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DSK Developing Subject Knowledge 

What is the purpose, and importance of DSK?

As trainee teachers, you come to the PGCE course from a number of different backgrounds particularly in relation to the sorts of History degree courses you have followed. Some of you will have quite a wide knowledge of History not only from their academic studies but from work experience or even from reading about history for pleasure! Others may have a narrower base to build on.

The expectation in schools is that a newly qualified teacher will be prepared to teach the whole of the National Curriculum Programmes of Study for Key Stage 3 and certainly their subject specialism at Key Stage 4. However, the more they can teach of the Key Stage 4 Programme of Study, the better. For many of you this is a challenging thought at the start of your course. However, the underlying assumption with a postgraduate teacher initial education course is that subject knowledge is already well developed through your degree level studies. However, we recognise this is not the case and that much work in needed in making this an important area for development for many (if not most) of you.

How should you approach the DSK sessions?

This diversity of need requires each of you to work out your own individual plan for developing history subject knowledge and most of you will expect to spend some of your own time 'reading up' on unfamiliar areas too. We provide an overall structure for some of your work in this area through the 'DSK' sessions which are timetabled each week in serial 1 and 2.

Our experience suggests that there is considerable value in working with and drawing on the expertise of other trainees within your SD group as you work on unfamiliar areas of the history curriculum which you may be asked to teach during the course and when you start as a newly-qualified teacher.

In order to help with this, during session 1, you will be organised into small 'peer support groups' with three or four other trainees within your SD group to work through the 'Developing History Knowledge' programme. The first phase focuses on your own personal knowledge of History. During Serial 1 (Weeks 1 to 8) you will work on two topics which you will micro-teach to your peer support group for comment. Although this is the tip of the iceberg as far as you are concerned, other trainees will be doing other topics, and by submitting your work to our e-learning (Moodle) site, you will be able to access their work too, so gain considerably more than you produce.

N.B.    During Serial 2, the programme is focused more on helping you to teach difficult and perhaps unfamiliar areas of History, particularly addressing the practical issues involved. There will be a second briefing issued at the start of Serial 2 describing how this will be organised. Please see the wiki, Serial 2 DSK.

All the notes, copies of curriculum materials, etc. that you collect in developing your subject knowledge as part of this programme will be submitted as part of your e- Portfolio. This will provide some of the evidence you will collect in relation to the Subject Knowledge Standards (S3a) for QTS. The portfolio should also include any other material you collect or produce during the course which relates to the development of your history subject knowledge. This will be particularly evident during your teaching practices

 

 

 

 

Week by week programme for Serial 1 (September - November, 2013)

Week 1 - DSK 1   Wednesday,September 12th

Introduction to DSK tasks and Induction for Mahara and Moodle e-learning

(All Secondary and Middle years scientists during this session.)

DSK Tasks this week.

1. Get into subject groups of 4/5 trainees. Ideally with a good mix of subject specialism. Your tutor will assist in this.

2. Bring the subject audit you were given at interview.  Now use this to produce an individual audit; review the security of your subject knowledge by using a star system below to code the security of your subject knowledge. 

 

How secure is my subject knowledge?

StarsExplanation
 

Not happy with this area

I have little or limited knowledge of this period.

*

Period Aware

I can outline key issues and am capable of drawing on some interesting details and and anecdotes. I could design a KS3 enquiry question and plan an a lesson on this topic.

I could teach this at GCSE but further detail would be needed to develop finer detail.

**

Secure

I can easily teach this topic at a GCSE level.  I could design a range of KS3 enquiries and I would be secure in identifying and pursuing contrasting approaches to this topic -causation, change, evidential questions etc.

I am aware of historiographical debates on this topic.

***

Expert

I am up to date with current academic debate in this topic.  I can easily teach this topic at AS/A2.  I could use my expertise to  contribute to others professional development. Using my level of subject knowledge in this area i could create unusual and innovative teaching activities in this area.

 

3. Select a topic from this list of `not happy with this area' to be working on in the coming days.

4. Learn how to access and use Mahara for your e-portfolio.

5. Learn how to access and use our Wiki and Moodle sites if not already familiar. Just ask your tutor to show you.

 

Details of your work this week in DSK

During the DSK session, and in your own time in Week 1 you will update your own individual audit of your subject knowledge (see above) and identify a prioritised list of 'gaps' which need to be addressed during the course. These audits can be located above and you will be given practical instructions on how to access and use Mahara e-portfolio. You will be organised into peer support groups to work with one another on developing your subject knowledge. From the list generated from your audit, select a KS3 or 4 topic to work on. Don't choose something too big (e.g. 'the tudors') but something more manageable (like 'the dissolution of the monasteries'). If in doubt ask your SD tutor. Try to choose something that someone else in your peer support group knows something about so that you will be able to draw on his or her expertise.

Using resources from libraries, books from your school and by talking to other trainees, you can get on with the first part of the task. Your SD tutor and school History Mentor may also be able to help with suitable references but don't expect them to 'teach' you about the topic.

Your personal research will lead you to the production of a handout on the topic which should try to summarise it onto not more than two sides of A4. Use diagrams, bullet points and tables to make the best use of the available space and give any really useful references at the end. Make copies of your handout for the members of your peer support group for week 3 DSK 3.

DSK Trip-The Somme and Ypres

On Thursday and Friday this week we will be going on a trip to Ypres and the Somme.  The itinery can be found here .  The aim of this trip is threefold.  Firstly it is a chance for the group to get to know each other.  Secondly it is a chance to see how a school trip to the trenches could be run especially as the anniversaries are comming up. Finally it is a chance to develop our subject knowledge of two key events in the First World War.

 


Week 2 - DSK 2

IST

This week time is set aside for you to work on your 'idiots guide.'  The room has been booked for you to use if you want to.  However if you wish you can work from home.

Please remember you will need to have your idiots guide ready for peer review next week. 

 


Week 3 - DSK 3

Seminar Day

During this session you will each present your topic with reference to your handout to the others in your group. The group should act as 'critical friends' to each other by asking questions to test your understanding, to check any unclear points about what has been written and where there are errors to point them out in a supportive way! Each presentation should only last about 10-15 minutes followed by a similar time for discussion. Finish this session by talking to each other about the different approaches you used to collect information and produce your handout.  At the end of this workshop your completed idiots guide should be uploaded to the moodle site.

At the end of this session you will be expected to choose another topic from your audit. Your SD tutor will also spend some time discussing and demonstrating the value of concept mapping and how to construct your own maps for working on next week.

During your time this week, you will also work on producing your concept map for another chosen topic, pulling together subject content from KS 3 3/4 Secondary as appropriate. Produce a finished draft to discuss with your group in week 5.

Again try to choose a topic which maximises the potential for feedback from members of your group. For this cycle your research will lead to the production of a 'concept map' to summarise your understanding, as well as the idiot's guide. You will have been given some information about the process of concept mapping to explain what it is and how to produce one. Do your own individual research as before, leading to the production of a first draft concept map. If possible, check this out with a subject 'expert'. Then do any further work needed to revise and refine the concept map for presentation. Again make copies for the following week.


Week 4 – DSK4

IST

You have been given independent study time to produce your second idiots guide to your group, and after any rewrites, upload to the final guide, together with the concept map, to the Moodle forum – DSK Idiots guide 2.


Week 5– DSK 5

Seminar Day

During this session you will each present your topic with reference to your handout to the others in your group. The group should act as 'critical friends' to each other by asking questions to test your understanding, to check any unclear points about what has been written and where there are errors to point them out in a supportive way! Each presentation should only last about 10-15 minutes followed by a similar time for discussion. Finish this session by talking to each other about the different approaches you used to collect information and produce your handout.  At the end of this workshop your completed idiots guide should be uploaded to the moodle site.

At the end of this session you will be expected to choose another topic from your audit. You will produce your third idiots guide and a plan for a main teaching activity based on this plan.

Again try to choose a topic which maximises the potential for feedback from members of your group. For this cycle your research will lead to the production of a 'taught activity' to summarise your understanding, as well as the idiot's guide. Do your own individual research as before. If possible, check this out with a subject 'expert'. Then do any further work needed to revise and refine the guide and activity for presentation. Again produce copies for the seminar in week 7.

 


Week 6 – DSK 6

IST

You have been given independent study time to produce your third idiots guide to your group, and after any rewrites, upload to the idiots guide, together with the concept map, to the Moodle forum – DSK Idiots guide 2.

 


Week 7  DSK 7.

During this session you will each present your topic and your main activity with reference to your handout to the others in your group. The group should act as 'critical friends' to each other by asking questions to test your understanding, to check any unclear points about what has been written and where there are errors to point them out in a supportive way! Each presentation should only last about 10-15 minutes followed by a similar time for discussion. Finish this session by talking to each other about the different approaches you used to collect information and produce your handout.  At the end of this workshop your completed idiots guide and the plan and resources for your main activity should be uploaded to the moodle site.

Identify one subject area you need to work on while on Block Practice. 

 


Serial 2 (January-February 2014)

Week 17 DSK 8

The programme for this Serial is similar to the DSK sessions in serial 1.  There is only 1 cycle in Serial 2.    Use your audit and identify an area of weakness.  You must produce an idiots guide as before. You must also produce a plan and resources for an entire lesson.  As before you will be organised into peer support groups.  You will need to have a final draft completed by week 19.

In this session you must update your audit and explain how you managed to extend your subject knowledge while on placement.

 


Week 18 DSK 9

IST

You have been given independent study time to produce your final idiots guide to your group and your lesson plan.

 


Week 19 DSK 10

Final Seminar

During this session you will each present your topic with reference to your handout to the others in your group. The group should act as 'critical friends' to each other by asking questions to test your understanding, to check any unclear points about what has been written and where there are errors to point them out in a supportive way! Each presentation should only last about 10-15 minutes followed by a similar time for discussion. Finish this session by talking to each other about the different approaches you used to collect information and produce your handout.  At the end of this workshop your completed idiots guide should be uploaded to the moodle site.

 

 

 

 

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