All that you have to do is watch the news to see that the teaching of History in schools arouses more controversy than just about any other National Curriculum subject. There are varying views on why and how History should be taught, Michael Gove thinks that we should focus on UK History for example.
But why is History important? Well, Stacia Deutsch says that “History provides identity. Studying history improves our decision making and judgment. History shows us models of good and responsible citizenship. History also teaches us how to learn from the mistakes of others. History helps us understand change and societal development. History provides us a context from which to understand ourselves and others”.
With thousands of history websites on the internet, we have distilled them down into a group of quality BBC resources based websites ideal for GSCE History:
- Modern World History: One of the most engaging aspects of this resource are its video summaries, which offer students the chance to view some of the most dramatic events in history through re-enactments protagonised by toys. Other relevant areas of history covered include Modern World History – World Wars I and II, The Cold War, Vietnam, Northern Ireland, etc. There are also sections on The USA (1910-2000), and Germany from the rise of the Nazi party onwards. The Schools History Project section features information on medicine throughout history, as well as in-depth forays into three specific topics: the American West, Germany 1918-1939 and British Society from 1815-1851. There is a handy section on Exam Skills, which teaches students how to analyse the validity of particular historical sources, use a source alongside existing knowledge to describe important historical moments, and prepare for the GCSE History exam (providing advice on equipment, timing, tackling questions and more).
- Scotland’s History: This excellent programme covers the most important aspects of Scottish history, enlightening pupils on everything from battles of the Royal Scots Greys to the Charge of the Light Brigade, the origins of Victoria Cross and more. A handy timeline on the homepage makes it easy to focus on particular historical periods. The page includes a host of useful links to articles, historical sites and videos. This is certainly one of the most exhaustive resources on everything to do with Scotland.
- World War I: One of the best ways to learn about history is by listening to the people who lived it. This wonderful page features first-hand stories, interactive guides and podcasts, which tell incredibly moving stories. Teachers and parents will find these assembly packs useful, since they include a script to be read in class/to children, as well as ideas for classroom activities and suggestions for additional research. The assembly packs focus on the themes of remembrance, commemoration and peace. Students studying in groups will also find the assembly packs useful.
- Your Paintings – History: Artworks comprise some of the most valuable pieces of historical evidence in existence and this site is a perfect instance of this fact. There are fascinating slideshows on everything from Tudor History to Significant People from the Past. A useful search button permits GCSE History students to search by artist or by the subject of various paintings, and excellent information is provided on both the role played by artists throughout history, and on their thoughts on important events. Painter Francisco Goya, for instance, was so horrified by the brutality of the Napoleonic occupation of Spain, that he created a series of etchings depicting dark reflections of the loss he saw all around him. The site requires hours of browsing to get through, though the time spent is certainly worth it. Unexpected gems pop up where least expected. For instance, while reading up a particular artist, don’t be surprised to find the invitation to watch a documentary on a particular War, or to listen to a touching piece of war poetry.
We hope that you have found this blog post useful. If you have feel free to share it. Also if you have any further History resource websites that you would like to add to this blog post, then please do so via the comments.