To keep History at the core of the curriculum at Kinsale Community School, and to reach out into the community both locally and nationally in the formation of identity and culture.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
- To maintain History as a core subject at Junior Cycle at Kinsale Community School into the future.
- To maintain History as a Senior Cycle subject at Kinsale Community School.
- To link students to their local community through the study of History.
- To help to forge identity in students through the teaching of History.
- To create and maintain links with local cultural and historical groups.
- To teach History to students effectively at all levels of the spectrum.
- To strive to continuously update the skills of teachers in the department through continuing CPD and membership of and participation in the Cork History Teacher’s Association.
- That students will develop an appreciation of History as a key to understanding the world around them.
- That students will develop skills in literacy and independent research.
- Students will learn to think critically about contemporary and historical issues.
- Students will understand the development of society, politics and culture.
- Students will be able to apply these skills in a variety of practical contexts.
- Students will develop an enjoyment of learning through History.
Subject Teachers names: Diarmaid O’Donovan, Bertie Pearse, Tracy Fleming, Robert Bergin, Kevin Madigan, Niamh Sheehan, Geraldine Sheehy, Niall Murphy, Joanne O’Connor, Laura Ann Dunne, Orla Cronin.
Coordinator: Diarmaid O’Donovan
History is a core subject at Kinsale Community School. The syllabus laid down by the NCCA is followed by all teachers of the subject. The textbook currently being used is the latest (2016) edition of The Past Todayby Dermot Lucy. All teachers are encouraged to utilise the many external resources available to them on each section of the course. Three 40 minute classes are provided on the timetable, as recommended by the NCCA.
From ‘Historians at Work’ to ‘Our Roots in Ancient Civilization’ (Ancient Ireland) – (Christmas)
From ‘Ancient Rome’ to ‘The Renaissance’ (Summer)
From ‘The Age of Exploration’ to ‘Reformation’ (Christmas)
From ‘Plantation in Ireland’ to ‘Social Change in 18thand 19thc. England and Ireland’ (Summer)
From ‘Political Developments in Ireland in the 20thCentury’ to ‘International Relations in the 20thCentury’
At Transition Year Level a programme is in place that helps to bridge the gap between junior and senior cycle. This programme involves a competition for the Transition Year History Prizewhich is awarded to the students in each class that make the most effective presentation on a topic of historical interest. Students are expected to choose their own topic under the guidance of their teacher, to research the topic effectively and to give a ten minute presentation to their peers on their chosen topic. Students are pre-taught the skills of research and presentation and are marked in a structured and rigorous fashion.
History is an option chosen by students for the Leaving Certificate. The later modern course option is followed. Teachers are free to pick from the course options that are available according to their preferences. Much focus is given to the research project which constitutes 20% of the final mark. All History teachers are encouraged to teach at LC level should they wish to gain the experience. At the moment (2016-2017) Diarmaid O’Donovan and Robert Bergin are the LC History teachers. Five 40 minute class periods are allocated for senior History, as recommended by the NCCA.
·History is a subject that lends itself to various teaching methodologies that can bring the subject to life.
·Visual learning is constantly encouraged in the use of visual sources such as photographs, political cartoons and maps.
·The use of primary sources is paramount in History. The use of artefacts in the classroom can bring a physical learning experience to the students.
·Literacy is encouraged though the critical evaluation of written sources in the classroom.
·Higher level thinking is encouraged though the use of questioning strategies that elicit critical analysis of sources and opinions.
·Public exhibitions are regularly organised in which students produce projects on historical topics and work to teach members of the public in creative ways (see folder for exhibition materials)
In view of the mixed ability of all classes, an approach to teaching that utilises differentiation is essential to the practise of all teachers of History. History is a subject that lends itself naturally to a differentiated approach.
Use of visual sources, such as photographs, political cartoons, maps and charts can provide a stimulus for teaching most topics for students at all levels. The use of artefacts and activities, such as ‘archaeological digs’, can give students a hands on experience of History that leads to an interest in a topic that can be sustained.
Each teacher is encouraged to prepare differentiated plans for their particular class groups in the particular topics that they are teaching.
Team development/collaborative teaching and learning
Collaborative teaching and learning is integral to the ethos of the History Department. Teachers regularly cooperate in terms of the sharing of resources, strategies, methodologies and skills.
Collaborative teaching and learning can be most clearly illustrated in the practical and innovative public exhibitions that were produced by a team of History and other teachers for the benefit of a range of students.
Professional development and feedback
Many members of the History Department have been through the rigorous CPD provided by the DES in Leaving Certificate History throughout the last decade.
Each member of the History Department is a member of the Cork History Teachers Association which is an excellent, very active, professional development organisation for History teachers.
Mr. Diarmaid O’Donovan (Head of History at KCS) served as a member of the committee of the Cork History Teacher’s Association during the years 2013-2015 and is a regular speaker at their Leaving Certificate Seminars on the course topic Division and Realignment in Europe. Ms. Leona Forde is also a regular speaker at CHTA events on various Junior Cycle topics.
KCS History teachers are encouraged to attend various seminars on the teaching and learning of History throughout the academic year. They then share their learning and resources with the rest of the History team when they get back.
History is a subject that has a wide variety of literacy skills incorporated within it. Students are taught to use literary sources as effectively as possible. Critical evaluation of literary and visual sources is the most important skill taught through History. Students are taught to handle sources containing archaic language and to separate fact from opinion in secondary sources.
Word banks of historical concepts and key terms are created by students during each topic, which help them to increase their vocabulary and understanding of historiography.
Senior students are taught to use referencing / footnoting to create an academic essay in History. Research skills are also taught in TY and Senior History, with a focus on utilising primary sources and the critical evaluation of specialist secondary sources
Competency in numeracy is essential in both Junior and Senior History. Teachers are encouraged to make good use of the many opportunities for numeracy development throughout the History courses. Areas such as dates, chronology, statistics, map-reading, data sets, census forms, charts, graphs etc. relating to historical matters should be exploited to their fullest extent in the History classroom at all levels.
Reflection and evaluation
As a History Department we are each encouraged to reflect on our teaching practice, and the learning outcomes we achieve for our students. At team meetings we consistently evaluate our own performance and that of our students. Teachers are invited to share their classroom experience, methodologies and resources with the rest of the team. This is then often followed up with an assessment of how these practices and methodologies work for each teacher in practice. Reflective practice is the key to innovation and improvement in teaching and learning.