Aston Kwok, history teacher from a selective highschool in Sydney
I used the painting to get the students to explore various key inquiry questions in the History Extension syllabus. In particular:
Who are the historians?
What makes someone a 'historian'?
What are the aims and purposes of history?
What can influence a historian in how they construct the past?
How has history been constructed and recorded over time?
Is this a work of history?
What historiographical issues might a chosen method of constructing the past present?
What constraints might a historian work under?
The most important thing was it hooked the students first. It was a nice change for students who have been exposed to too many books and documentaries. A painting was a refreshing change.
It was useful to have a few students who are knowledgeable about some religious history to make some evaluation. In a class with fewer of those kinds of students, a teacher might have to drive the discussion a lot more. Maybe some kind of timelines of several religions downloaded from the net would be useful to serve as comparison and discussions.
It was also an effective way to get the students to debate whether a painting can be considered a historical work, and what constitutes a piece of historical work? If so, can a painter be considered a 'historian'? In what ways might a painter in this context be similar to an academic historian?
My verdict is that this is a fantastic tool to use during the early start to Year 12 HSC History Extension.
Teachers at Birchgrove Primary, Sydney
We have Jenny's visual history poster just outside the school library. We find it engages our students' natural curiosity for history and ideas. We take it off the wall to use in lessons about different belief systems and cultures. Our students have found it easy to use and we have noticed that the hand-painted miniatures capture their imagination and interest. What impresses us most are the insightful questions that come from using the timeline.
In the Primary syllabus, there is a unit in Stage 2 (Years 3 & 4) called “People and their Beliefs”.
We had a double class of Year 3s completing projects on different religious traditions. The Journeys of Faith timeline has historical events painted in great detail in acrylics on canvas to show the history of each religious tradition. We were struck by the attentiveness of the 60 children during the half hour lesson. The 8 year olds asked perceptive questions relating their project work to the history presented in the illustrated timeline, showing that they understood its relevance to their topic. They particularly expressed their enjoyment and appreciation of the artwork and of the experience of learning through the pictures.
Vanessa Hall, Education Officer, Religious Education, Brisbane Catholic Education Office
The Living Timelines Poster that Jenny has created has been a valuable teaching resource in our upper primary and secondary classrooms across a range of schools. Teachers have been able to engage students in enquiry-based activities through the detailed images and artwork. The visual timeline supports the learning of all students in the classroom and captures key moments in the history and philosophy of the major world religions.
The historical and religious information that accompanies the illustrated timeline has been a great support for the teachers who sometimes struggle with finding resources that are both engaging and relevant for the teaching of world religions in the classroom.
I highly recommend this resource to teachers and commend Jenny on her initiative and creativity.
Mia talks about their Family Ancestry Timeline:
We commissioned a picture of our family story in honour of our daughter's Bat Mitzvah. I spent time with Jenny describing what was important and gave her some photos to inspire her interpretation. After some time to distill the stories and images, the team produced a lovely artwork, that my daughter cherishes.
The finished artwork was filled with the blues and greens of the places of our special memories in our daughter's journey toward adolescence. We were so happy with the painting, that we used it on the invitation to the event and framed it to share at the ceremony.
Jess talks about his Mandala timeline:
I think it is cool to have this painting reminding me of my ancestors and showing me where I have come from and what qualities I share with my grandparents and great grandparents.