Talk Less Teaching in the History Classroom

Sara Bowland and Ruth Lingard, joint Heads of History at Millthorpe, meets the Northern History Forum in ‘Ringing the Changes’ to present ideas for best classroom practice on Wednesday 29 April at Leeds Trinity University.

Ruth and I have been lucky enough to take part in a comprehensive series of Continual Professional Development opportunities at Millthorpe during the school year. Led by a team of Lead Teachers (including Ruth), a variety of workshops have been developed that aimed to invigorate and improve our classroom practice. Having taken part in various workshops, staff were given the time to try the new ideas in their classroom, modify them to suit particular subjects and then share these with other staff at a Teaching and Learning Training Day. It was great to see teachers from all department areas, with a varied amount of classroom experience under their belt, sharing great ideas and good practice.

The History Department spent time developing these ideas to suit their subject and as a result have developed lots of resources to focus on the various areas developed in the workshops. The History Department have been looking at using ‘Flip Learning’ with Years 9, 10 and 11, developing our use of questioning in the classroom and really taking the time to embed the idea of ‘Talk Less Teaching’.

We had so much success with this approach in our classrooms that we took the opportunity to present the ideas to over 50 other History teachers at the Northern History Forum. This event, organised by the Historical Association, attracts hundreds of enthusiastic History teachers. This term the forum was called ‘Ringing the Changes’ and Ruth and I were pleased to be on the programme alongside the likes of Ben Walsh, History GCSE textbook author and adviser to Channel 4 Schools on the History in Action series.

Talk Less Teaching Presentation

The focus of ‘Talk Less Teaching in the History Classroom’ developed generic ideas presented to us by Lyndsey Parr (RE department) and was designed to share with other history teachers, ways in which to encourage the holy grail of independent learning in the classroom.

As a department we knew that we all liked to talk too much whilst our students listened passively. The session explored the methods and techniques we have used to make our students do the talking rather than ourselves. The session was jam packed with practical ideas to use in the classroom and was met with positive feedback from the other teachers.

There are so many good ideas that different teachers and departments can share with each other, we’re lucky that we have been given the opportunity and time within school to develop our methods in this way and it was a real privilege to be able to then share what we had adapted with other schools at the Historical Association forum.

Sara Bowland and Ruth Lingard
Joint Heads of History