Interview with Patricia A Dawson, 12 April 2010

Patricia Dawson taught in secondary modern and comprehensive schools in Cumbria from the 1960s to the 1990s. She recalls her own history education, her enjoyment of her degree studies in Liverpool and her dislike of the theoretical approach to teaching at the Institute of Education. In her first job, Pat had few resources beyond Unstead and had to devise her own syllabus. However, as Head of Department, she introduced field trips and social history to involve the pupils more in their local environment. She had much greater freedom to teach what she liked than in a grammar school where exams dictated the content. She moved onto producing historical dramas, some of which were co-written with the pupils. These motivated pupils who were easily distracted or disengaged from learning about history in the traditional way. Pat taught and devised her own CSE coursework and in the 1970s, embraced the Schools Council History Project - sources were used to increase pupils' interest, though stories were still the staple of the history she taught. Interviewed by Nicola Sheldon

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