Aims and Objectives
At St Columba's pupils are encouraged
- to develop an interest and enthusiasm for history
- to acquire a knowledge and understanding of Irish, European and world history
- to develop the range of skills essential for the study of history
- to develop conceptual understanding and the ability to think independently and critically
- to acquire an informed and critical awareness of their historical inheritance.
Subject organisation within the school Junior Cycle
All students in the Junior Cycle study History as a compulsory subject. In Form Primary and Form I there are two lessons a week and in Forms II and III there are three lessons a week. Class size typically consists of 12 - 15 pupils. History is taught in mixed ability classes and the overwhelming majority of pupils (typically over 90%) sit the Junior Certificate examination at Higher Level. Results have been consistently excellent – in recent years between 25- 40% of pupils have obtained an ‘A’ grade at Higher Level. In 2015, 34% obtained an 'A' grade.
Syllabus in the Junior Cycle
In the Junior Cycle the syllabus involves the study of a wide range of topics and is basically organised along chronological lines. Form Primary is concerned with the study of various ancient civilisations. In Form I we study topics such as Ancient Rome, Pre-Christian and Early Christian Ireland and aspects of the Medieval world. The second year of the Junior Cycle syllabus begins with a study of the Renaissance and continues with such topics as Exploration, Reformation, and Revolutions in the Eighteenth Century. The Third Form syllabus is concerned with understanding the modern world and consists of European history 1920 - 1945, the rise of the Superpowers post 1945, political developments in Ireland 1900 - 1985 and social change in Ireland in the Twentieth Century. Details of the Junior Certificate course are available on www.ncca.ie.
History in the Transition Year
There are usually two or three sets for History in the Transition Year ranging from 10 - 16 pupils in each set. The course consists of three modules, which are intended to provide a bridge from Junior Certificate to the Leaving Certificate course. Pupils examine various aspects of history which serve as a means of introduction to more advanced key skills, such as research, source-analysis, essay-writing, the nature of historical interpretation and field work. Students will be encouraged to use IT and to deliver individual presentations. During the Trinity Term there will be excursions to places of historical interest in the Dublin area.
Syllabus in the Transition Year
- World War I (Michaelmas Term) - a study in depth
- U.S. History, 1900 -1945 (Hilary Term) - a survey course
- History of Dublin - local history
There will be written examinations in the Michaelmas and Hilary terms. There will be a number of written assignments which will involve research, essay-writing, source-analysis and field-work These will be collated to produce a portfolio of work. The Transition Year History Prize will be awarded to the pupil with the best portfolio of work.
Leaving Certificate History
History is a popular and successful subject at Leaving Certificate. In Forms V & VI there are two sets for History (with typically between 10-15 in each set) and we are proud that approximately half of Columbans opt to study History at Leaving Certificate. The overwhelming majority of students sit the final examination at Higher Level( typically over 90% ). Again, the results have been consistently excellent in recent years. In analysing the departmental results over the last five years an average of 36% have attained an ‘A’ grade at Higher Level and 88% have obtained A/B at Higher level.
- Students cover four topics from the Later Modern period, one of which is designated as a topic for a documents-based study. Two of the topics are from Irish History and two are from the History of Europe and the wider world.
- At present we study The United States and the World 187-1914 and 1945-89, Irish history 1912-1949. The documents-based topic at present a module entitled ‘Dictatorship and Democracy, 1920-1945’
- 20% of the final result is in the form of coursework (entitled the Research Study Report) which is based on the student's individual research into a subject of their choice.
- Details of the Leaving Certificate syllabus can be found on www.ncca.ie. Assessment The workload is relatively heavy for the study of history; assessment is carried out by means of regular homework, class-work, effort marks and regular tests and examinations. We attempt to monitor students’ work carefully and take steps to enable improvements to be made and enable pupils to achieve their full potential as budding historians.
- The Library in the College offers a valuable resource for the enterprising bibliophile with an impressive and large History section. The History department makes regular suggestions to ensure this resource continues to be relevant and up-to-date.
- The History department has developed a website in which students can access class notes and materials which are relevant to their studies.
- The department has two designated classrooms which are equipped with appropriate IT technology.
- Pupils and students of all ages are encouraged to attend external lectures, conferences and activities.
- The History department organises expeditions to places of historical interest both near and far – last year we organized a tour to Paris in conjunction with the Modern Languages department and for 2016 we are planning a cultural tour to Italy.
- The History department was inspected in November 2005 and received an excellent inspection report.
- There is a History Society which organises events such as visits from outside speakers on topics of interest.
- History Prizes are awarded annually to outstanding practitioners in the Junior Cycle, the Transition Year and the Senior Cycle and the department aims to foster enjoyment and success in the subject by the use (when deserved!) of distinctions and commendations.We hope that the information presented above gives some idea of our ethos, values, methodology and syllabus and would welcome any observations you may have.
Mrs Marie Haslett, BA, MPhil, PGCE. (Head of Department)
Mr. Barry Finn, BA, MA, HdipEd