Triumphs Show 144: Active learning to engage ‘challenging students'

Teaching History feature

By Lucy Whittington, published 11th October 2011

What was terrifying about the use of chemical warfare during the First World War?

Active learning to engage and challenge ‘challenging students'

Historical significance may have been the ‘forgotten element' in 2002 when Rob Phillips first offered us the acronym ‘GREAT', but it has been seized upon with enthusiasm by the history education community. Christine Counsell's now famous five ‘R's (remarkable, remembered, resonant, resulting in change and revealing) proved a rich resource for many even before their revival and re-invention at the hands of Geraint Brown and James Woodcock. But the high expectations implied by such alliterative arguments, or the earnest injunctions to ensure that students generate and debate their own criteria, can seem overwhelming and utterly unattainable when faced with a class of disaffected teenage boys - with a reputation for challenging behaviour, low self-esteem and an aversion to writing. Yet a single focus on just one criterion, rigorously and imaginatively pursued, can bring both the events of the past and the debate alive, even for the most reluctant learners...

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