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What is the benefit of joining?

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#1 Andrew Field

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Posted 19 May 2004 - 09:41 PM

With the popularity of this forum growing all the time, it is interesting to note that so many people revisit the forum each day but don't actually register.

I was going to post this topic to ask them why, but that's rather a silly idea isn't it?

So instead, perhaps we could suggest our reasons why it is worth joining the forum, rather than simply lurking without registering.

Most importantly - you should register so you can actually join in. Fair enough to read the comments of others, but you'll only really benefit when you get involved yourself, posting your ideas, responding with your comments and offering your views.

Many feel that the existing members perhaps dominate or are some sort of 'bunch of nut cases'. Whilst I cannot speak for my online colleagues, all the regular posters do is literally get involved. You don't need to feel worried or concerned, instead we would welcome your involvement. As we build the sense of community further I am very keen to see this not as some sort of 'care in the community scheme', rather as something that as many people as possible get involved in and share ideas to make all our teaching better.

Over the next few months we are going to make a few improvements to make the forum more accessible. When the new version of the forum is released I will try to create a very clear front page that won't overwhelm you with hundreds of new posts. Instead it will allow you to select exactly what you want without any fear of confusion. In addition, I will work on making the search mechanism more useful. That is something that will help us all - the current system is rather 'clunky' to say the least. I will also create some traning materials for the forum - to highlight the benefits and allow you to show your departmental colleages what the forum really has to offer - the CPD benefits of the seminars, the teaching and learning ideas, the resource suggestions... and everything else.

If you wish to promote the forum, feel free to download and share the first version of our promotional flier - http://www.schoolhis...orum_poster.pdf (Adobe Acrobat file just under 1MB).

There are a few other developments which will be revealed in due course.

For now, do encourage other interested parties to sign up. It would be helpful if you could reply to this topic suggesting why people should do so....

Stephen Drew has put it beautifully:
"Wouldn't it be great if you could sit in a staffroom with dozens of History teachers from all over the UK (plus many from overseas) and discuss teaching and learning with them?

Wouldn't it be great if you could ask them to share with you any ideas they have about teaching?

Wouldn't it be great if you could ask these History teachers to give you some help with any problems you might be having from lesson planning, to classroom control, to parents, to interpreting the National Curriculum or GCSE syallbi to ....... well quite frankly to anything that you need to know or discuss?

Well that is what the History Teachers' Discussion Forum is.

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#2 andrew duff

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 09:39 AM

Hi Andrew, well I'll come right out and say I think the forum is just fab. I check in a couple of times a day to catch the latest messages. All sorts of interesting hints and tips (I've printed loads of bits for my forthcoming A level class this September). Carole has been amazingly helpful in pointing me in the direction of sources and I've swapped ideas and videos with other members. I'm also attending a Sixth form History swapshop next month as a result of the forum (looking forward to that, I'm contributing a full-on interactive Battle of Naseby; toys, video, books the works). So, to all you lurkers out there, sign up and contribute, the water's lovely!
Best wishes

#3 Lou Phillips

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 09:53 AM

As a trainee, I have found this forum almost invaluable. I have been able to ask for advice and get loads of excellent hints and tips. I want more people to join for the simple selfish reason that more heads are better than one, or two, or three etc!
"True generosity towards the future consists of giving everything to the present" Albert Camus

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#4 Dom_Giles


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Posted 20 May 2004 - 09:55 AM

When I first stumbled across this site I lurked for a while as I just didn't want to be registered to anything on the internet. It might be that people are worried they will be inundated with emails, adverts, messages, etc. Some people like the anonymity of the internet. It is a shame as the forum is in danger of looking like it's a small club which it isn't and certainly shouldn't be.

So, why join the forum?

Well, if you lurk or revisit the forums why not join? I have learnt a lot from looking at this site and surprised myself by deciding to join. I'd never joined any other website and haven't since, but have learnt SO MUCH MORE from actually being a member. I haven't got a lot to contribute (which is perhaps why some people don't join) but I have had so much help from members by having my questions answered. It really is like having a classroom full of teachers ready and willing to help out. Several times I have posted questions which have been answered in minutes, by experts. If you work in a small school and are the only History teacher then this forum is a god send.

If you haven't joined because you aren't a computer "geek" then please don't let that put you off. I know very little (it took me ages to work out how to get around the site and I still can't type in bold! *) but can manage with the help of members who are all friendly and helpful. I have even just set up my own student forum for my A Level classes based on this site. It has impressed SMT, gained me brownie points, is quite simple and easy and the students love it. I would never have even know how too or had the courage to try it without the help and advice I have received from being a member of this site.

So, why join?

You will get so much more out of it.
You don't have to be a computer expert and your name won't be handed out on the WWW.
It looks good on your CV (I am a member of a Internet based History discussion forum)
IT'S FUN :woo:

P.S. * See what I mean, you learn something new every day from being a member of this forum!! :thumbup

Edited by Dom_Giles, 21 May 2004 - 06:43 AM.

Thinking is SO important Baldrick. What do YOU think?
I think thinking is SO important, my Lord.

#5 Rachel Jones

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 10:08 AM

I joined just over a year ago before I began my PGCE course at Durham. People will probably know that I started the PGCE diary section in the New Teachers and Trainees section of the forum.

To me, this section has been an absolute lifeline. It might sound a bit extreme, but I sometimes wonder how I would have made it through this far if it weren't for the support I've had from people on the forum. Yes, I moan, and yes, I whinge, but that's the way I am. And as yet, not one person has said "stop moaning" or "stop whinging" - they've all just helped me through it.

At home, I get all the love and support I could ask for, but it's coming from people who don't understand what it's like to be a student teacher. People on the forum do understand what it's like, and they're either there with you, or they've been there and remember what it's like.

I have "spare mentors" on the forum. There are times when you have something you want to say or ask, but you don't quite know who to turn to at your school, as maybe you don't know how it will make you look in their eyes - no problem! Ask the forum! For all the ups and downs that I've had through my course so far, I don't think that there's been anything that has been beyond the people on here.

I am an absolute forum addict, and am on there every night. To me, it's so reassuring to see that it's not just me who's having problems. I might be the one shouting loudest, but I'm not alone. And that kind of reassurance is what has got me through to where I am now. And as Lou (kind of) says, the more heads the merrier. We all learn from each others mistakes and achievements. We all get better. We don't re-invent the wheel, and we don't all fall in the same traps. We look out for each other, and we help each other.

IN my humble opinion, the forum is a lifeline and should be compulsory for all PGCE students!

Que sera, sera

#6 Paul Smith

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 10:47 AM

Also just knocked up first anniversary.

As somebody working exclusively post 16, it keeps me in touch with what is going on 11 -16.

I have established contact with many excellent teachers, developed a good number of "virtual" friends - eventually may get to meet some of you!(even you Walker! ;) )

The debate on the subject is passionate, sometimes heated but it is clear we all care deeply.

Its an instant helpline for everything from subject and career advice to the location of worlds most famous(infamous) pickled members (you'll have to find the thread!)

It is the envy of every colleague (non historian) who views the site

Rather like milk, ain't it brilliant!

Cassus ubique vale

#7 MrsB


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Posted 20 May 2004 - 03:05 PM

It helped me to get a new job by keeping me informed of current developments in the state sector!

some wonderful members even gave me a vitual interview on the live chat section last year.

A chance to bounce ideas off each other
It's only a job!

#8 DAJ Belshaw

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 03:13 PM

I would wholeheartedly recommend this forum. I've only been on here as a registered member for a few weeks, but it's really helped my teaching.

You may think, as I used to, that the best thing is to just get ideas from the forums without joining in. However, doing that you miss out on lots of personalized advice and ideas!

Join the revolution! :zorro:

Doug :hehe:

#9 AdamCrawte


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Posted 20 May 2004 - 04:50 PM

What I like about this forum is you can ask really stupid questions and within a day you will have replies that fill in that worrying gap in your knowledge.

As a trainee this has been invaluable and can sometimes avoid the embarrassment of having to ask my mentor! Also you find out that lots of other people have had or are having the same problems or questions

Thank you to all my extra mentors, especially the admin team who can always be counted on for an instant reply to my stupid questions
If it ain't broke, don't fix it

#10 Dan Moorhouse

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 05:20 PM

Much of the above applies to us administrators as well!

I've benefitted hugely from advice about GCSE and AS/A2 that has been posted on the forum and sent via PM / E-mail. My teaching and departmental plans and policies have improved as a result of constructive criticisms that have been offered by people and the pupils I teach have found lessons more varied, interesting and accessible as a result of many of the ideas that I've culled from here. Leading a smallish department its hard to get loads of new ideas into school - pop on the forum and I suddenly find myself part of a huge department.

I must add to Rachel's comments about the PGCE section: it's not just the young 'uns who benefit from this. We pick up lots of new ideas from the trainees on the forum as you lot have fresh ideas, benefit from being told the latest techniques and ideas and are more enthusiastic about teaching than many of the people we share a staffroom with.

#11 Richard Drew

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 06:59 PM

much of what i get from the forum has already been mentioned.

OK you can get a lot from just browsing, nothing wrong with that, but what else can you from actually joining and posting?

my main points would be:

~ a great place to ask for ideas for websites, textbooks, resources, new courses about the specific things you want to know about

~ the great feeling that you get when you can reciprocate such requests, and see your own lessons/resources being used in other schools (and then the surreal feeling of going on courses or to other schools and being told about a good activity/lesson they do that you actually came up with in the first place!!!!)

~ a brilliant place to let off steam/ask for advice - either on the main forum/via PM/ on live chat (depending on the issue) - about an awkward/unusual event/incident, especially when you don't want to make an idiot of yourself in your own school!!!!
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#12 Andrew Field

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 07:15 PM

Thanks for all the posts so far - a real encouragement to get people registering and getting involved. Nice one. :thumbup

One part that was good to read was Dom's comment:

If you haven't joined because you aren't a computer "geek" then please don't let that put you off. I know very little (it took me ages to work out how to get around the site and I still can't type in bold!) but can manage with the help of members who are all friendly and helpful.

Dom - excellent to hear. You can type something in bold by highlighting it and pressing the B button. Other ways too, but not needed. ;)

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#13 Guest_JaneFJones_*

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 07:16 PM

I can whole-heartedly concur with all the previous comments. This forum has been a professional lifeline to me AND a source of personal help and advice AND not least, such a source of laughter with people doing the same stuff.

Thanks to eveyone who has exchanged ideas, helped with problems and with whom Ive swapped videos. If you join up you can join in.

#14 A Finemess

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 08:17 PM

Speaking as fully paid up nut case ...

The huge issue for UK teachers is their reluctance to talk about teaching. Call it British reticence, the amateur ethic, unwillingness to be seen as "too clever by half", staff room cynicism, whatever. It is simply not done to talk about lessons well done or (to a lesser extent) positive things about pupils.

A web site like this one is the answer to all that. It's a bit like an AAA meeting. People can get together and get mutual support, share ideas and enthusiasm and not be cynical for a while.

"My name is A Finemess and I'm a History teacher!"

And of course, you don't have to use your own monicker (as I have done of course). The Finemesses have a long and proud history. Major Martin (deceased 1943) was a relative of mine and a great great grandfather was killed at the Little Big Horn. Not that he was a soldier, he just went over to complain about the noise.
“All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out otheir dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”.(T.E. Lawrence)
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#15 Gidz


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Posted 20 May 2004 - 08:40 PM

I am not a 'groupie' but I do log in on a regular basis. This forum has become the ideal environment to test, suggest and develop ideas. The support is both confident and non-patronising. I have been introduced to a number of highly motivated people and some scarily motivated ones too.


Looking forward to the future.


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