Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Oral History Project: Then and Now

As part of our HASS studies, we will be comparing and contrasting life today against life from  previous generations. I think this will prove highly instructive to our children! Hopefully, it will give them a better appreciation of just how fortunate they are to be living in this time and this place.

I am asking the students to conduct an interview (or series of interviews) with either a grandparent or, if possible, a great grand parent. They will ask the interviewee questions about their childhood, and how things were different when compared to today. 

This project will run over several weeks, and our MAC students will collate their information, then write it into a report, and present this in a multi media format. To this end, any photographs, letters, (etc.) would be a wonderful addition to their report (though not mandatory - it might not be possible to obtain them!).

I do understand that for many of our students, grandparents might live half way around the world, making a direct interview rather problematic. If this is the case, perhaps e-mail or even a good old fashioned letter might address these issues. Either way, I fully understand if the logistics are just too difficult to overcome, but hopefully, we can get most of the students to find a suitable source. It doesn't even have to be a blood relation - just someone who can offer insights into a life from the past! Additionally, students are welcome to interview more than one person, if they wish to get a broader range of perspectives. 

The students can ask any questions they like, but here are some general lines of inquiry I would like them to explore:

  • Where did you grow up? (rural, city...)
  • How did your childhood home compare to the homes in 2018? (similarities, differences...)
  • What were you expected to do around the home as a child?
  • What toys/games/hobbies/leisure activities did you engage in as a child?
  • What was parental discipline/expectations like when you were a child?
  • What was a wonderful childhood memory?
  • What was school like? Describe a typical classroom, day...
  • Can you retell a funny/amusing incident from when you were growing up?
  • Can you tell me about your first paid job? What was it? How much did it pay?
  • Was there ever a time in your life when events (where you lived) were dangerous, or sad, or worrying? (wars, poverty, etc...)
  • What are three things you think present day life has 'lost' from when you were growing up?
  • What are three things you think present day life is better than when you were growing up?
  • If you were to give one important piece of  life advice to me, from all your life experience, what would it be?
We will be starting this project now and concluding it by the end of the term. If you could help the students organise the logistics of the interviews, it would be greatly appreciated. More information will follow, but the students can start the process right now.

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