Tips to help teachers run an intergenerational memory session
School memory sessions were a very successful aspect of the Morecambe Bay Lives project. On this page teachers can find tips and support about how to run similar sessions for their classes.
Creating an opportunity in school for children and older adults to meet and share their local memories provides the space for young and old to spend enjoyable, meaningful time together and learn about, and from, each other.
“The children were able to talk to people with first hand experiences which enhanced and developed their knowledge and made the learning real. It provided children with good experiences of meeting and talking
to older members of our local
Teacher, Christchurch Carnforth
The older people were really interesting. I learnt loads about how things used to be and I liked listening to their stories.
Year 5 pupil
EVALUATIONS of the memory sessions, held as part of the project, highlighted how much both the children and visitors had enjoyed the experience and that as a result the children had positively changed their perception of older people discovering that their visitors were approachable, interesting and shared things in common with them. Through the activity children also gained a wider understanding of their local area, how they are connected to the past and the value of memory. Year 3 – year 6 pupils took part in the memory sessions.
OVERVIEW OF A MEMORY SESSION - Older members of the community are invited by pupils in to school for an informal one hour session to share their local memories with a class of pupils. In one room (not the classroom) enough tables arranged so that approximately three children will sit with one adult. Children have previously prepared questions but are asked to have a conversation with the adults, rather than depend on the questions. After about 12 minutes each group of children is moved to the next table - depending on time remaining this will happen perhaps another 3 times. During the session the adults are brought tea and coffee. At the end of the session the children leave and share what they have discovered with the teacher. The visitors usually have a short chat together before they leave.
tHINGS LEARNT DURING mORECAMBE bAY lIVES mEMORY SESSIONS
- Andrew Croskery talks to pupils
- Overton St Helens
Andrew Croskery chats to pupils at the Overton St Helen's memory share.
ORAL HISTORY As Morecambe Bay Lives was an oral history project pupils also recorded the conversations during the memory session. This adds another dimension to a memory share but requires recording equipment and an element of training for the pupils.
Pupils both enjoyed the recording aspect and the fact they were collecting recordings for an archive. Having recordings can be a valuable resource to use in the classroom. A selection of the school recordings can be heard at . If you make recordings, even if they are only for internal use, it is important that you ask the adult participants to sign a clearance form. More information about this and all aspects of running an oral history project in school can be found in a free resource produced by The Oral History Society