Active History is proud to present a video each week from New Directions in Active History. The conference took place at Huron University College on October 2-4, 2015 and brought together scholars, students, professionals and community members to discuss a wide range of topics pertaining to the practice of active history.
In this week’s video, Lindsay Hall, Head of History at Clark Road Secondary in the Thames Valley District School Board, discusses the challenges facing teachers of history in the public school system. Hall explains that since students are required to only take one Canadain history class throughout high school, teachers must strive to instill curiosity in their grade 9 students. Hall provides examples of innovative activities and projects designed to build student confidence and subsequently, encourage students to take an interest in studying the past. Hall goes on to say that before students can “think like historians”, skills like close reading need to be developed. In her own experience, many grade 9 students lack reading skills, requiring her to become a “teacher of reading” before a “teacher of history.” Hall also encourages educators to be cognisant of the way student’s encounter the past in their everyday lives through tv shows, video games, novels, and the internet, among other topics. She ends by arguing that skills taught inside the history classroom can extend beyond the its walls and can encourage students to become critical thinkers and problem solvers.