Patron of the Wilkins Foundation, Richard Harry Harris, recently spoke at the History Teachers Association of Australia’s annual conference. Held in the October holidays at Loreto College in Adelaide, Harry was the keynote speaker before a crowd of approximately two hundred and fifty history teachers from around the nation.
Harry has long been an advocate for the Wilkins story to be known by Australian students and so he jumped at the opportunity to convince their teachers first. Sadly, but unsurprisingly, only a very small handful of the teachers present had heard of Wilkins. That was about to change!
Harry proved to be an excellent, engaging storyteller and spoke for nearly an hour. His presentation was filled with grand images and videos and his audience soon became Wilkins’ admirers.
Of special interest too, were the connections Harry made between Wilkins’ experiences and his own. An example he gave were the (numerous) times Wilkins was told he couldn’t or shouldn’t do something and yet he held true to his convictions and went ahead with measured control and confidence. “The same could be said for aspects of the Thai cave rescue”, he said.
A short follow up talk by Wilkins Foundation board member Andy Payne then introduced teachers to the resources that they could use in the future. Observant followers of this website will have already noticed the free digital resources to enjoy. Available in the “Resources” section of the website are teaching plans and activities for Middle Years students, an interactive iBook, a PowerPoint Presentation and other reading materials. There is also a location for newly inspired teachers to upload of their own lesson materials when they get an opportunity.
The morning’s presentation demonstrated History coming alive with connections between the past and the present. The teachers were well taught by Harry who introduced and inspired a new history topic for them to share with their students in classrooms across Australia.