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Medieval overview/diachronic lessons


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#1 Guest_Nick Dennis_*

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 06:22 PM

After going to the SHP and finally taking notice of my PGCE tutor (!) I'm planning an overview/diachronic series of lessons at the end of year 7. Under the title 'Nothing useful came out of the middle ages, did it?' (also from a SHP presentation) the idea is to bring all the different aspects together. I'm just not sure of the other areas to include. Obvious ones include the changes and continuities in government and religion (things we go into in year 8), and how people lived. For the crime and punishment specialists out there, is there anything I could add?

#2 JohnDClare

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 06:52 PM

Diachronic?
What's that?
Please excuse my ignorance.

#3 Ed Waller

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 07:15 PM

Diachronic?

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Lasting through time, or through a period/era etc, includes change over time if you go back to its structuralist/linguistic roots.

Blame Saussure, its a linguistic term juxtaposed with synchronic etc.

As for Nick's initial question a start can be foundhere. It's a GCSE link from this site, but not too taxing for year 7 or 8. It would depend on whether it was a lesson or part of it.

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#4 alison denton

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 07:47 PM

Diachronic?
What's that?
Please excuse my ignorance.

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Quite!

At the Euroclio Conference hosted by AHTW in Cardiff in 2004, Alan Kelly presented a workshop called 'diachronic dancing'. Can't find anything but references to it on web though: no summary or anything, though I'm sure it was written up in an issue of Welsh Historian after the conference.

Have just re-read this post - sounded patronising (sorry). Meant to clearly suggest that the jargon gets in the way. I still don't understand diachronic and I've read the workshop notes ....

Edited to merge posts together

Edited by Andrew Field, 27 July 2005 - 08:10 PM.


#5 Guest_Nick Dennis_*

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 07:55 PM

Diachronic?
What's that?
Please excuse my ignorance.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Quite!

At the Euroclio Conference hosted by AHTW in Cardiff in 2004, Alan Kelly presented a workshop called 'diachronic dancing'. Can't find anything but references to it on web though: no summary or anything, though I'm sure it was written up in an issue of Welsh Historian after the conference.

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Alan was my PGCE tutor and I have a copy of the article. I never heard of it before my PGCE (and I used to read a lot of post-structural work)!

On the PGCE, some of us used it as a slogan - 'Swansea PGCE History - where diachronic analysis comes to life' :lol: :crazy: Sorry Alan if you are reading this! :)

Alison you can see why I have used the word overview too!

Cheers for that Ed. I'm really looking for ideas that would form part of a lesson - the other two/three lessons are accounted for although they could be moved around if someone had a better idea...

Edited by Nick Dennis, 27 July 2005 - 08:02 PM.


#6 Andrew Field

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 08:12 PM

This does sound really interesting - do please keep us updated on how you get on with it Nick.

I'm sure just a new word will impress an OFSTED inspector, while the process itself appears to have lots of potential.

I suppose the classic Monty Python "What have the Romans ever done for us?" might qualify - does it? :unsure:

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#7 Guest_Nick Dennis_*

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 08:24 PM

This does sound really interesting - do please keep us updated on how you get on with it Nick.

I'm sure just a new word will impress an OFSTED inspector, while the process itself appears to have lots of potential.

I suppose the classic Monty Python "What have the Romans ever done for us?" might qualify - does it?  :unsure:

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Yes it would! I wish there was a Month Python clip for the medieval period I could use in the same way...

It might help to explain that Alan is an ofsted inspector! He is also a great guy and fantastic on the dance floor too!

Edited by Nick Dennis, 27 July 2005 - 08:25 PM.


#8 Andrew Field

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 08:27 PM

Yes it would! I wish there was a Month Python clip for the medieval period I could use in the same way...

It might help to explain that Alan is an ofsted inspector! He is also a great guy and fantastic on the dance floor too!

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Might the Terry Jones Medieval Lives series offer anything?

This is obviously the new caring, sharing and showing-off OFSTED inspection regime.


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#9 Guest_Nick Dennis_*

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 08:34 PM

Yes it would! I wish there was a Month Python clip for the medieval period I could use in the same way...

It might help to explain that Alan is an ofsted inspector! He is also a great guy and fantastic on the dance floor too!

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Might the Terry Jones Medieval Lives series offer anything?

This is obviously the new caring, sharing and showing-off OFSTED inspection regime.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yes, I had thought of using that to help as well as Robinson's 'Worst Jobs in History'.

Alan is a one off I can assure you!

#10 DaveStacey

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 10:55 PM

Idiot boy here wrote a long and detailed answer to this post before navigating off in the same window and promptly loosing the lot. So. Deep breath. Start again.

Re: The Monty Python thing – might be worth re-watching the Holy Grail (any excuse!) The constitutional peasant may go over the heads of year 7, but there may be some other bits you could use.

Re: Diachronic Narrative – My head starts throbbing just thinking about Alan trying to explain this, but I’ll see if I can do any better. As Ed says, ‘diachronic’ means ‘through time’ as opposed to ‘synchronic’ which looks at something at one specific time. The idea is to provide pupils with a method by which they can see changes through time.

To give a medieval example, you could give pupils a set of cards with Monarchs on them, along with a ‘power rating’. Pupils then sort the cards into chronological order, and plot a graph of the ratings. They can use this to discuss trends, highs, lows and link them back to events discussed over the year. You could also add a second set of cards/line showing the power of the Barons (Parliament), which can obviously lead to more questions, and hopefully some higher level thinking about the changing nature of power over time. If you had pupils working in groups you could have each working on their own graph, showing a different aspect – population, number of towns, growth of monasteries etc etc…

The same technique can be used with older pupils by getting them to make up their own ratings for a series of events and plotting the graphs. I tried this with some success with my GCSE group when we looked at Nazi treatment of the Jews from ’33 to ’45. You do need to allow plenty of time, and be clear in your own mind what is going on. The main stumbling block seemed to be some people struggling with the fact that the ratings didn’t have a specific scale, but were more a reflection of how powerful the pupils felt an individual was (to use the medieval example again). This was true both of the year 10 pupils and Alan’s PGCE group, myself included. It does become a lot clearer once you’ve been through the process once through, understanding seemed to come through doing.

Nick – one other idea for you. You could try a version of Rob Phillips’ Super Lesson. Give the pupils a bunch of pictures showing a variety of aspects of medieval life, get them to identify the main themes, and select 5 pictures that some up the whole year.

I think that was pretty much what I said last time. I’m off to bed!

#11 Andrew Field

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 11:12 PM

So it is like making up your own version of Top Trumps for historical topic?

This could work really well as a generic ICT activity too. In Excel, students add the categories, add the ratings then sort, producing a graph illustrating their results.

Thanks for this additional information Dave (and for posting it twice - I've been there too).


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#12 Guest_Nick Dennis_*

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 11:25 PM

Re: Diachronic Narrative – My head starts throbbing just thinking about Alan trying to explain this, but I’ll see if I can do any better. As Ed says, ‘diachronic’ means ‘through time’ as opposed to ‘synchronic’ which looks at something at one specific time. The idea is to provide pupils with a method by which they can see changes through time.

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Continuities should be added as well. I should also credit Dave for mentioning the idea of tying units of work together via a Neil Gaiman conversation! Ian Dawson also helped firm up my thinking about it in Alison Kitson's presentation at the SHP conference.

The power ratings/group work idea is a good one and I remember Alan doing something similar, but I'm thinking of reducing the idea into something a little easier for year 7. I remember the lack of scale also being a problem. Once the coursework booklets are done, I'll post some detail here.

Rob Phillips' 'superlesson' idea was something I was toying with as an intro to the series. Food for thought...

#13 DaveStacey

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 01:11 PM

One other idea, given the title for this lesson (s?) could you look at areas of modern life that have their roots in the medieval period (parliament, jury service, towns, money economy...). Pupils could then decide what the most important one was. Arguments ahoy!

Not very diachronic I grant you, but might provide a more definate answer to your question.

#14 Guest_Nick Dennis_*

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 01:48 PM

One other idea, given the title for this lesson (s?) could you look at areas of modern life that have their roots in the medieval period (parliament, jury service, towns, money economy...). Pupils could then decide what the most important one was. Arguments ahoy!

Not very diachronic I grant you, but might provide a more definate answer to your question.

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This was to be the last lesson in the series with a focus on historical significance - you read my mind!

#15 Guest_Nick Dennis_*

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 04:48 PM

Coming back to this as part of my presentation to the PGCE students in the next few weeks and wanted to put up some links:

Alan Kelly's article on 'Diachronic Analysis' (overview).

An Ian Dawson example of the above.

I'll stick up my resources once I've taught it and presented it. :)

Edited by Nick Dennis, 04 June 2009 - 06:32 PM.





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