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BLOG 4 - Seminar by Mr Mark Eagers

Last Updated: 11/03/2014 12:13:42

On Monday 10th March 2014, Mr Mark Eagers came in to do a seminar on the comparisons between Hitler and Mao for IB1 and IB2. In a fascinating and inspirational session, he looked at the ideological and pragmatics differences and similarities, drawing on his wealth of IB experience. Previously Head of History at our Headmaster’s future school, United World College in Singapore, Mr Eagers was able to offer a fresh and exciting take on the two dictators while drawing on his vast knowledge of the IB examination system. The students were engaged throughout and for a whole afternoon got to learn about history through a slightly different lens. It was a brilliant, educational and innovative afternoon for the IB historians at Bromsgrove School.

BLOG 3 - Talk by Mr Armin Gruenbacher

Last Updated: 11/03/2014 12:13:03

Our Fifth Form historians were given the opportunity to listen to Mr Armin Gruenbacher, a lecturer at Birmingham University, whose specialism is Post War Germany, especially the political, social and economic reconstruction of the country against the backdrop of the Cold War. Mr Gruenbacher explained the focal points of the Cold War, illustrating the importance of relations between the superpowers, Berlin as a flashpoint and the fact that the world came close to nuclear war in the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was a great hour spent listening to a professional Historian speaking about a key topic for History GCSE. They found it very helpful in giving them a different perspective of what has been studied in their lessons. All listened carefully and found it very informative.

BLOG 2 - Oral History Project

Last Updated: 26/02/2014 10:43:54

10th December 2013

Upper Sixth A level and IB History students from Bromsgrove School have been taking part in the Oral History Project. The Oral History Project forms part of the five year Townscape Heritage Initiative which is being coordinated by David Thomas for Bromsgrove District Council. The broader initiative is a programme of work with retail traders in Bromsgrove's High Street who are seeking to reinstate earlier shop front designs. Since the town has a rich history, Justin Hughes of Worcestershire's Archive and Archaeology Service (WAAS) has been commissioned to work with Bromsgrove School to assist students in their recording of local people's memories from the 1940s onwards.

The Upper Sixth pupils worked alongside Pat Tansell of Bromsgrove Library, collecting stories and recollections from residents who remembered much detail about life in the town before and after the High Street was pedestrianized; there were tales of the High Street’s former alehouses (seventeen in number!), the hallelujah lamp, mods and rockers and bakeries and butchers.

The pupils were intrigued to find out how the High Street has changed and how the contributors’ experiences of Bromsgrove have shaped their lives. During the last meeting students were interviewed by the locals themselves so that the project can gain further relevance by comparing the experiences of different generations.

Justin Hughes commented that “The shared memories are an insightful, moving and amusing social history, and we will be producing a film narrative of the stories, due to be released in the early summer of 2014".

Julia Zafar, Head of History at Bromsgrove School commented, “this project brings the local environment and the impact it has on people into focus for the students. It has demonstrated to them that History happens as we live”.

BLOG 1 - Sixth Form Lecture Review by Cara Thompson

Last Updated: 26/02/2014 10:40:18

9th December 2013 

This term the Sixth Form was lucky enough to attend an inspiring set of lectures delivered by experienced and admired Historians at the Carrs Lane Centre, Birmingham. Experts from Oxford, Cambridge and Warwick universities, to name a few, delighted the upper 6th with their challenging and engaging lectures on late 19th/early 20th century revolutionary Russia, while the lower 6th were introduced to the reign of the Early Stuarts by a range of charismatic professors from Birmingham, Bristol and Durham universities.

Character analysis of Nicolas II, Stolypin and Trotsky gave the upper 6th a detailed understanding of the important characters of the period. Professor Robert Service, Oxford University, challenged the assertion of Tsar Nicolas as the ‘idiot of History’ and assessed economic and social problems of early 20th century Russia to unpick whether the revolution was ultimately a result of the weak monarchical rule. Service encouraged the students to form their own opinions about the Tsar and his circumstances, precipitating much post-lecture discussion amongst the upper 6th.

James I and his party lifestyle was the focus of the lower 6th series; students were thrown into the 17th century world of social networking and learned of the indignity of having an ungainly Scot at head of a stuffy and prudish English parliament. ‘The wisest fool in Christendom’ was the focus of the lectures, with Professor Kenneth Fincham, Kent University, compelling argument that James should be seen as Rex Pacificus, an international peacemaker and negotiator. Students enjoyed the contrast of this lecture with that of Professor Ronald Hutton, Bristol University, whose eccentric description of James’s lavish parties and drunken antics brought the king to life in a humorous and dynamic way!

Both lecture series were pitched perfectly to challenge and excite students. The opportunity for students to listen to real Historians talking in depth about their work was greatly appreciated by those who attended, and gave a taste of what it is like to study History at University. The topics touched upon in the lectures complimented the A Level syllabus while stretching the breadth and depth of the students’ current understanding and illuminating interesting and different interpretations of the events they already know well.

A thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening experience for all who attended. Food for thought in abundance!

Cara Thompson


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