Category Archives: History Lesson Ideas and Experiences

Change and the Humanities

So here’s a thought about making learning in the Humanities more interesting to children…

I’ve been writing a paper (along with three others) about looking at the concept of change in the Humanities and was reminded of an experience I had:

It was toward the end of my third main teaching practice, so pickling up some well needed confidence now! I was given the task of introducing the Topic of Ancient Greeks to a Year 5 class. I decided to do this around a major sporting event that had occurred about 8 months previously – London 2012 Olympics!


As we got into some interactive learning around what the differences were between the two, Ancient and Modern, the class realised there was no Olympic Torch Relay in the Ancient Olympics. This brought up many questions – why was it introduced? Was there any purpose in continuing it in today’s Olympics?

A spark had been ignited! Should I fan the flames or carry on onto the next topic?

In Literacy we were beginning a new topic on Persuasive Writing. The very next lesson I threw out precious planning, painstakingly prepared, and took a risk. I set the classroom up for a debate. The children would simply stand in a place in the classroom to show their opinion – Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree and Strongly Disagree – to answer one question – Should the Olympic Torch Relay be continued to Rio 2016?

The class responded marvellously. Children were stating opinions and reasons for them (persuading), children were changing their opinions because of reasons made by other class members (collaboration) and all focused around one key concept – change!

You see, i’m a big believer that as we are educating the future politicians, doctors, teachers, architects, dancers, plumbers – whatever, and we need to equip them for change. Frey predicted that by 2030, half the jobs we know of today will have vanished – replaced by jobs we have not even conceived yet. We do not just need to teach them what happened, for example, at the Ancient Olympics, but we need to equip them with the skills to influence and change future Olympics for the better.

Of course this is not just related to Olympic Organising, but for any job sector – change is inevitable. If as educators we can help children understand what change is, why it happens how it happens and how they can influence it, they will be so much more prepared for the future!

PS – tried getting three video of talk embedded but it’s playing up so, for now, link will have to do!;search%3Atag%3A%22turkish%22


photo credit: adamsofen via photopin cc
photo credit: Send me adrift. via photopin cc