'If Jesus Christ were amongst them, they would deceive Him'

Teaching History article

By Tim Kemp, Charlotte Bickmore, published 31st August 2004

During discussions about planning, Tim Kemp and Charlotte Bickmore recently concluded that despite the name they give to their major Year 8 unit (The Making of the United Kingdom), they tend mainly to focus on England, and even more especially, on London. They have a good point. Ask an average Year 8 student to describe Britain in, say, 1700, and it is likely that, at best, you will hear references to palaces, fires that started in Pudding Lane and the Tower of London. Perhaps the notion of life being different according to where in the British Isles you lived (or, indeed, live) is a difficult one for children to grasp. But Kemp and Bickmore have found ways to overcome that difficulty, using a play as a way into the study of the Anglo- Scottish borders. They argue that not only does the topic provide a window into the ‘variegated’ life of the British Isles, but also that it reinforces many of the themes studied previously (e.g. kingship, religion, law and order) by exploring the ways in which these had an impact on real people. Two editions ago we wrote about making history personal. This article makes life 400 years ago more personal by exploring one of the very particular places it was lived.

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