Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Why Study KS3 History Online ?

‘It’s all about the past!’
‘Why do we have to learn about dead people?’
‘Can’t we learn about the future?’

These are just a few of the questions I’ve been asked over the years when teaching a history group for the first time.

The correct way to respond I suppose is to shoot back with a snappy defence of my subject. I’ve seen other teachers do this with a text book, prescribed response:

‘In order to understand the present, we need to know about the past’.

This is an admirable response, but I don’t use it.

I respond with ‘It’s a great subject. And you’ll find out why this year’.

I attach a personal link to it and also throw down the hint of goodies to be had in the future. Some students will continue to moan, whilst others will then ask what we’re going to be looking at. Very often this has been a project on their local town or city. Family and local connections are powerful ways to start a child thinking about the past, their identity and how they fit into the ‘big’ picture.

But what if you were born abroad (or moved at an early stage) and are British? How do you learn about your cultural heritage and develop cultural reference points? This is where we hope Blackhen Education’s new history courses will help.
Obviously a student can find out in a variety of ways, be it on the internet, TV documentaries or good old fashioned books. But where do you start and what do you cover?

Our new online History courses hope to answer these questions, for both parent and child alike. Just as keeping up their native language requires work for the ex-pat, bilingual student, cultural identity or just knowledge of their ‘home’ country does as well.

The key question for most students, even if unasked, is how did we get to where we are today? Why is it that we vote? Why don’t we execute people anymore? Why is Shakespeare so popular around the World? How did Britain become such a powerful country? Why isn’t it still?  Why did my great grandfather fight in the war? Can bad events bring about positive things?

At Blackhen Education we hope that our history courses will firstly help create an overview of key historical events in British history. This will then provide a framework for cultural knowledge and awareness.

If a student chooses, at the end of Key Stage 3 they can then start an IGCSE course in History. This is something that can definitely help if they are interested in studying at post-18 back in the UK.

Finally, by studying history the ex-pat student can also at the same time support their English language skills, both in reading and writing. As is so often the case in Education, the study of English and History overlap and complement one another.

This post was written by Andy Mackay - IGCSE English and KS3 History tutor at Blackhen Education.

For more details about our new KS3 (11-14yrs)History courses or English courses, please contact us at: