One of the aspects of the Lost Diggers of Fromelles project is the connection the students felt with the soldier they were creating a video profile for. This was aided by connections with family members along the way.
In post project evaluations the students have consistently referred to how ‘connected they felt’ with the soldier. This point was made regularly by Steve Garry our History guru. Steve felt this was one of the most valuable aspects of the project. Getting students to empathise with the soldier and his family was a essential component in the high quality of profiles created.
This year has been no different with a number of students expressing how responsible they feel that they need create a profile that is worthy of the sacrifice made by these men. They realise the significance of what they are doing. They know the families of the soldiers will cast a critical eye over the end product.
The Battle of Fromelles was one of the worst in our country’s history. When you mention the facts and figures around dead and injured the numbers are so great that they are just that, numbers. They mean nothing to the students. Having a focus on a single person and delving into their story means connects the students instantly. They start looking at ages, families, occupations, hardships and the story starts to piece itself together. If the students are lucky their search takes them to a connection with a relative and the story becomes more personal. The end product takes on even more significance as family members wait patiently for the final profile.
Here is a video outlining the importance of empathy in learning.