Pupils as apprentice historians (1) - History Detectives

Primary History article

By Jacqui Dean and Jon Nichol, published 21st March 2011

Getting pupils to think as apprentice historians

Please note: this article pre-dates the 2014 National Curriculum and some content may be outdated.

The historian R.G. Collingwood inspired the Schools Council History Project [SC HP] that transformed the teaching of history in Britain from the early 1970s. The SC HP argued that pupils should be ‘apprentice' historians who developed the skills, concepts, protocols, processes and procedural knowledge of history as disciplined enquiry. Such procedural knowledge - historical thinking - empowers pupils both to create their own historical understanding and to test the validity of historical arguments, accounts and testimony.

As apprentice historians pupils would work under the close supervision and guidance of their teachers, who provide a surrogate record that is a seminal element in historical thinking (Hexter, 1972).

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