It’s that time of year again! Joe and I have been discussing how we will improve this Pressure Groups inquiry this year, on and off, almost since it finished last summer. In FOSIL terminology, we took our own ‘meta-‘Reflect stage very seriously and used it as a launchpad for (re-)designing our next inquiry.
Of course this year we have the added complication of needing to deliver the whole thing remotely during the coronavirus shutdown, but inquiry actually really lends itself to remote learning and we were pleased to discover that we would only need to make minor adjustments to make it suitable for remote learning through Microsoft Teams (our school’s chosen platform). I’ll come back to that in another post, but I wanted to share the LibGuide we have developed now, partly because I am really excited about it, and partly because it might be of use to other A level Politics teachers (or Librarians supporting them) thinking about how to teach F6 Pressure Groups during school closures. We had been planning to use a LibGuide before coronavirus came along, it is just a bit more comprehensive than it might otherwise have been. Note that resources from our subscription databases (such as the Politics Review articles) will only work for members of our School community, but there are plenty of resources on the guide that are available for free.
As a reminder (because this thread has become quite long), the subject objectives of the inquiry are that students emerge with:
a good understanding of what makes a pressure group successful; and
knowledge of a number of case studies of individual pressure groups that they can use as evidence in exam questions.
The FOSIL skills focus areas are:
evaluating sources (through CRAAP testing);
improving online searching skills; and
developing evaluative skills by bringing together a range of different opinions from different sources to form a conclusion.
Last year students prepared for and debated the motion “This House believes that x is a successful pressure group”, where x was a different, named rights-based pressure group for each pair of students in the class. Then they designed their own new pressure group and explained why they thought it would be successful. The inquiry went well and we were largely happy with it, but there are always improvements that can be made.
This year we are going to keep the debate for rights-based groups, but replace the “own group design” exercise with writing an article that includes a case study of a (named, assigned) different type of group (Trade Unions, Think Tanks, Cyberactivists, Lobbyists and Corporations) as an entry for the Orwell Youth Prize. The theme of the prize this year is “The Future We Want”, so students will need to explain whether and how groups like this feature in the future they want. I will explain in later posts why we have made this change (and in particular why we chose this prize), what we hope to achieve and how we are supporting students (but there is quite a lot of detail on the LibGuide if you are interested).
Really excited about seeing how this goes, and whether the improvements make the differences we expect!