Saturday, April 23, 2005
ANZAC Day has become one of our most important national days, commemorating as it does the sacrifice of lives lost in all wars.
It is a shame that ANZAC Day falls in the school holidays this year because it provides inspiration for teachers to deepen students understanding of the importance of the Gallipoli Campaign in particular, and the sacrifice that New Zealand men and woman made in all the wars, as part of our nation’s history.
When the day falls in school time it is a great opportunity for teachers to make use of a constructivist approach by asking their students what ANZAC means to them. What are their questions about the day and what is the meaning of the poppy symbol? From such questions students can then become involved in research about the various wars and what they meant to their country, and to how it contributes to what makes us all New Zealanders.
A constructivist approach can be used at any level and as students return to the topic over the years their knowledge and understanding will deepen.
After gaining information about their ‘prior’ view and gathering idea from home, and other sources, the teacher can develop a few simple activities to help their students understand the implication of ANZAC and sacrifices made by New Zealanders in other wars.
The constructivist approach taps into the natural way we all learn, and when aligned with sensitive teaching to challenge student misconceptions, should be an integral part of all teaching whatever subject.