The History Department at Dubai College has a long track record of outstanding achievement in public exams at both GCSE and A-level. The History Department is housed in the school’s A Block and is well resourced, with all classrooms featuring interactive whiteboards. There are currently seven members of the History Department, all of whom are specialist historians.
Teachers aim to provide knowledge, understanding and a passion for what happened in the past, through the use of varied teaching methodologies and high quality teaching materials. Our teachers apply their deep understanding and enthusiasm for the study of the past to inspire our highly motivated and intelligent students. Our goal is to enable all of our students to fulfil their potential and to become historians – that is to gain an increasing level of mastery in the art of historical enquiry. This entails the development of both their reading and writing skills and increasingly varied and sophisticated exposure to historical narratives, techniques of analysis and evaluation, the use of questioning, source work and problem-solving.
At Key Stage 3 the emphasis is on teaching creatively via a broad range of materials and strategies with the goal of fostering students’ enjoyment of and imaginative engagement with history.
Collaboration and communication skills are embedded across Key Stage 3 through a range of strategies which include the incorporation of dramatic re-enactments into lessons. Throughout Key Stage 3 interpretative skills and empathy for the lives of those who lived in the distant past are developed through engagement with primary sources. In Year 7 students will be asked to research and present projects, including a historical study of Dubai entitled ‘Dubai: Change and Continuity.’ Role play is used to explore the trial of King John, the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the Black Death. In Year 8 students explore the world of Tudor & Stuart Britain, the artistic and intellectual achievements of the Renaissance and the story of 19th century Britain through the prism of industrialisation and empire. In Year 9 students conduct independent research as part of the WW1 Lost Generation project. They use role play to re-enact the discussions which led to the Treaty of Versailles and complete individual presentations on the key events of World War Two, before moving on to look at the Cold War.
At GCSE the emphasis is on teacher’s subject knowledge and their ability to transmit key GCSE level study skills to students. Students are expected to acquire an increasing depth of knowledge, mastery of historical skills and commitment to history as a discipline.
The course is intended to build on the work completed in the lower school and emphasises variety, with the past investigated across wildly varying time scales and national contexts.
The course is divided into four units, assessed over three exam papers sat at the end of Year 11.
Paper 1: Thematic study and historic environment – Medicine c1250-present
The thematic study requires students to understand change and continuity across a long sweep of history.
Paper 2: British Depth Study – Early Elizabethan England, 1558 – 88
The British depth study focuses on a short time span and requires students to understand the complexity of a society and the interplay of different aspects within it.
Paper 2: Period Study – Superpower Relations and the Cold War, 1941-91
The period studies focus on time span of at least 50 years and requires students to understand the narrative of substantial developments and issues associated with the period.
Paper 3: Modern Depth Study – Russia and the Soviet Union, 1917 – 41
The depth study focuses on a short time span and requires students to understand the complexity of a society or historical situation and the interplay of different aspects within it.
There is an emphasis throughout the course on making the subject material as interesting, challenging and stimulating as possible by means of a wide variety of teaching and learning strategies. The department has a large collection of relevant audio-visual materials and makes full use of ICT as a learning, research and presentation tool.
The course is an excellent foundation for further study at A Level and it provides students with a good understanding of the contemporary world. The various historical skills developed in the course such as evaluating evidence, analysing interpretations and substantiating judgments is of benefit in a number of other subject areas.
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At A-level the emphasis is on teacher’s specialist subject knowledge and their ability to coach A-level study skills (especially essay writing). Teacher’s aim to teach beyond the core curriculum and stretch and challenge students by making appropriate links to knowledge and concepts outside of the courses (including to the contemporary world and other courses where appropriate). Students’ are expected to acquire an increasing depth of knowledge, mastery of historical skills and an intellectual passion for history.
The course is divided into four units, assessed over three exam papers sat at the end of year 13 and a coursework piece, completed in year 13 and internally assessed.
In Year 12 students will explore revolutions in early modern and modern Europe. Whilst the revolutionary upheavals in seventeenth century England and eighteenth century France both involved the overthrow of existing monarchies, the causes, nature and consequences of these revolutions differed in important ways.
In Unit 1, students will learn about key features of monarchical and republican rule in Britain in the seventeenth century, set within the context of broader social, economic and religious change. The events of this period saw a decisive shift in the balance of power between crown and parliament. This course contains a study of historical interpretations focused on the nature of the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89.
In Unit 2, students will examine the causes and course of the French Revolution, 1774-1799. This was a tumultuous period of change for the French people as they evolved from subjects to citizens in a maelstrom of revolutionary activity, war and constitutional experiment, which would inspire revolutionary movements around the world.
The unit 3 course studied in Year 13 looks at the dramatic evolution of Germany from 1871 to 1990. Imperial Germany collapsed in defeat at the end of a long and brutal war; it was succeeded first by a democratic republic, then an infamous and brutal Nazi dictatorship which led the country to the brink of destruction. As world war gave way to the Cold War Germany was divided along ideological lines, liberal democracy was revived only in its western half until the eventual reunification of the country in 1990.
The Year 13 coursework unit enables students to develop skills in the analysis and evaluation of interpretations of history through an independently researched assignment centred on the causes of the Cold War. The focus is on understanding the nature and purpose of the work of the historian. Students will be required to analyse, explain and evaluate the interpretations of three historians and to form their own critical view on the topic through significant wider reading.
The History A-Level course will appeal strongly to students who have an interest in exploring the past in all its variety, complexity and strangeness. Students will seek to develop their analytical and evaluative skills and there will be numerous opportunities for discussion and debate. The subject places a premium on putting forward a well-argued case, whether verbally or in written form. The course is extremely well supported via an extensive range of classroom resources, a well-stocked library and online access to numerous journals. Teaching strategies place an emphasis on academic rigour and maintaining high levels of student participation in their own learning.
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Students who study history at this level will have access to a wide range of career and higher education opportunities. By the end of the course, students will have learned how to evaluate and analyse information, how to weigh up evidence and how to communicate complex ideas effectively. History continues to be a highly regarded subject and these skills are recognised and valued by employers, universities and colleges. History provides an excellent foundation for a wide variety of careers, including government, journalism, law and business.