Teachers’ Workshop 2015

The Letters of 1916 and Military Archives of Ireland are pleased announce the launch of the 1916 in Transition material took place at the History Teachers Association of Ireland conference on 3 October 2015.

The conference saw the launch of several lesson plans during the teachers workshop that ran from 5-7 August. Each lesson plan makes use of material from both the Letters of 1916 project and the Military Archives’ digitised collections. In this way the lesson plans make use of sources found within national institutions as well as those in private collections.

These sources include the Bureau of Military History Witness Statements, the Military Service Pension collection as well as a wealth of accompanying material such as letters, photographs and other related documents. This year’s workshop took place over three days and was attended by thirty individuals, including members of the Letters of 1916 project team, archivists, third level educators and historians with generous funding provided by the Irish Research Council and the Department of Education.

Over the course of the three days, the workshop adopted a participatory, team-based approach. Participants were introduced to the Letters of 1916 project by Professor Susan Schreibman while Commandant Padraic Kennedy spoke about the Military Archives’ digital collections. Historians Liz Gillis and Paul O’Brien outlined the ways in which they have utilised these sources in their own research while Brian Hughes and Mel Farrell were also on hand to share their experiences. The participants brainstormed and exchanged ideas among the diverse group of teachers, archivists and historians to create the final set of lesson plans.

These innovative lesson plans will encourage students to engage directly with primary source material while making them aware of the need to locate online material in a discerning way. The lesson plans introduce students to the events and personalities of 1916 while facilitating further exploration of such themes as: the Rising outside Dublin; the impact on civilians; the role of women and the concept of divided loyalties among others. They also encompass a wide variety of exercises and activities including: textual analysis; student presentations; role-play; group work; booklet production and poster design. These activities will deepen student understanding of the events of 1916 while bringing individuals connected with the Easter Rising to life. These lesson plans are now available online for use in the classroom at http://www.militaryarchives.ie/collections/online-collections/1916-intransition.

The Letters of 1916 and Military Archives wish to thank all those who took part. Moreover, we would be delighted to hear from any teachers who have already used the Letters of 1916 in the classroom. We would be interested in hearing your feedback and suggestions on how the project can be enhanced as a teaching resource for secondary level students. We are also very happy to respond to any queries you may have relating to the project, just email us at letters1916@gmail.com.