Teacher fellows

Sarah Gillen

Growing up and living in Belfast, where dual narratives can be a daily topic of discussion, brought me to Parallel Histories and its aim to encourage teachers not to shy away from controversial histories into the classroom.

After my undergraduate degree, I spent 10 years as a classroom teacher, in the south of England.  In the early stages of my career, I knew students were keen to learn about conflict-related topics, especially those that were featured heavily in the media.

I was once challenged to face my own misconceptions of my own nation’s past when planning ‘The Troubles, 1968-1998’ scheme of work for my year 9 historians. It inspired me to take a different approach from teaching key turning points from 1968– 1998 and instead reach out and engage with people from both sides of the divide and collect oral testimonies and adapt a dual narrative approach to the topic.  This not only changed how I delivered ‘The Troubles’ in the classroom, but it showed my students the importance of investigating evidence from different perspectives, critically, and formulate their own opinions.

As Programme Manager for Parallel Histories, it is exciting to capture the voices of young people from across the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and beyond. Through our digital debating programme, it is refreshing to see students being challenged to defend perspectives opposite to their own and hear their fascinating opinions and views of the past using historical evidence to support their arguments.

Sarah Gillen

Growing up and living in Belfast, where dual narratives can be a daily topic of discussion, brought me to Parallel Histories and its aim to encourage teachers not to shy away from controversial histories into the classroom.

After my undergraduate degree, I spent 10 years as a classroom teacher, in the south of England.  In the early stages of my career, I knew students were keen to learn about conflict-related topics, especially those that were featured heavily in the media.

I was once challenged to face my own misconceptions of my own nation’s past when planning ‘The Troubles, 1968-1998’ scheme of work for my year 9 historians. It inspired me to take a different approach from teaching key turning points from 1968– 1998 and instead reach out and engage with people from both sides of the divide and collect oral testimonies and adapt a dual narrative approach to the topic.  This not only changed how I delivered ‘The Troubles’ in the classroom, but it showed my students the importance of investigating evidence from different perspectives, critically, and formulate their own opinions.

As Programme Manager for Parallel Histories, it is exciting to capture the voices of young people from across the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and beyond. Through our digital debating programme, it is refreshing to see students being challenged to defend perspectives opposite to their own and hear their fascinating opinions and views of the past using historical evidence to support their arguments.