 schools.

To what extent are these techniques extended into post-16 work. Is this more evident in the 11 -18 schools?

If you teach in a post -16 establishment

how much consideration do you give to how your History students learnt in 11 -16 schools? (be honest!). When was the last time you observed an History lesson in a 11 -16 school?
AND
if you teach 11 -16

Have you ever been invited to observe, or asked to teach, some post-16 lessons by "partner" colleges?

Edited by Paul Smith, 17 May 2004 - 11:09 AM.

Cassus ubique vale

#2 Carole Faithorn

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Posted 17 May 2004 - 01:39 PM

Paul has asked some stimulating questions and I hope to revisit the thread, but just to comment on one of his questions now.

Should we be more vocal about the range of vocational opportunities History A level gives access to....


I would answer this with a thundering YES

If posts on our History Help Forum are anything to go by potential AS candidates can be woefully ignorant about this and AS/A2 candidates seem little better informed. Their view often seems to be that History is really interesting ...... but what can you do with it after A Level?

Not only is their knowledge of vocational opportunites requiring a direct historical knowledge limited, but noone seems to have made them aware that the historian has a wide range of transferable skills.

Paul, JohnD and I have been busy attempting to 'correct' all this on the Help Forum in recent weeks, but it does seem that many History teachers could, and should, do a great deal more to make their students aware of what they can 'do with History'.

In my experience some parents are similarly poorly informed so that they need to be targetted as well as the students and I'd suggest that this needs to begin at Year 9 option-choosing time.

#3 Dan Moorhouse

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Posted 17 May 2004 - 06:07 PM

What is the impact of the new vocational thrust likely to be on "academic" subjects? There is evidence that some vocational post-16 provision is being moulded into the AS/A2 system. Given Tomlinson; isn't this shutting the barn door after you've just led out all the horses into another barn? (to corrupt a metaphor!)


Post 16 provision is likely to change in all subjects as a result of Tomlinson. I believe that things such as the personal study (borrowed from IB???) will be used: certainly scope there for Historians to get involved as the skills are very smilar to those utilised in the A2 Personal Study. Worth noting the outcomes of the HA consultation on Tomlinson. There have been reerences to these in several threads on the forum, probably wisest to wait for the official report to be released (imminent) before making bold statements about what is likely to happen - though the increased vocational emphasis is almost inevitable.

Should we be more vocal about the range of vocational opportunities History A level gives access to....

OR

Should we be looking at ways to "vocationalise" the post-16 History offer? (Heritage Studies, links with Leisure and Tourism courses?)


We should press for a number of options to be made available that suit a wider range of students needs and skills. The current options focus on a number of highly relevant skills but ignore a range of other skills that ar transferable, relevant and assessable. Not enabling the development of these through a historical context prevents umpteen students from continuing their study of History beyond 14, let alone 16: and I'd argue that they can be assessed to the same level.

.

#4 Lou Phillips

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 01:39 PM

Is the International Baccalaureate a better solution?


I would say yes. I feel that I am uniquely placed to answer this question as a recent product of the IB who is now training to teach history at KS3/4/5 and I also teach a higher level IB class voluntarily.

The IB is a very rigorous course, it stretches students both physically and mentally and is an excellent preparation for university and future careers. However, I would stress that it is not for everyone. I had a very good profile of GCSE results and was well placed to approach all of the curriculum areas, however 'less academic' pupils would certainly struggle with the current syllabi.

From the point of view of history I feel it is a much better course than many of those offered at AS/A2. I studied the 20th century at standard level, comparing and contrasting european, african and asian states looking at dictatorships (Hitler, Nasser, Mao, Mussolini, Franco) and conflicts (the cold war, the arab-israeli conflict, the spanish civil war and the chinese civil war). At higher level I studied 19th Century europe in more depth.

The main strength of the IB is that it encourages students to look for links within the areas studied and outside the subject. All students take their own language, a foreign language, a science and maths as well as the 'Theory of Knowledge' course which promotes critical thinking and reflection. Rather than an 'english' course we studied world literature which really gave us a wide perspective.

Moreover, as I went on to study History and Politics at York I felt that I had an edge, in my first year at least, over some of my fellow undergraduates as I had good practice at juggling work and social life, research and extended writing and giving presentations. The TOK element of the programme had certainly helped with the 'What is history?' module we were required to take.
"True generosity towards the future consists of giving everything to the present" Albert Camus

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#5 mikel

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Posted 27 August 2004 - 03:01 PM

Is the International Baccalaureate a better solution?


I really think it is. I've taught A Level (back in the Dark Ages), I currently teach IB, and my wife teaches A/AS Level, so I keep up fairly well.

I think there are many great advantages to the IB:

1. It is a unified whole, where students are obliged, if the take the "full diploma", to take a braod range of subjects, including a humanities subject, their native language, a foreign language, a science and maths. The whole is tied together by obligatory "Theory of Knowledge" class hich seeks to show the strands which link the various subjects the students are studying.

2. I also like the "CAS" element in the programme in which students must participate actively in sporting, artistic and service projects.

3. There's only one exam! Some students choose to sit some of their 3 "Standard Level" exams after just one year, but others choose to wait and take them along with their 3 "Higher Level" exams after two years.

4. There is an internally assessed element in each subject in IB, but it seems to be better organized than it sometimes appears to be in A/AS Level.

As far as the history exam is concerned, I agree with the previous contributor whole commented on the depth and breadth of the program. The history studied is world history in Year 12. Students simply can't just study their own continent and just throw in a quick unit on something colonial to make up the weight.

In Year 13, students do focus on one region of the world -- I teach the European option -- but, again, there is considerable breadth here. I choose to teach the period from 1789-1889, covering all the major European regions.

I also like the focus put on documentary skills and on a major research project.

With regard to the point that the IB may be "too hard" for some students, this is certainly true. But are all students able to benefit from a full A Level program? Weaker students don't need to take the full six-subject "diploma" programme but could just study one or two "certificate" courses in specific subjects and then complete their programme with vocational or other appropriate courses.

Perhaps A/AS Levels have suffered from trying to be all things to all students. The IB is a rigorous programme, demanding a lot of background reading and research, and calling for high levels of written expression.
Mike Tribe




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