For years, history has not been a popular subject in schools with the sciences taking a more prominent position. However, the situation has now changed with history becoming more important in the school curriculum. At the moment there is a surge of interest in the past with a plethora of historical drama on television, period costume films being made and numerous computer games set in the era of the ancient Romans, Vikings and medieval period.
This reassurance has increased the demand for history teachers, both in Primary and Secondary education. Teaching history need not be dry or needlessly academic. There is plenty of scope to keep the subject alive with the use of films in the classroom and innovative computer programs to inspire the pupils. A good teacher will hunt around to find suitable resources that can be brought into a school that can be touched and held by the pupils. Mock battles can be organised, or perhaps a Viking raid where one class invades another and “steals” all their books, pens and pencils!
If the school budget allows, a great alternative is to hire a history specialist to come to your school and present a period workshop for your pupils. A good presenter will bring lots of historical resources with them that can be handled and examined by the students.
The presenter of an ancient roman workshop, for example, may arrive dressed in costume, perhaps as a roman soldier or wearing a toga. He or she may bring ancient roman weapons such as pilums and hastas (spears) or a roman sword (gladius). A business specialising in Roman workshops can be found at http//www.schoolromanvisit.co.uk
A Viking re-enactor can attend the classroom, dressed in costume and show the class Viking and Saxon artefacts. He is certain to have a Viking axe, sword, and other weapons as well as every day period items including horns (both for blowing and drinking) and other resources. The best workshops will feature coin striking. Our favourite can be found at http://www.schoolvikingvisit.co.uk and during the history workshop, every pupil strikes a Viking silver penny using original specification coin dies which they can keep!
Many children in the UK have stated that their favourite history period us the Tudors with the colourful story of Henry VIII and all his wives. They are especially fascinated by the executions and chopping off heads! Of course, there is much to excite interest in this time of English history and flesh can be put on the bones by hiring a Tudor specialist to attend the classroom.
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