The Vision for the History Department

The fundamental objectives of the History department at Diss High School are based on a profound belief in the importance of history both as an academic discipline within the school curriculum, the value of which has been recognized by the coalition government in encouraging students to opt for a humanities subject at Key Stage 4, and as an important foundation stone for living a productive and successful life beyond the confines of compulsory education.

The specific aims of the History department at Diss High School are threefold. Firstly, students should view history as a fun and interesting subject. All teachers within the department love and value the study of the past, and we want students to match this passion, generating an interest in the past that will remain with them for life. Secondly, we wish to transmit knowledge and understanding of the past, both within the United Kingdom and of the wider world. Students should have an understanding of how the world we live in has been shaped by the past. Finally, it is our aim that students continuously develop life skills such as thinking, evaluating, analysing, empathizing and communicating; there are very few jobs that do not require these skills.

It is important for students to realise that there were people here before them and that these people, though similar to us in many ways, were also very different. Students should have an appreciation that the past is not just a number of events that happened to other people, but events that would have happened to us had we been born at a different time. To this end, students should not acquire the ability to simply judge people, but to try and empathise with people so that we can understand them. Students should be angry with slavery or be able to understand why some women in the last century gave their life in order to have the right to vote. We should also encourage students to empathise as to why people supported individuals such as Hitler. Simply knowing that events happened is not enough.

To this end, the most important skills we wish to develop are those of thinking and communicating. The ability to think imaginatively is the most fundamental skill to develop, but in order to express ideas, students must also be able to communicate effectively; after all, it is no good having a good idea if you can not tell anyone about it.

Rightly or wrongly students of History are judged by their literacy skills and so, in an increasingly non-literary world, it is our responsibility, along with other subjects, to instil the gift of developing written skills. History must keep the essay alive!

As a department, therefore, we want our students to understand the past through empathising and critically assessing events so that they can develop their own views on which explanations they think seem most convincing. In this way they develop their own critical thinking and ability to argue both logically and lucidly.


History Vision

Diss High School

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