Education studies and teaching news at Brighton

Victoria and Albert Museum in London outside main entrance

Diverse History at the Victoria and Albert Museum

To support learning and development, Teacher Apprenticeship trainees and (Secondary) History PGCE teacher students visited the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to explore how to use the ‘historical environment’.

The field trip was a great opportunity to look around the museum, offering a wide range of fascinating exhibits to explore and for our trainees to consider how they can capture the interest of pupils and enrich their understanding of history.

Student teachers were encouraged to choose different exhibits and independently design activities which would enable school pupils to learn something new, make connections or understand how history is constructed by those who put exhibitions together. Everyone had a chance to try out their activities and consider how they would adapt them for their own schools.

Exhibits included the Windrush exhibition, a history of humour, representations of the Agricultural and Industrial Revolution and the use of AI.

Student teacher, Jessica Pringle who is currently studying a Teacher Apprenticeship shares her experience of the trip:

“I most enjoyed having the opportunity to view a visit to a museum through a professional lens as opposed to a tourist’s perspective. It was an entirely different experience walking around and looking at displays with my tutor, discussing how they could be used as practical learning tools.

“I chose an exhibition of landscape/pastoral artwork showing Britain during the midpoint of the Industrial Revolution, featuring artists such as John Constable. I chose this because I was teaching a unit about the Industrial Revolution in Year 8 History at the time.

“I designed a question for students to answer before entering the exhibit: What would you expect to see in a painting of Britain during the middle of the nineteenth century? Why would you expect to see this?

“Then I created additional questions for students to answer while exploring the exhibit (they would choose three paintings to focus on):

  • What do the paintings tell us about life in Britain during the Industrial Revolution?
  • What don’t they tell us?
  • Do they match with your expectations – why or why not?

“The aim of the activity was to a) use nineteenth-century art as primary sources and b) identify and challenge misconceptions while studying the Industrial Revolution.

“I found this to be an extremely valuable experience, which gave me practical ideas for field trips that I had not considered before. I will be expected to help design and arrange field trips for Key Stage 3 History as an ECT next year, so this provided excellent insight into how to engage students in a topical, interactive activity outside the classroom.”

History course leader, Gabrielle Rowles said: “Field trips are a great way to refresh our thinking, getting us away from lesson planning through the laptop and imagining creative ways to bring history to life.”

teacher apprentice with paining in V&A museum Course leader Gabrielle Rowles listening to documentary at V&A museum

Christina Camm • April 12, 2024

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