Analysing Anne Frank: a case study in the teaching of thinking skills


By Peter Fisher, published 10th May 1999

For those lucky history departments in and around Newcastle this article will not be news. Peter Fisher alludes to the quasi-religious atmosphere that is often discernible amongst history teachers who have been working with the Thinking Skills groups linked to University of Newcastle Department of Education. He is not exaggerating (and don't worry: this is not some dubious mystical activity!). History and geography teachers who have started to use the Newcastle approach simply cannot get enough of it. They have therefore become missionary-like in their determination to share the positive impact upon pupil motivation and performance. Peter Fisher has produced a practical and inspirational account of some of the approaches which have become known as ‘Thinking Skills' and which are now so popular and so excitedly discussed by history teachers in the North East of England. It is just one distinctive approach to developing thinking (and one which both dovetails with and diverges from other approaches) but the careful definition and shaping of its pedagogic components have become its hallmarks. This has helped wider professional debate by giving us some clear and common terms of reference. If you live in a part of the world where local networks of history teachers are still a bit sleepy (or non-existent), take one of Peter Fisher's activities to your next in-service course, teacher conference or HA branch meeting and get it on the agenda for discussion!

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