Northern Ireland's 1968.

Ulster Museum Learning Resource: CCEA GCSE History, Section 2, Option B

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Changing Relations: Northern Ireland and its Neighbours, 1965-1998.

Introduction

By establishing the Objects In Focus project, with the assistance of Dr Chris Reynolds of Nottingham Trent University, the Ulster Museum has shown a firm commitment to the enhancement of the modern history gallery.

The emphasis is on significant events in the history of Northern Ireland between 1965 and 1972. Educational resources have been developed in order to encourage more students and school parties to visit and make use of the evolving collection of objects which are connected with that period.

The objects are not only thought-provoking reminders of past events. They are also valuable educational resources linked to the history curricula of our schools (and, in particular, to CCEA GCSE History Option 2, Changing Relations: Northern Ireland and its Neighbours, 1965- 1998).

Some new displays have already been developed for the Museum. Among these is an interactive touch-screen, on which nine different films are available. Each of these is between two and five minutes in length and is also available online. The films feature archive footage, interviews with former political activists and assessments by historians of important events.

This resource includes guidance notes and a range of pre-visit activities for teachers who would like to prepare their students for visits to the Museum. The focus is on the years between 1965 and 1972, inclusive. Materials will also be provided for students to use while they pass through the Museum. With those, they will be able to engage fully with displays and obtain the greatest possible benefit from their visits. Material for teachers will also contain suggestions for follow-up exercises which can be undertaken in the classroom.

It is hoped that, by facilitating such activities (and by directing students to the wealth of Ulster Museum and CAIN resources which are available online), the material will stimulate students’ independent investigations and lead to useful examination of

  • the events themselves;
  • their significance immediately afterwards; and
  • their lasting impact on the politics of Northern Ireland and on all the people of the region.

The material provided will meet the Key Stage 4 statutory skills requirements for GCSE History, namely “cross-curricular skills” and “thinking skills”. The development of other personal abilities in students at that level will also be assisted.

nottingham-trent-university-lottery-fundedCross-Curricular Skills

  • Communication (COMM)
  • Using mathematics (UM)
  • Using ICT (UICT)

Thinking Skills

  • Problem solving (PS)
  • Working with others (WO)
  • Self-management (SM)

The Museum’s resources which are connected with the 1965-1972 period can be divided into three types

Visual

  • Film footage
  • Photographs
  • Cartoons
  • Posters
  • Newspaper articles

Audio-Visual

  • Film footage with commentary
  • Filmed interviews with key figures and historians
  • Music of this period

Physical

  • Historic objects and artefacts from the period

There is a wide range of activities and diverse content that make up this learning resource. For example:

  • Students will be encouraged to examine artefacts closely. Having investigated for themselves both the broad background and the story of specific objects, they will be expected to assess the historical significance of those objects.
  • The roles and importance of prominent individuals (both at the time and over subsequent decades) will be evaluated carefully.
  • The roles of political parties and other organisations, many of them founded during the period, will be examined, as will the emergence of armed groups.
  • Students will be invited to look at the global political scene between the middle of the 1960s and the early 1970s, in order to compare and contrast events and movements in Northern Ireland with developments in other countries (such as the push for “civil rights” in the United States and the Paris protests of 1968). Some of those inspired the leaders of organisations in Northern Ireland.
  • The responses of the Governments of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland (and the international relationships of the two countries) were also very important; first, at the outbreak of “the Troubles” in 1968 and 1969; and, then, in determining the course of events within Northern Ireland for many years afterwards.

The programme has been broken into three sections and these are based on the curriculum for CCEA GCSE History, Section 2, Option B, Changing Relations: Northern Ireland and its Neighbours, 1965-1998.

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