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Let’s talk about History

Lower school student at Brookes UK School in Bury St Edmunds

Teacher blog by Natalie Wilson, Lead Teacher of History

History is an enquiry; a question, an interpretation of the past which when used wisely can influence the present and future. As human beings we need to learn from past mistakes, past successes, past happiness, past heartbreak, past cruelty, past relationships and from this these we can hope to shape a more positive and caring present and future.

When people say to me History is about the past I always say – no it’s about the future.

Albert Einstein Quote

As teachers here at Brookes School, we aim to develop enquiring and questioning minds. To analyse and make our own judgements in order to make rational and empathic decisions that not just effect us personally, but in order to have a greater positive impact on ourselves and others in the world which we share. To do this we must know and understand our history. Because if we don’t, how can we understand the impact it can have on ourselves and others? We simply cannot.

This is where the ‘Brookes chalk face’ comes in. The classroom is a vehicle to transport knowledge and understanding by creating a safe, stimulating classroom environment in which students feel at ease. It is imperative to empower students to speak openly and discuss their opinions without feeling uncomfortable. To simply question and ask (and ask again!)

Students should be encouraged to have belief in their own abilities so that together, with the teachers encouragement, they can develop a positive self-esteem. My time in teaching has developed my philosophy of valuing each student as an individual, as well as part of a community. I aim to give people as many learning opportunities and experiences as possible to engage, motivate and prepare them for the future. I believe an appropriate, balanced, challenging and holistic curriculum is essential in developing student’s skills, knowledge and understanding. These all underpin personalised learning and lifelong learning.

Education is not just about academia and striving to gain an A grade, it’s about hopping into that vehicle and driving that young person on their journey to help them develop emotionally and spiritually to end up being a caring, empathic, thoughtful and well rounded citizen, who cares about what happens to others and their environment, a global citizen who continues to question things and to become a person who has a love of learning for the rest of their lives.

I shall leave you with a quote from Ella Baker, one of the most influential women involved in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Ella Baker was a crucial member of many activist groups, from youth coalitions to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She grew up hearing stories from her grandmother, about the oppressive culture of slaves and life as an African American woman. Alongside Martin Luther King Jr., she helped form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to search for nonviolent ways to fight for the African American community. Right up until her death in 1986, Ella Baker continued to mentor many other emerging activists, such as Rosa Parks who built upon her legacy.

Quote from Ella Baker


Here’s to finding the Ella Baker in all of us