Practitioner Enquiry

Gavin SheffieldGavin Sheffield, Subject Tutor History


'Film 2012 - The Impact of Student Documentaries'


Documentaries can play a crucial part in learning and there has never been such a plethora of
materials available to our learners both on and off line. It has not been my experience that my
students have embraced this material and I reasoned that if they were to produce the films
themselves that it may assist them with their work and encourage them to use the medium
more often.

The overall aim is to empower students to produce their own documentaries on the AS
Modern History and A2 Early Modern history courses thereby enabling them to use creative
skills in order to enhance their academic work.


  • Phase 1: Students were questioned on their existing knowledge of and enjoyment of documentaries and asked to reflect on how these films have aided their previous learning. One class was filmed by the BBC discussing and reviewing documentaries on the Soviet Union.
  • Phase 2: Directors were hired from within the classes taking part in the project. AS Modern Students experimented with short filming sessions just prior to their AS Examination in January 2012. The A2 Early Modern project also commenced.
  • Phase 3: Students are currently involved in producing documentaries in stages to be edited together and uploaded prior to the start of study leave in May 2012. In addition further experiments are taking place with individual topics across all my taught classes.