Malet Lambert School has been trialling a new way of teaching humanities subjects over the past half term – and it has been a resounding success.
History, Geography and Religious Education are more traditionally taught as separate lessons at secondary school, but Year 7 are now being taught all three subjects together in a class called Gateway.
Students are taught by the same teacher for eight lessons across a two-week timetable to ensure consistency and to improve the relationship between teacher and student. They look at different topics from three different humanities viewpoints during class.
Gateway provides a bridge between primary and secondary school by focusing on a thematic approach to learning. Improving literacy across subject areas is also key to preparing for success at GCSE.
Both staff and students have responded with enthusiasm and praise for this new teaching style.
Humanities teacher Mrs Knight says, “Teaching Gateway isn’t like teaching at all – it’s much more fun! Students are keen and want to continue Gateway in Year 8.
“They are benefitting from the consistency of approach, time to produce quality work and the focus on literacy.
“We are developing excellent relationships as a result of really knowing the pupils, their strengths and weaknesses.”
Fellow Gateway teacher Miss Binns says, “Gateway is brilliant! Seeing the children more often means it’s much easier to get to know them and helps to develop a better relationship between teacher and pupil.”
Mrs Williamson also agrees, saying, “Instead of seeing my classes twice a week and trying to remind them what we were last studying, I see them almost every day.
“In a way, it’s like having a form group, and that consistency is really beneficial in lessons.”
The students wholeheartedly agree, especially when interactive teaching methods are involved.
Mrs Knight’s class are currently studying the story of Hull, and this week were creating Lego models of important parts of Hull’s history. They then had to piece together the story chronologically as a class, recalling facts and dates along the way.
Joe feels this way of working really helps to stimulate his interest in the humanities subjects.
He said, “I think Gateway is absolutely brilliant. I like how we mix up all the subjects and look at something from lots of viewpoints.
“I enjoy reading and writing and I think this class is really helping me to improve my skills in these areas.
“But I also really like the practical activities, like the Lego task today. It’s so much fun working like this and makes the subjects more interesting.
“I really like that we see our teacher lots too. I feel like she knows me well and we have a good relationship, which make me enjoy lessons more.”
Paniz was originally unsure about what Gateway would be like but is a big fan after two months in lessons.
She commented, “I thought Gateway might be a bit boring before I did it but now it’s my favourite lesson by far!
“My teacher is brilliant and she makes the classes really fun and interesting. We get to work on our reading and writing too, which is good for me because I like both.”
“I enjoy it when we go up to the front and speak to the class.”
“I like it that we read at the start of some lessons.”
“The thing that I enjoy the most about Gateway is that we plan a piece of writing carefully before improving it to write our final piece.”
“It helps me with my confidence.”
“I get to use high level words and that improves my writing."
“I like Gateway because it is three lessons in one and my teacher makes all my lessons fun.”
“We learn lots of things about Hull which is great.”
“I like researching about the past of where I was born and that we get to do fun activities.”
“I think Gateway has a good range of activities and it helps with my understanding of the subjects.”
“I like having debates and being able to speak about what we believe.”
“I love reading so I like Gateway because we get to do lots of reading.”
“When we do writing, we get very good grades – I like that!”
“We do serious work but fun work too.”
“In Gateway lessons we get to discuss our work and talk to everybody in class.”