Friday, 29 April 2016
How did your learners learn about Anzac?
It did get me thinking again about curricula in our schools in the context of the last week. Schools need to examine very clearly what they want their learners to learn and above all why they want them to learn it. Only then should they focus on how they should learn.
Anzac is a big "topic" in schools in the last weeks of the school term. Why learn about Anzac? What do they need to learn about Anzac and then how are they going to learn about Anzac?
Some answers to these questions may centre around the following.
Anzac is an important part of the culture of New Zealand. It represents a struggle of grit and determination against the odds which many of us should identify with. It links our past to our future - what will we do in the future based on what we did in the past?
Our forebears went through hell for what they thought was the right thing to do.
They were so young. There was so much suffering on all sides.
Poppies represent the blood lost by so many on foreign soil.
So many losses of our people in the field, fighting for a cause which may or may not have been remotely relevant for them.
The paradox of war - strength determining an outcome that may or may not be morally right, and the fraternisation of soldiers on opposite sides.
Many of our grandfathers and grandmothers and great uncles and aunts were involved in the Anzac battle, either directly or indirectly. These were the people who suffered so much for what they believed was the right thing to do.
No doubt you will have other learning intentions associated with Anzac but now focus on how your learners were able to take on board some learning around Anzac. How did your younger children learn about some of the concepts associated with Anzac compared to your older children? Did they draw pretty pictures of poppies? What did they learn from that? Did they erect white crosses on the school lawn. Did they fill in a worksheet about Anzac? Did they listen to an Anzac service or the mournful "Last Post" played on a bugle? Is there a knowledge building from year to year?
Do you think that they learned any part of the "What?" listed above. How could you have enlisted their creativity to enable them to really take on the learning? What did your students learn about Anzac and how do you know they learned it? What is the visible evidence of their learning and how was it relevant to them? And what are your learners going to learn about Anzac next year?