Session FIVE (Tuesday 1st March 2016 – 13:00 hrs till 15:00 hrs)
The benefits and value of fieldwork trips (the guide)
A. read the following document: Visiting Historical Sites – Prof Yosanne Vella, extract from ‘In Search of Meaninful History Teaching’, URL: https://pacetoni.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/visiting-historical-sites-yosanne-vella.pdf
- Session Five (1st March 2016) will be about Social Studies fieldwork trips. We shall take a look at Prof Yosanne Vella’s Action Research Project as regards fieldwork trips, and also at the recent developments in DQSE policies. Fieldwork trips today form part of the official Primary Social Studies coursework. The EAU (Educational Assessment Unit) provides fieldwork worksheets for all state schools from Year 3 upwards. Fieldwork is assessed (max: 20 marks) in Years 4, 5 and 6.
- Points discussed by Prof Vella (see A above)
- Previously, visits to historical sites were very rarely supported by teaching aids such as work-directives or fieldwork notes; teachers were expected to create some sort of resource themselves.
- Very often students just walked about, often aimlessly, around sites.
- There were attempts to address the problem, e.g. Michael Sant’s work directives created in the 1980’s.
- Worksheets may not always be the answer; so Prof Vella proposes on-site activities involving mainly arts and crafts and role play.
- Prof Vella led 20 B.Ed and PGCE students on the creation of a set of activities re Ħaġar Qim & Mnajdra temples (see page 83 for the description of the activity).
- Prof Vella describes An Action Research Project endorsed by The Maltese National Commission for UNESCO and supported by Heritage Malta.
- The pedagogy proposed by Prof Vella focused on the ‘New History’ methods; these are mainly concerned with the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’ to teach. Activities created included: workbooks/handouts focusing on important skills of observation and analysis of artefacts, drawing, sketching and recording.
- Sites that were targeted include: (a) The Inquisitor’s Palace Birgu, focusing on the skill of empathy (b) the Tarxien Temples, focusing on the interpretation of a primary historical source (c) The Domus Romana, Rabat, focusing on the Concept of Time.
- The policies of the DQSE (Department of Quality and Standards in Education) as regards fieldwork:
- DQSE policies are guided by the Handbook that can be downloaded from: http://primarysocialstudies.skola.edu.mt/schoolnet/ns/social-studies-primary-handbook.pdf
- All students attending state schools are provided with an official booklet containing a set of worksheets to be worked during the fieldwork trip of the 1st semester (September – February).
- The fieldwork booklets can be downloaded from the Primary Social Studies website at: http://primarysocialstudies.skola.edu.mt.
- During the 2nd semester (March – June) schools choose between a second fieldwork or a project.
4. An overview of the fieldwork trips:
- year 3 – (a) Madwar l-Iskola (b) is-Simar, l-Għadira, il-Lunzjata
- year 4 – (a) Il-Belt/Raħal tagħna (b) Infittxu t-tifkiriet ta’ Dun Karm Psaila, Dun Mikiel Xerri u San Ġorġ Preca fil-Furjana u l-Belt / Intervisti ma’ nies li jgħinuna fil-komunitajiet tagħna
- year 5 – (a) Marsaxlokk, is-sajd u t-turiżmu (b) L-Imdina, il-Birgu, Iċ-Ċittadella
- year 6 – (a) il-Belt Valletta (b) Żjara fil-Park Arkeoloġiku ta’ Ħaġar Qim / Il‑Ġgantija
5. Assessing Fieldwork –
(a) see document Kif Nassessjaw il-Fieldwork at: http://primarysocialstudies.skola.edu.mt/schoolnet/ns/biex-niehdu-l-ikbar-beneficcju-mill-fieldwork-jg-tp.pdf.
(b) See also L-Elaborazzjoni tal-kriterji għall-assessjar tal-Fieldwork at: http://primarysocialstudies.skola.edu.mt/schoolnet/ns/kriterji-assessjar-fieldwork-elaborazzjoni-jg-tp.pdf.