Move Me On 182: thinks that substantive knowledge is all that matters

Teaching History feature

Published: 19th April 2021

Trainee has interpreted factual knowledge emphasis to mean that substantive knowledge is all that matters

Lina Power has interpreted an emphasis on knowledge organisers and factual knowledge tests to mean that substantive knowledge is all that matters.

Move Me On is designed to build critical, informed debate about the character of teacher training, teacher education and professional development. It is also designed to offer practical help to all involved in training new history teachers. Each issue presents a situation in initial teacher education/training with an emphasis upon a particular history-specific issue. 
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Lina Power began her training as a history teacher with a keen awareness that she would need to develop a lot of new subject knowledge as her undergraduate degree had been in classics and ancient history. She was also nervous about the demands that she would face, returning to education after nearly a decade working in various administrative roles.

Lina was hugely reassured to be placed in a school which had embraced the idea of subject knowledge organisers across all subjects, and she regards them as a central point of reference in terms of the knowledge that she needs to build. She has therefore tended to focus her own learning on working through each document, treating the named individuals and events as the focus for her learning and generally using online searches to direct her to relevant information. She has read very little historical scholarship about the topics that she has been teaching, insisting that what she most needs is a quick way into each topic, which the knowledge organisers provide, showing her exactly what she has to find out...

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