Before diving into my story, let me tell you about the personal impact of the ADLX Approach. In short, I have naturally possessed many skills and over the years I have acquired a lot of them as well, then ADLX Approach came to put each of them in the right place, methodizing my work, setting priorities, and organizing the method of performance. Going back to the goals that I have set for this year, the most important of which are:
- Changing the students ’perception of the subject and transforming it into an attractive subject for them to experience and apply.
- Change the method of memorizing that is usually adopted in teaching history.
- Changing the evaluation method and diversifying its methods.
I read in one of the articles about the effective role that the history teacher plays, and I felt that it corresponds to the goals that I will undertake this year to advance this subject, and among the most prominent ideas of this article: “The history teacher should be keen to develop in his students a set of abilities that are considered the basic requirements of the information age, and among these capabilities: examine the selection of historical information – reorganizing and reformulating this information – understanding the relationship between various historical information and uncovering the contradictions that may exist between them – extrapolating the future in light of the available correct historical information”. All this is just the tip of the iceberg of what a history teacher can do if he teaches this subject well.
Which grade did I choose to share with you my experience???
It is the tenth grade, where all learners are females.
why tenth grade?
In fact, there are many reasons. First of all, they need special handling, they need discipline as they rebel to adhere to laws. They also have personalities of diverse talents and abilities, and at the same time they are fully energized and this is another challenge that I have to face: how do I gain their trust and grasp their attention?
They consider history subject boring and far from reality, and therefore they always try to evade from memorizing the material or even interacting during the session.
What did I do? And what was the result?
Here are the details of this impactful learning journey where I aimed to
Transform learning into Performance.
By nature, I love history, its narration, and exploring its depths. This feeling has flowed smoothly to the students because I believe that the love of your work opens many locks and overcomes many difficulties, so the love of history passed to my students without effort or trouble. Aida, a student, says: “Ms. Munira is our cheerleader, regarding history, and she made us yearn for the lesson, and she taught us that history is a weapon for the future.”
At the end of the class, the students were eagerly waiting for the next class, and this put me in a relentless endeavor to keep gaining their interest. Najat, a student, says, “I am a lover of history and I learned this year that history is not only the past, but it is the present and the future as well. As my love for history increased, my motivation has increased to become a history writer and to have a good impact on this life. In short, history classes enter the heart before the mind”.
As for the facilitation: it plays a fundamental role in engaging the student and activating her without feeling that learning is imposed on her, but rather makes her feel that she has an active role in her own learning. As a facilitator, I have always made sure to renew my methods by choosing the best that attracts the student and motivates her to interact during the session. Lama, a student, says: “The teacher’s active role in the classroom prompted us to interact with her and with the historical events in a profound way”. As for the student, Ghida, she says: “The teacher’s use of modern educational methods made us study this subject with greater passion.” Yes, passion, this is what I seek with my students, for them to become passionate about the subject that I teach them. Student Riemann said: “The book is no longer the only reference for narrating the story. The sources are diverse for example the teacher’s explanation and different resources that Ms. Munira encouraged us to explore”.
- Classroom and extracurricular activities: They are one of the most important elements of learning, as they contribute to solidifying the information in a way that is friendly to students, especially in history. Among the classroom activities were puzzle games, arranging cards, questions of speed, activating many strategies, including (one-minute strategy – inverted cups – memory tape – Think Pair Share) and other group activities, educational activities, linking and summarizing activities that develop the student’s thinking and help her to relate the information easily and pleasantly. Among the most important extracurricular activities in history is trips and I will share a quick summary of one of the trips we did.
- Linking the history subject with other subjects (integration of subjects in the whole learner journey): After we finished studying the Phoenician civilization, I prepared a visit to some archaeological sites in our city of Sidon that date back to this historical period so that we can see what we have studied in reality and deepen the information with what the tour guide will share with us in each place we visit. This trip would be subject to evaluation by me in terms of the students’ adherence to the etiquette and behaviors in the trip agreements, which were agreed upon with the students. Also, the information obtained by the students will be evaluated. This view greatly strengthened the students’ sense of belonging to their city and changed their perception of it. This is one of the most important objectives of the subject. “Promoting the spirit of belonging and preserving the identity”. After we visited these historical places, we made a mosaic similar to the one we saw in cooperation with the art teacher, and this resulted in wonderful paintings (but we could not finish them due to this coinciding with the quarantine of Corona).
- The history topics were also linked to the Islamic education subject. The history curriculum for this class talks about ancient civilizations that coincided with the missions of many messengers and prophets, so we stopped at the paths of some of them. Besides, it was linked to the Arabic Language subject through the study of the Umayyad period, so the Arabic teacher coordinated the explanation of this era with the history subject.
- Discussion Strategy: This was the prevailing strategy in the classes to develop this skill in them, to equip them with a different way of thinking with different opinions and perspectives, and how to establish a respectful conversation, especially with other cultures and religions.
- Watching videos and listening to songs: They watched videos and listened to songs that talk about moral values and historical events, for example, the song “We are the Heroes”, which deals with the heroics of great leaders who passed through history and was an introduction to the importance of studying history. The videos were rich material for the historic events that we are studying so it made history a living reality. I used the video sometimes as a method for evaluating the information by displaying the video and the students compared the information contained in the video with what they knew from the book.
- Mind maps: I believe that they are one of the most important ways to help the student if they are used well. So, I relied on them a lot in my explanation, and the students sometimes used to photograph what was written on the blackboard for use at home during memorization. All this structured and organized the information and that ultimately enabled the students to participate in deep conversations.
- The evaluation: The aim of the evaluation is to provide the students with the skill of deduction and analysis. I used many strategies for evaluation like the exam, presentation, interaction in cooperative work, videos, comparison, and analysis. The student felt that every work she does is the subject of evaluation and the interaction increased. Some students found it difficult at the beginning because they were not used to this type of evaluation (they want to memorize the information). But with time they found it easier than they thought.
- Linking the subject to actual events: When the media buzzed about the deal of the century, the students made an activity to presented it to intermediate and high school students to clarify the reality of the deal and its dimensions. The presentation was met with applause and praise from the students, teachers, and administration. They praised the students’ performance and their style of presentation. This was the biggest proof that history goes hand in hand with reality in terms of understanding, analysis, and deduction.
- Trusting the learner and creating a stimulating learning environment: The students’ feeling of love and trust in them encouraged them to interact and listen. This resulted in harmonious classes, the lessons were full of enthusiasm and pleasure, and discipline was evident. The stimulating learning environment resulted in the students being active and attentive.
- Student Riemann says in this regard: “Lack of discipline is the result of boredom, and this is what we did not feel with Ms. Munira, so when we change our view of the matter, our way of interacting changes. ”
- Aida student says: “The teacher’s innovation of new methods and strategies made me love this subject and yearn for more and more. Her explanation of the lesson is no longer just reading from the book but is an experience we live and it is linked to reality in all its details. We made a lot of discussions, important exercises, review before the exam that stimulates the, and mind maps. Thus, the teacher played an effective role to attract us and drive us, and she also made us more responsible for our studying. Thank you from the heart, our dear teacher. ”
- At first, some students refused to study using the mind maps and I respected that. But after that, they came to tell me that they found it an important way to study and that they would continue studying using it.
- Making the student the focus of the learning process:
- In the history class, the student imagined that she was living in that era, analyzing events on her own, and comparing civilizations. Student Riman says: “The class is no longer limited to listening to the teacher, but rather we are discussing, proposing and imagining as if we are living in that time. We looked at history with a different eye when we touched it on the ground, and we played the role of explorers and researchers. Thus, the information took hold in our minds, and we no longer keep it like a parrot. I wish all schools adopted this method of learning”. The students were preparing information or historical studies and analyzing the opinions that came to them to understand the motives behind the events.
- It must admit that I initially faced a problem with this point. I was used to being the focus of the lesson. I spoke most of the time (a style closer to the lecture) and this was one of the challenges that I faced until I was able to greatly reduce it. I admit that it was what I gained from the First-ADLX journey that caught my eye and helped me overcome it. Ms. Hanan Shaker, the FIRST-ADLX facilitator, felt that after she attended a class and made several remarks. Then she came back again and noticed the difference and change. If we wanted to approach that from the 80/20 rule, I was 80% and students 20%, so I think I reached 50 for the students and 50 for the teacher.
- Then Corona came and we switched to distant learning, as the school believes in the importance of continuity and follow-up. I always sent them information or historical stories that they read without boredom, as the students commented, and the information I sent was no longer ignored, but rather they were engaged with reading, analyzing, and discussing even on WhatsApp.
- Before concluding, it is necessary to mention the reaction of parents to my work, and I do not hide you that some mothers rejected at the beginning the idea of mind maps and teaching according to it, and I do not blame them for that. So I would have liked to hold a workshop on it so that mothers could get acquainted with this educational strategy, but the country’s “revolution” conditions prevented that, but it will remain within my plans for the next year.
- At the parents’ meeting, I was surprised by the many thanks and praise from the mothers for the work that I do, which encouraged the students to memorize and made this subject easier for them. One of them says: “I would like to thank you in the name of my daughter, for whom the history class has become an enjoyable session.” One of the mothers indicated that her daughter was complaining about the difficulty of memorization and that it takes a lot of time for her and that the mind map method saved her a lot of time and the method of explanation made it easier for her.
- The most beautiful thing that I conclude with is the comment of the Master Facilitator, Ms. Hanan Shaker. When she was passing by our class she observed that the students were so engaged during the class and were in so disciplined, which is very unusual for them, and this indicated my success in the goals that I mentioned above.
- At the end of this journey, I extend my sincere thanks to SeGa Group represented by Ms. Hanan Shaker, who spared no effort in helping us when we asked for it and devoted all her capabilities to advance us and our school.
- Aida says “It was a very beautiful sight, during which we gained new and interesting information, and it is nice that we had a background on the subject through what was acquired in the class, which helped us to consolidate the information in an unforgettable speed, and it also contributed to relieving the burden of daily school pressure. What I liked is that the evaluation was related to behavior and manners, and this is something we did not recognize before.”
- Sarah says “We linked what we learnt in the classroom to what we watched, so learning history became very interesting for us.”*
- Sarah says “I stood astonished in front of what the ancients left behind and this made me realize the importance of preserving and studying monuments because they represent the culture of our ancestors. The truth is said that if history is to be taught, there is no better than these fun methods and strategies of teaching it.
- Lama says: “It was an interesting sight in all aspects, as it deepened our knowledge of the Phoenician civilization, of our city of Sidon, and this stimulated us to learn more about our city and the valuable monuments it contained. Thank you, our teacher, for making history a subject that relates to our daily life, not just printed texts”.
Made by: Ms. Munira Al-Baba – History Teacher / Alofoq Aljadeed – Sidon/Lebanon