Head of History
Joanna joined Hurst in 2008. She has an MA from Edinburgh in History and gained her PGCE and DipEd from Equalitas as part of the GTP programme at Hurst. She has a special educational interest in helping teenagers to write argumentatively, and has also taught English, Drama and Citizenship. Jo has a particular interest in Middle Eastern history and the history of religious fundamentalism. She loves singing the blues and drawing portraits in her spare time.
History is the study of human experience; it explains the world we live in. History teaches students to think in a combination of ways not found in any other subject. The use of sources as evidence requires critical skills of detective work, sifting bias and prejudice. Students have to understand real people whose motives and ideologies are alien to our own, and make balanced judgements about them.
At A-level our students study the English Civil War, the fall of Russian Tsarism and the rise of the Soviet Union, and Britain's fractious relationship with Ireland during the 19th and early 20th Century. We follow the AQA specification.
History develops skills of research and information handling; how to select relevant information to construct logical, analytical arguments and to express them concisely and clearly. These are skills which are valued in a variety of professions. History combines well with all other arts subjects, and increasing numbers of students combine it with mathematics and/or a science, because it demands similar skills of logic and analysis. It leads to History, Politics or Modern History courses at university, and is regarded as excellent preparation for careers in management, law, politics and the media. History is a popular university choice amongst our students, and most go on to study at highly selective institutions. We run weekly sessions to help prepare students for these applications.
If we consider the shortness of human life, and our limited knowledge, even of what happens in our own time... A man acquainted with history may, in some respect, be said to have lived from the beginning of the world, and to have been making additions to his stock of knowledge in every century.