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American West Railroads

Discussion in 'History' started by AtleesTaxi, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. The thing I would consider too is that the dramatic decrease in buffalo numbers forced the plains tribes into smaller and smaller clusters. It was this effect that made the Plains Wars of the late 1860s and 1870s strategically viable with reasonably small numbers of US troops. Although Gold found in the Black Hills was the rationale for the campaign it is pretty clear the extermination of the plains tribes (either via forcing them onto reservations or through conflict) was the long term aim in US Government Policy. So the impact of the railroad on the Indian Wars and the subsequent land left for settlement because of this is something I would consider. I don't get to teach this lesson at the moment but would love to.
    Good Luck.


  2. Umm not really. The concept of interpretations is about looking at and explaining how OTHER PEOPLE have interpreted a key person or event NOT about making up your own interpretations. There is nothing wrong with the question per se but it does not test interpretations. If you were going to look at the railways in books, films and tourist sites and analyse how they interpret railways then you would be looking at interpretations. :)
  3. Why split a Key Skills Unit in half? Interpretation means both assessing other people's interpretation, but also using supporting evidence to create your own interpretation. Pupils engage the most when they analyse evidence and ocme up with their own conclusion. Fact.
  4. The fact is that there are too many people out there still teaching Interpretations badly. "I'm doing whether Oliver Cromwell was a villain or not so I'm doing interpretations"...no you're not. I have been to so many conferences discussing this but people are still not getting it. Using evidence to support conclusions is actually more Source use and evaluation which of course all go together with interpretations but it does not help kids to muddle up concepts (as I think you will find they are called in the National Curriculum)...
  5. Ironically, this is open to interpretation!

    Regardless as to whether you teach them to appreciate others' interpretations or to construct their own historical interpretation, this is still fundamentally interpretation work! The former is more of a stand-alone skill than the latter, but nobody said that the 'concepts' (or rebranded 'KSU's! - but I'm not pedantic!) could not be merged. In fact, the former involves historiography which is more of a KS5 skill than KS3 skill, so one would indeed expect KS3 History students to get a feel for interpretation through the latter.

    To be honest, I think that there are much bigger issues to worry about at conferences - such as the fact that enquiry questions are often too dull so i go back to my original point - don't just simply put an enquiry question - 'How did the railroads affect the West?'
  6. One way they could get a feel for the former is to show pictures - 'to analyse the message' - but they will be fed up with this soon enough as GCSE is full of this style of interpretation exercise.

  7. I totally agree with you about enquiry questions but they need to be conceptually focussed to really drive an enquiry forward over 5-6 lessons. What worries me is that the lessons you are trying to sell everyone are not as helpful as may first appear...
  8. This is not about my lessons - this is about helping somebody going to interview. I don't know how you know about my lessons because only a few people have downloaded - I have realised this is not going to get me rich (!) but I tried. I think they are very good (and the people who have e-mailed me to thank me think likewise), and I am yet to discover somebody who has a better bank of lessons.
    Back to the point, I totally agree with you regarding the fact that enquiries have to be 'conceptually focussed' over the whole unit - it kind of goes without saying really. I don't think the interviewee will be teaching 5-6 lessons though!
    The other key bit of feedback I had after my very first interview was that you must make sure that all the children are engaged. (At interview stage it is very difficult to ascertain how to make suitably differentiated sources, but you should try and gauge whether all the pupils in the class are 'following' the learning. A good way to check if they understand is to give them a piece of paper each. Ask the class a question and they all have to write down the answer (make it a short answer). Then, simultaneously ('after 3'), they all raise their answer. - A quick, easy way to tell if everybody is on track as a bare minimum. This goes down well. Too many interviewees hide their head in the sand if they sense that somebody is 'not getting it'.
    Hope this helps

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