The Spice of Life? Ensuring variety when teaching about the Treaty of Versailles

Teaching History article

By Phil Benaiges, published 31st May 2005

Please note: this article pre-dates the 2014 National Curriculum and some content may be outdated.

Much has been said and written about different learning styles in recent years. Some people have responded with evangelical enthusiasm, others exercise a more cautious approach, whilst a few disregard it completely. Certainly, there are problems in allowing learning style ‘audits’ to shape our teaching strategies entirely. But one message emerges from the debates loud and clear: vary your teaching strategies and you’re more likely to engage all your pupils and develop their understanding. This is hard to contest. A solid diet of question and answer or role-play or written work is unlikely to appeal to a classroom of students who enjoy different ways of learning. Phil Benaiges has used the learning style literature to help him develop a wide repertoire of activities for the history classroom. The fact that he has done so at GCSE is even more impressive. Building on the work of Ian Luff and Phil Smith, Benaiges insists that despite the formal requirements of the GCSE examination, one important key to success is to develop the understanding amongst pupils in whichever ways work best. Here, he treats us to some of his ideas about teaching the Treaty of Versailles.

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