Teachers' Notes for Oral History Project - KS2

print page
prev page


It is a good idea to inform parents through a letter or the school newsletter that you are planning to do an oral history project and hope to involve them in this.

1. What is oral history?

Introduce topic - What is oral history? "Oral history is spoken history, it is the recording of people's memories." Pupils complete worksheet 1 by making lists of what is written down and spoken about in their family.

Collect and collate results from class. These could be displayed in graphic form as a bar chart, pictogram or pie chart. Pupils could use the computer to do this with a graphing programme such as RM Windows Starting Graph.

2. Childhood stories.

History is about everyone - everyone has their own personal history, and their memories and experiences are a part of the history of the time in which they live.
Homework task: pupils ask a parent or family member to tell them a story about something that happened to them, or that they did when they were little. Someone in family records this on worksheet 2. Children could type up story in a word processing program and scan in and insert a photograph of themselves when they were young.

3. Family Tree.

Explain what a family tree is. Pupils can use worksheet 3 for homework to complete their family tree. Some pupils may want to extend this to include other family members, such as siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins.

4. Family Interviews.

Use family trees as basis of discussion to chose a family member, friend or neighbour to interview. What do you know about them? What would you like to know?
Discuss questions and interviewing techniques, open and closed questions, follow-up questions. Discuss what are 'good' questions "good questions encourage people to talk". Worksheet 4.

Pupils make a list of questions, and discuss in pairs, then fours, and produce a list of 10 questions, in the order in which they will ask them.
Pupils create questionnaire on computer, or worksheet 5 could be used or adapted.
Share results with class. Whole class or a group of pupils can create a database from the interviews, using a database program such as Information Workshop or RM Information Magic.

5. Looking at an example of an Oral History Project

Use the link to the Tredworth Junior school website as a study of an example for an oral history project. This website records work by a Y6 class as part of the Channel 4 Black History Map 2000. www.csad.ox.ac.uk/Tredworth/Tredworth.html

Click on 'Visit our Black History map project' and discuss these questions with the class.

  • Where were the children in class 6LM born?
  • Which 2 countries did some of their parents and grandparents come from?
  • Find out where the children in your class were born.
  • Find out where the parents and grandparents of children in your class were born.
  • Display class results as a chart, pie chart, graph or map.

Go to the page of interviews. Pupils read the six interviews, and watch the video extracts of Mrs Celeste Baddon, Mr A.J. Goddard, Mr George Brown, Mrs Milna Rose Hancock, Mrs Dora Davies and Mrs Dolores Rhoule.

Pupils record their findings and thoughts on the interviews by completing worksheet 6

6. Preparing to interview

Elicit children's views on the website interviews. Make a class list of questions to ask interviewees. Or use or adapt the list in worksheet 7. Invite children's family members and/or members of the community in to be interviewed, or arrange to visit elders at a community centre or accommodation.

7. Interviews

Pupils can be accompanied out to do interview in small groups, and/or whole class can interview in school. Allocate questions to be asked to pupils. Record interviews on tape or video.

8. Listening to Interviews

Play back interviews to class. Children can choose one story to record on paper, and one to tell aloud to their group. Worksheet 8 and worksheet 9.

9. Displaying results

Children's work could be displayed as a wall display, book or website.

iRespect is an education resource for the development of positive tolerance - find out more...