Ancient history school: what's new with the old?

What Matters? QHTA conference.

What Matters? QHTA conference.

Recently, Queensland history teachers gathered with great enthusiasm to network, share strategies and speak a common language. The theme was What Matters, and the variety of sessions was brilliant. As always, I came away enriched, inspired and pleased that I was on the right track and doing the right things. For me, the key sessions were:

  • Hatshepsut and Akhenaten by Dr Serena Love. Serena outlined how the interpretation of both these pharaohs closely tracks with the predominant social discourse of the decade. She reminded us that the Egyptians tried to erase both these pharaohs from their history while we are desperately tying to reimagine them! Why is that? As always, we should look to the sources and what they reveal and not get tied up with filling in historical blanks that can never be filled in. Serena’s Cult of Personality activity will also work well with seniors given their obsession with…… celebrity!

  • The Princeps - Power and Image by Sarah Coleman. A super detailed analysis of this period of Roman history (which all ancient history teachers in QLD will need to be familiar with!) and loaded with fabulous sources, worksheets and videos (thankyou HBO Rome !). Sarah gave us a masterclass on interrogation of sources and her Thinglink activity for the Prima Porta is a great way for students to engage with archaeological evidence.

But I also missed some great sessions because I can’t clone myself and because I was presenting too:

  • 5th C Athens - deconstructing democracy

  • the Roman Republic - breakdown or transition?

  • Scipio Africanus - a career in context

  • literacy and academic writing

  • The Harkness method

  • Augustus and Res Gestae

I presented a session titled: Archaeology Matters! I wanted to provide some resources and ideas for predominantly middle school teachers. It was not until I attended an archaeological dig in Tasmania ( see blog post: Teaching like an expert ) that I realised how afraid I was to teach archaeology and archaeological processes. Needless to say, I often did so by showing videos of those doing it. For the students, I am sure it was less than satisfactory. While I did provide some videos for teachers to use, said videos are designed to help teachers develop their own hands on materials and projects so that students can get their ‘hands dirty’. I look forward to hearing how it goes. If anyone is interested, I have attached the google drive link here. Please let me know if it doesn’t work.

I can’t emphasis enough the benefits of belonging to your state based history teachers’ association. This is where you will always find help and be inspired. As a final note, the national History Teachers’ Association conference is on in October in South Australia. I look forward to seeing you there.

Go forth and conquer!

a historian at a writer's festival

a historian at a writer's festival

An evening with Dr Lynley Wallis

An evening with Dr Lynley Wallis