NSW school teacher Rebekah Poole has spent much of January 2016 visiting Ireland and looking at sites associated with Irish history on a trip she undertook after winning the NSW History Teachers Association [HTA] scholarship for 2016. Rebekah is a history teacher at Knox Grammar School in Sydney.Before she left on her trip she told Fairfax Media that:
‘Modern history, in particular the study of conflict, is my passion. Studying history benefits students by promoting critical thinking and connectivity between the past and present, allowing students to gain a deeper understanding of the world in which we live.’
She said that her scholarship application last year focused on providing teachers in NSW with a wider breadth of resources relating to the study of Irish history, a topic that she says is not often taught in Australia.
‘Given that an estimated 30 per cent of Australians claim some degree of Irish ancestry, the study of Irish history is not only highly relevant but logical,’ she told Fairfax. ‘ I centred my application around highlighting the benefit of topics such as The Troubles and the Easter Rising in teaching common historical concepts such as nationalism, socialism, terrorism, imperialism, selfdetermination and sectarianism.
‘ Within my school community I will be using the trip to improve and broaden the resourcing of our highly popular Michael Collins personality study for preliminary modern history, in addition to creating new links within the stage five movement of peoples topic.’
Rebekah Poole returned to Australia on January 26th. Photos and blog posts from Ms Poole’s trip to Ireland can be found at irishhistoryaustralia.com. Her blog also contains a range of online resources and links to assist the teaching of Irish history. Rebekah has written on a range of topics associated with Irish history in the NSW HTA’s Teaching History Journal and elsewhere.
Tintean’s editorial team has contacted Rebekah during her trip and hope that she will be able to write an article or two for us based on her Irish experiences.