11 October 2010

Schlieffen Plan and Teaching Modern History...

As the last post suggests, I am in Cootamundra! I am teaching at Cootmaundra High School for my final practicum. I have completed Day One. So, there are only 19 more days to go...

I am teaching the Core component of the HSC Modern History syllabus (well, at least part of it anyway). I am pretty well prepared, but like anything else there is always the prospect of Mr. Murphy turning up and bringing along his laws of chaos. Besides, in my limited high school teaching experience to date, if there is one thing that I have learned it is this, lesson planning is critical. Now, that said, it is possible to prepare a lesson which covers all the bases; syllabus outcomes, content, differentiated learning styles, quality teaching outcomes, and whatever else takes your fancy in the buzz words stakes. However, no matter how good this lesson is on paper, it can all go arse about face in a matter of seconds.

I only mention this because I wonder where my arse about face moments are going to spring up. I have prepared a whole series of lessons to teach the bulk of the four week practicum that I am currently on with a view to just adding little bits and pieces to have a complete package, and if I do say so myself - they are good, very good. Engaging and all that other "right" stuff that is expected of graduate teachers.

Anyway, I digress with the blowing my own trumpet thing. Back to the Schlieffen Plan.

I have a lesson plan to teach the Schlieffen Plan. It is a lesson that runs for 50 minutes. However, in terms of preparing it, doing the research, putting the materials / content in place, and setting it up to be taught, I have spent a considerable amount of time learning about the Schlieffen Plan. The background reading and the deep knowledge / understanding stuff takes a whole lot of time to master. People do undergraduate and post-graduate degrees on this topic alone.

So, this is where I am thinking Mr. Murphy might show up. I am wondering at 03.29 (yes, that is the am) whether I can truly impart the deep knowledge and understanding that my lesson aims for in the 50 minutes that I have to do it. I wonder this even though my lesson looks good, very good, on paper.

This is the thing about teaching; the process. I have written about the "lights on" moments a couple of times in the blog. I am really hoping that later this morning when I teach the Schlieffen Plan that there are at least 10 lights on moments (maybe 11 if I include the teacher supervising my practicum. But his lights on moment would be, "wow, the boy can teach!)!


I am a life-long learner. I have learned a few things in putting this lesson together. Perhaps more accurately, I have come to appreciate a new perspective on how I might go about teaching this part of the core HSC Modern History course. Maybe, just maybe, I will get the students to do a major assessment task in this part. I am thinking a video where they explain, assess, discuss or even re-enact how the Schlieffen Plan came to be or was executed, and then why it failed. The failure, after all, is what they really need to understand in order to lead into the reasons the war of movement ended in favour of static war, which is the next part that I cover...trench warfare.

But, when it is all said and done, I am prepared! So, come what may (hopefully I am ready).

12 comments:

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lawbugger said...

And I thought teaching "how tribunals operate in Australia" was far-out. I cant say Ive ever head of the said Plan. But I can imagine you and the class digging trenches in the school oval!!

Rob Baiton said...

@ Lawbugger...

Long time, no hear! It has been peaceful around here ;)

You must have been busy or my posts have been crap.

There are some OH&S issues with digging trenches in the playground. Although, I am about to run a lesson that involves chalking up the quadrangle to run a couple of the major battles in and around Ypres.

lawbugger said...

NO I read em all. Just no time to comment oh prodiguous one!!

.......There's nothing better (well maybe that's a slight exaggeration) than a good lesson... if you know what I mean (you're not a teacher yet right!!??)

I heard a good one on Charlie Rose last night..... the biggest room in the world is the "room to improve" . that's a part of what teaching is about....

Lawb

Rob Baiton said...

@ Lawb...

Really, including the most recent one on Tera Patrick?

Thanks!

Oooooooohhhhhhhhhh, the old "you're not a teacher yet are you" line. I have not heard that yet from my current crop of students. Maybe they are still testing me out or sizing me up?

I am a lifelong learner. So, there is always something new for me to be learning.

Improve. Yeah, I can improve. I have just finished critically reflecting on the lessons I taught on Tuesday. The lesson plans were good, the delivery was good, the outcomes...well, that was what needed the most critical reflection.

The key is making the content engaging. If the content is engaging and students are learning without really thinking to much about it, then that means to me that they are enjoying the content (and therefore, engaged).

So, yep, I am always seeking to be better and more learned on all that I do. Right now, that is teaching high school students about WWI in Modern History and Denise Levertov in Advanced English.

Rob Baiton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lawbugger said...

yes engagement is one key. But I am often disappointed that the 'engaged impressions made' fade fast from their mind, no matter how impressively made. I put it down to lack of follow up on their part. And then, I often feel that because my presentation was so impressive (if I may say so) they come to feel that they dont need to follow up. That problem I have not solved yet.

Of course I urge them to follow up and even to challenge me - whilst I am still on this earth. These habits are not easy to instill. It also hard to model them: I mean am I ever going to 'challenge' another teacher/person in front of them?

Lawb

Rob Baiton said...

@ Lawb...

One does what they can. It is not a perfect world and there is unlikely ever to be the perfect scenario.

I am in search of making a positive contribution to the community in which I live.

H. Nizam said...

Hi Rob,
It is good to know that you are now doing your practicum. I supposed that's the final step before you complete your study (???)
Good luck.

Rob Baiton said...

@ Harry...

It is! In fact, I am just 16 days away from completing my final prac.

So far, so good. I would not say that I am doing a perfect job, but overall it is a pretty good one.

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