Some Ideas about Teaching
It is very easy to confuse
children about time, and the standing joke is that children are 'now', mum
is from, 'the olden days' and grandma was contemporary with Jesus and the
• When I was a Sunday School teacher and I was challenged by my pupils about foreknowledge and the end of the world, I always used to suggest that the pupils thought of time as a table top crawling with ants. Each ant can only see the bit of table it is standing upon, and is utterly unaware of what is in front or behind, but God, who is multi-dimensional, has the advantage of being able to see the whole table top at the same time.
• As a History teacher - and in apparent contradiction to what I have just said - I sometimes intrigue my pupils by talking about time as a knife edge. We are all sweeping along precariously balanced on a knife-edge of time. A tri-zillionth of a micro-mini-nano-second before us is the void of non-existence, and no-time-at-all behind us is the oblivion of ceasing-to-exist. And thus we hurtle through time on this knife-edge of 'now' at a terrifying speed - and what is amazing is that we all stay together!!! The advance of time is fixed, and we all advance at exactly the same speed. (If we did not, we would drift in and out of each other's perception as we slipped behind/ passed each other.)
Posted on: July 9 2006, 09:03 AM
To cite this article, use: CLARE, JOHN D. (2006), 'Teaching Chronology', at Greenfield History Site (http://www.johndclare.net/Teaching/Chronology.htm).
Today I received an email from
Dr. Alan Hodkinson
Principal Lecturer in Educational Research
Liverpool John Moores University
Primary Committee Member of the Historical Association
Interested by your comment
Therefore I would not even try to teach 'chronology'.
I find this most perplexing as there are numerous studies including my own that actually would disagree with this statement. Its not just about wall charts and sticking things on. The latest research, using ICT denotes that teaching chronology skills, distancing, duration etc can lead to structural changes in the brain which enable children to deal with the difficult area of chronology. What is more studies relate that by teaching chronology in a systematic multi-sensory way, actually enables children to develop a cognitive schema that means they can order, sort, remember and retrieve historical knowledge at more advanced levels than other children who have not experienced this teaching. These studies are also not scientific nonsense. For example, the study I was involved in related to one year's teaching in a classroom. This has led to a significant re-conceptualisation about out dated notions of what child cannot do based upon the principles of maturation.
Now I bow absolutely to Dr Hodkinson's comments, and hasten to add that my comments were based on nothing more than classroom experience with a large dose of prejudice!
It's always rather alarming when you meet someone who actually knows something about the subject!