Tip#2: Teaching perspective – Paper 1 IB History

This assignment was given to Standard Level DP history students, to revise the content for Paper 1 “The Move to Global War”. When not teaching the International Baccalaureate, this might all sound like a foreign language. Nevertheless the designed assignment – when adjusted- is useful in any history teaching situation. The idea comes from a Dutch book called “Actief History Denken”, from which I adapted the assignment “levenslijn”.  The students indicate for two characters their emotional well-being for a specific event during the 1920’s and 1930’s by creating a lifeline.

On purpose, I chose to incorporate a woman as one of the characters because this specific gender is often absent in history when the topic is not specifically “women’s history”. On top of that, the assignment combines two case studies (Japan and Italy) that are studied separately. However, the assignment makes links between the different regions during the 1920’s and 1930’s noticeable. One can disagree with the events I chose to incorporate in this assignment, as it was rather a puzzle to make sure there were events happening on similar dates.

During the lesson, the students first worked 10 minutes without resources to bring prior knowledge to the fore and also to check their own comprehension of the content. After 10 minutes, there was a teacher intervention with reflecting questions as:

  • What is your strategy?
  • Why do you think we are doing this assignment?
  • Why is your line different than your neighbors?

Thereafter, the students finished their lifelines with the help of their resources as they realized they were missing essential knowledge, especially about Japan.

Another 20 minutes were spent on answering the questions on the worksheet, which created an opportunity to talk about the importance of perspective.

The 90-minute lesson concluded with discussing the following three statements:

  1. For ordinary citizens in Japan and Italy, it was clear that World War II was about to happen throughout the 1930’s.
  2. Each event leading up to World War II had the same importance for everyone during the 1930’s”
  3. It is impossible to say what led to the outbreak of a global war in 1939

A double period history well spent.

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