History: Using Stories

HA Quick Guides

Published: 23rd February 2010

‘Making the past present and bringing the distant near' Thomas Babington Macaulay 1828 Smollett's constitutional History

As a teacher covering some area of primary history such as Florence Nightingale or Victorian Britain have you ever heard the dreaded words from a child ‘So what?' This can actually be a front for ‘I'm bored with this task' or, more importantly, ‘What has this got to do with me?' To help children see the point of studying each aspect of history the teacher must bring it alive by helping them to:

  • make a real connection with past people
  • identify with their feelings and
  • dilemmas recognise that while those people
  • faced similar problems to the ones we face today, they lived in very different worlds.

Storytelling in primary history can help play a major role in getting pupils over the ‘So what?' hurdle, for every period includes rich and interesting stories that fire the imagination, intrigue and fascinate as well as imparting important information in a way that is easily understood. So what do we mean by story?

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