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History Class HERO

History as an ongoing process of discovery and interpretation at BIS Hanoi

Bradley Minchin
Bradley Minchin (3 posts) Head of Humanities View Profile

Confucius spoke wisely when he said, ‘study the past if you would define the future.’ Looking back, I have no doubt that this academic year will be an important one to remember, not least because we have welcomed a record number of our students in Year 10 onto the IGCSE History course and have more of our Sixth Formers studying IB History than ever before!

As we have expanded, we have also welcomed the expertise and experience of Mr Crofts, Mr Tchakov and Mr Wheeler, who have joined the History Department and teach KS3.

At BIS Hanoi we aim to make sure that every History classroom is one that is built with both high ceilings and solid floors.

History Class 3

High Ceilings = stretch and challenge

We challenge all to excel in their learning and have high expectations in terms of student progress and outcomes. By incorporating more complex content and concepts from the IGCSE syllabus into Year 9 lessons, we are really giving the students the chance to be ambitious in the classroom. The students have been exploring the causes of the economic boom in the 1920s and have used critical thinking skills to link and prioritise factors. Group work is encouraged in History as we want to provide opportunities for discussion and debate: this reinforces the idea that History itself is not a ‘finished product’ but an ongoing process of discovery and interpretation.

Students in Year 8 have the chance this term to see for themselves how different perspectives on events throw up competing versions of what is ‘true’ about the past. They will evaluate the strength of differing arguments on why the slave trade was abolished, and develop an understanding of how historians themselves revise what we know about the past in light of new evidence that becomes available. This links well to Theory of Knowledge – so we are preparing students lower down the school for success in the IB Diploma Programme, too.

History Class 4

Solid floors = support and enable

We adapt and tailor our lessons to ensure that barriers to learning and progress are removed. All the teachers in the History Department are trained and experienced in teaching students for whom English is an Additional Language. We use the CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) model to plan and deliver lessons so that students’ knowledge and understanding of History develops in tandem with their literacy skills. This involves encouraging our students to practise their English in a range of different styles and genres, e.g. news reports, group presentations and debates. Across Key Stage 3 (Year 7 - 9), we cover a varied and exciting range of topics drawn from world history including Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East and Asia, which we hope will help our students to gain a truly international sense of the past.

Studying History at BIS Hanoi involves so much more than simply memorising names and dates!