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Pre-pgce Excitement

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#1 Sheridan


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Posted 08 May 2003 - 02:35 PM

Hi there,
First post here. I'm currently the Learning Resources Manager of a school in Camden (secondary), which basically means Library and ICt stuff. I've been doing it for 3 years. I start a PGCE history at the IOE in September, and i'm really looking forward to it. But, i've a couple of queries, easily answered, i suspect, by you lot. :teacher:

one: Out of a mamoth reading list, what books do you all REALLY recommend?
two: I'm a little worried about how i'll react to a different school. I can control a room full of 70+ students on a rainy lunchtime, and it's a difficult school too, but i don't know if this past experience will be an advantage or not. Will the same behaviour techniques work in a class? Should i "unlearn" stuff?
three: I've observed loads of lessons. And been offered lots of lesson plans by friendly teachers. Should I read through them? I already know the curriculum pretty well (the joys of common tasks at homework club). I'm not sure, basically, how much stuff and advice to accept before i start. I don't want to fill my head with lesson plans that might not be "me".
four: I did my history degree 8 years ago. I'm 31 now. I'm a little panicked that i might not have enough historical knowledge fresh in my head, though i've always read a lot of history.

Probably over-reacting, but i'm nervous and excited at the same time.

Also, i noticed from previous postings: does no-one else teach "Spread of Islam" in Yr 8? It's a big thing at my school.

Anyway, any pre-PGCE advice appreciated. Especially on how to make the money stretch....

sheridan :)
"Sandals are the skeletons of shoes"

#2 Elle


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Posted 08 May 2003 - 02:58 PM

A book I recommend (I cant remember who wrote it, but I'm sure others here will know) is called "Getting the Buggers to Behave". I found it on a shelf at a friends house during a party and sneaked off to bed early to read it because it was that interesting! Or am I just very sad? Good luck with the PGCE.


You're scared of mice and spiders, but oh-so-much greater is your fear that one day the two species will cross-breed to form an all-powerful race of mice-spiders, who will immobilize human beings in giant webs in order to steal cheese.


#3 John Simkin

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 03:12 PM

Welcome to the group. You should find the History Forum very useful as a PGCE student.

Your experience looking after children at lunchtimes will come in useful. I ran an off-licence before I became a teacher. I found the experience of dealing with large groups of youngsters outside my shop very useful. I also found my experiences as a political activists also useful. There are many similarities between a classroom of Y9 students and hecklers at a political meeting.

I would not bother about collecting individual lesson plans at this stage. I would concentrate on thinking about what kind of teaching strategies you are going to use in the classroom.

Think about the different teaching methods that you experienced as a student. Which ones worked for you? How did good teachers hold your interest in class? Most of all I would say. Remember, your main task as a teacher is to help develop life-long learners. The impact of a good teacher does not only last for the time you are at school.

As far as books are concerned I still have copies of the ones I had for my PGCE in 1977-78. Believe it or not, I still refer to them today. Those that I found especially useful include:

Dennis Gunning, The Teaching of History
Douglas Holly, Beyond Curriculum
John Taylor, Simulation in the Classroom
Jerome Bruner, The Process of Education
Douglas Barnes, From Communication to Curriculum
Neil Postman, Teaching as a Subversive Activity
Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Nicholas Otty, Learner Teacher
Geoff Whitty and Michael Young, Explorations in the Politics of School Knowledge

However, I should warn you, I trained in Pre-Thatcher Britain when teachers were trained to think for themselves. It might not be considered a good idea to read such books today.

Edited by John Simkin, 08 May 2003 - 09:09 PM.

#4 Russel Tarr

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 03:24 PM

I have recommended it before and I'll do so again - The Teacher's Toolkit is, I think, absolutely brilliant. No waffle, no jargon, just practical and inspiring ideas for classroom activities. Each page in section 2 has a different idea, and there isn't a bad one among them.

"There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good" - Stephen Colbert

#5 Dan Lyndon

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 07:17 PM

The best book I read was called the 'Craft of the classroom' by Michael Marland (who I believe is now one of our esteemed leader's key advisers in the DFES). It was a totally practical hands on little book which really helped me learn about classroom management techniques amongst other things.

The fact that you can survive working in a school library (if it is anything like the library at my school) means that you will be well equipped in most classrooms. As for your concerns about not knowing enough about the history in the National Curriculum, don't worry - I did a degree in African History and knew virtually nothing before the 19th century, apart from the English Civil War. I had to learn it all the night before I taught it, but I just tiold myself that if an 11 year old can understand about the Battle of Hastings then I should be able to manage it! Now I think that it is a positive advantage; I can share stories with students from all aound the world and it is really lovely to see their faces when they realise that I can share a bit about their history as well as teaching them about 1066.
Until the lion has a historian of his own, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.

#6 Carole Faithorn

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 12:11 AM

Also, i noticed from previous postings: does no-one else teach "Spread of Islam" in Yr 8? It's a big thing at my school.

Anyway, any pre-PGCE advice appreciated. Especially on how to make the money stretch....

sheridan  :)

I think a few people teach 'The Spread of Islam'. Russel Tarr certainly does and you may care to take a look at the relevant part of his site: islamic Civilisations

As for making the money stretch ...... don't drink, don't smoke, don't go out, buy a sack of potatoes and live on potato/cauliflour/boiled egg curry and home made chapatis. B)

I think you're right not to rely on other people's lesson plans. You need to develop your own ideas and style first. Though it could be a good idea to accept all offers and squirrel them away for future reference.

It sounds to me as if you are going to be a great teacher :teacher: The fact that you are already giving it so much thought and visiting this Forum is a good indication of that. If you can keep 70+ under control in a relatively unstructured situation I doubt whether you'll have too many problems in the classroom.

#7 jo norton

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 08:46 AM

I teach Islamic Civilisations as well - and its popular with the pupils. As for reading for a PGCE I would recommend Teaching History magazine from the Historical Association - its almost as useful as this forum! It gives practical lesson ideas, full lessons and even schemes of work.

And I agree with Carole if you can control them over a rainy lunchtime you'll do great :woo:

#8 Danno44


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Posted 11 May 2003 - 03:32 PM

:teacher: Subject specific teaching books dont come much better than Terry hayden's book - teaching history in the secondary school.

if it hasnt been said before I would strongly recomend getting yourself subscribed to 'teaching History' edited by C Counsell - excellent for teaching ideas and uptodate subject specific theory.
Dan Browning

#9 MrsB


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Posted 11 May 2003 - 04:36 PM

I didn't find many of the specific 'history teaching' books THAT useful on the PGCE. Instead, I loved "Essential teaching skills" by Chis Kyriacou
For history stuff the BEST are the articles from teaching history. On the PGCE I used to photocopy my favourites and file them, but I now subscribe and think its a great resource - unlike books, it's always up to date.

It's only a job!

#10 John Simkin

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Posted 11 May 2003 - 05:20 PM

You can join the HA and subscribe to Teaching History at:

#11 Dan Moorhouse

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 04:55 PM

Just a simple post to bump this to the top of the pile in anticipation of a few new PGCE students doing a bit of pre-course reading.

The links and information provided in this thread are all very useful pieces of advice, if you are about to start a course.

#12 Jan.D


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Posted 03 August 2004 - 05:32 PM

I have just finished my PGCE and I found 'Learning to Teach History in the Secondary School' by Haydn, Arthur and Hunt very helpful (ISBN 0-415-25340-3.) I also echo what has been said about teaching history - it helps me to be creative in a way which actually works!

However, with all the experience you have had, you are already well ahead of the field! :teacher:

Good luck.

#13 DAJ Belshaw

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 06:48 AM

four: I did my history degree 8 years ago. I'm 31 now. I'm a little panicked that i might not have enough historical knowledge fresh in my head, though i've always read a lot of history.


I've just finished my PGCE after getting married in the same year, and let me tell you - when they say it's a hard year, they're not kidding! That's not to scare you off, just to let you know that it's not the intellectual content which is staggering, but just the amount of stuff you have to get through! :blink:

Regarding not having enough historical knowledge, I really wouldn't worry. My degree wasn't in History and I coped absolutely fine. Learning or re-learning things whilst teaching can be a good thing in that it's fresh in your mind and you're likely to present it with enthusiasm. :D

When it comes to books, the Haydn book is good and so is 'Getting the Buggers to Behave'. However, I reckon you can get by without buying either of them. It depends how good the libraries are that you can get access to and how good your mentors are in the way of suggesting ideas and strategies.

I wish everyone starting a PGCE this academic year all the best. Remember - if you're staying up past midnight regularly, there's something going wrong somewhere! :teacher:

Doug :hehe:

#14 Andrew Field

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 10:40 AM

Just as a side note - do be aware that Dan brought this topic back to life recently so new members could use it - if you look at the date Sheridan's post was actually in 2003.

Obviously though, all the comments and ideas still stand!

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