We had a visit this morning from a Campbell River combined Gr 11/12 History class. Around 40 kids packed into the Library to hear Jon’s history lecture, covering WWI, WWII, and the Cold War.
I was only able to listen to a small portion of the lecture, but after the doors were closed I’m able to say that the majority of the kids were paying close attention.
I talked with their teacher, Wayne Demerse, about how he came to bring his classes to our Museum.
“I actually heard about it through another teacher who had taken his classes to CAFM six years ago” he said. “The lecture is a valuable teaching tool because of Jon’s presentation and the fact that he focuses on the history curriculum set out by the province.”
Everything they have covered in the textbook comes alive in the museum. It’s hard to keep teenagers interested but the occasional irreverent comments and hearing that Jon has actually lived some of the events being related piques their interest.
I spoke to some of the students and what they seemed to appreciate was that Jon’s passion for history comes through in the lecture.
“He makes it interesting and interactive” said one of the students, Julia. Her friend Angela agreed and said that Jon added bonus details not contained in the textbook which adds to the experience. They liked the Cold War section, specifically, being able to see an actual missile and learning about bombing.
I next approached a group clustered around the WWI section and asked them what they thought. They all agreed that Jon was a great speaker who made the history come alive. When asked about the museum and the parts they liked best the boys, Trevor and Chas, liked the weapons (the WWI Lee-Enfield with bayonet) and engines but Nadia was interested in the uniforms and Rebecca appreciated the women’s section.
Chas commented that the lecture made him look at wars differently, especially learning how the decisions made at the end of the Second World War led directly to the Cold War.
Bobby appreciated the detail which, combined with the presentation, made it meaningful to him.
All the students I spoke with were generally positive about the experience and when I asked who actually enjoyed history, all of them raised their hands.