Teaching for Understanding
The teaching of History is organised using the Harvard Project Zero ‘Teaching for Understanding’ framework as a supplement to the mandated requirements of the NSW Board of Studies.
The framework, when applied to History, encourages students to consider History’s big questions along with essential understandings and knowledge. Importantly, the framework demands that the disciplinary processes of the subject are brought to the fore so that students are able to think about how history works and how historical knowledge is constructed.
At Barker, the teaching of History is organised around the key concepts of evidence, change and continuity, historical significance, causation, constestability, interpretation and empathy.
The History Department puts a great emphasis on the value of formative assessment and takes every opportunity to build the principles of formative assessment into our learning and teaching programs.
A focus on ongoing assessment allows teachers to provide students with meaningful feedback with a focus on improvement rather than the obtaining of a mark. In some History courses a program of formative assessment has replaced termly summative tasks.
Year 7 students use the ‘Get it Grid’ to monitor their progress in the areas of knowing, understanding, writing and speaking history. Each area is organised in student friendly language to provide clear targets for progression.
Rather than submitting termly tasks, students In Year 11 Ancient and Modern History complete a portfolio of work. This allows students to use criteria and feedback to improve their responses and set targets for their learning.
The History Department encourages the involvement of students in the hands on study of History through Museum visits and excursions. Students can touch ancient artefacts, read through historical documents and look at statues to help develop their knowledge and understanding of History. These visits enable students to access a wide variety of historical topics and pieces of evidence which would not normally be seen in a regular classroom environment, thereby enhancing their study of the past.
Students in all years who study History have the opportunity to receive small group and individual help with class and assessment work, examination preparation, research and writing skills by accessing History Support which is run twice weekly. History Support enables students to focus on the development of particular skills under the eye of an experienced teacher of History who can provide both extension and remedial work. Students can attend regularly or as a one off to suit their particular needs and schedule.