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03 History Course 2010-2012/13.

The course will consist of 3 ELEMENTS

The History of Medicine.[40%]

The American West.[35%]

An in-class assessment – a long essay broken up into 3 parts and written in class time but researched and prepared for in 10 weeks running up to the written assignments.  Students can bring in notes and pre-prepared work into the written sessions but have to work by themselves in sessions that last 1 hour, 1 hour and 2 hours.  This then makes up 25% of their final mark.  This assessment is completed in year two of the course when peoples’ writing skills and essay /research skills are stronger.

The Medicine course is studied over 3 terms and is examined in the final year [that could be June 2012 or June 2013].  It  traces the development of medicine from Prehistoric times through the Classical civilisations of Greece and Rome to the Modern day.  The exam is sat in the Science lab,lasts 2 hours and is made up of questions that none of us have seen but we all know the general areas that are going to be tested.

We begin the course with the American West, which looks at the fate of the Native Americans at the hands of the Whites in the period 1840-1890.  It is the  story of the nomadic Plains Indians who hunted the buffalo and how they were slowly forced off their land and onto Reservations.

Again the Course is examined in the final year of study with a written paper that lasts 2 hours and requires students to answer questions on a range of topics that they have worked on and revised.  All are encouraged to specialise and study in depth some topics that appeal to them and to study standard areas that I know may well be examined.  We use film and images, music and debate, text books, internet research and do standard things like note taking, some dictation and in-class tests.

History GCSE is a well-respected qualification and can do a number of things;

First and probably most important, it is, I hope, interesting and fun.  History can be a really good way of spending time in school.

Second, the qualification can help you get into college and further education.

Thirdly, by its very nature it helps you learn how to think, to argue, to challenge ideas and be critical of the world around you.

You will be able to study the course over two years or three.  I prefer to offer the course over three because there is a lot to it and it is nice to be able to go into more depth on areas where we all get interested rather than have to rush on because we are running out of time. This also allows some students to take time off from the course if they are getting stale or to spend extra time filling gaps in their skills or knowledge.  I think it is a real waste if I am working with bright and able people that we can’t go to University level at times and really become experts rather than bog-standard generalists.  Three years allows this to happen, although the two year option is always available if a student is happy to do more personal study in year two.

There are two classes per week and 100% attendance is the ideal.  Of course I will understand if other things take priorityand as long as students inform me and try to catch up on missed work.  Then I am happy to be flexible.  Missing too much is usually a recipe for disaster so I would encourage all to plan to do all the classes and to try to do all homeworks set.  I only set homework if I think it is useful and most work is set to allow the class time to be more discursive and give time for film and debate.  Obviously if the written work doesn’t happen somewhere and at sometime then I manage to turn out argumentative but illiterate students who are experts on the American West but are angry that their grade looks like they don’t know how to work.  Grades in the past have varied hugely but students have achieved everything from F to A*.  Huw will tell you about college and grade requirements but it is always good to aim high.

I am always happy to help with extra work and tutoring.  1-1 is often the best way to solve problems and help students overcome a difficulty.  You will all go through times when you struggle with motivation and the work load.  That doesn’t make you a bad student but it always helps to come and talk to me.  I wont be offended if I’m told that my lesson was rubbish and that you didnt understand.  It is usually my fault if you dont get it!  Don’t assume that you are stupid… assume that you should come and talk and we will work it out.

See you there,