by Jonathan Burton
London Victoria is tourist central. The station itself easily boasts more fast food outlets than platforms whilst also being within walking distance of famous London landmarks like Buckingham Palace, St James Park and 10 Downing Street. If you find yourself in need of a model of Big Ben or an insatiable desire for a cuddly beefeater, then this is the place to come. However, myself and Ben were not here to see the sites. We were on more important business.
Courtesy of the Old Operating Theatre, we were on our way to represent the Age of Revolution project at a revision session for GCSE students studying Medicine Through Time. Hopefully, the new skills we had acquired through A-Levels and University would be put to good use helping the students improve their analytical skills.
I must admit to feeling slightly nervous as we approached the venue. It feels five minutes since I myself completed GCSEs; the thought of lecturing others on how to improve their skills seemed strange, almost laughable.
‘What happens if they think we’re students?’ I asked Ben. ‘How do we prove we’re not?’
As it happens, those fears were immediately expunged upon entering the room. It was full of teenage girls, seated quietly below the dais, listening to the introductory lecture. I relaxed slightly. It was exceedingly unlikely that any of the organizers were likely to mistake either Ben or I for participants!
The structure of the event was simple. The course was divided up into various sections, based either on period or theme. The students spent thirty minutes on each section which was itself divided into a lecture to revise the basic facts and a discussion period where various sources were analysed. There were also frequent breaks to refresh both mind and body, which stopped the students from losing too much focus. The source section was where Ben and I swung into action, roaming around the room attempting to broaden and improve the students understanding and analytical skills.
The discussions were generally lively and showed a good understanding of both the periods under discussion and a broad range of analytical techniques. We were ourselves subjected to a detailed interrogation: how old were we, where were we from, what were we doing here? Ben and I tried to answer these questions as best we could whilst trying to make sure conversation didn’t get too off topic!
Five minutes before the end, the organizers allowed us to give a short talk on the Age of Revolution project which we used to spread the word about the projects aims and achievements. The students seemed interested although this may have been simply relief that their ordeal was almost at an end! With that the day ended, with the students departing for their homes and Ben and I for the tube in a successful attempt to beat the rush hour throng.
Ben and I would like to thank Julie, Gareth and Hailey for both inviting us to the session and to the Age of Revolution project for providing us with the opportunity. Thanks again for allowing us to take part.