Developing KS3 students’ ability to challenge their history curriculum through an early introduction of significance

Teaching History article

By Andrew Slater, published 19th April 2023

Angkor W(h)at? And why?

Offered five weeks to teach ‘whatever he wanted’ to Year 7, Andrew Slater decided that he wished to tackle the concept of significance head-on early in his students’ time in his school. He chose the expectedly unfamiliar substantive content of the Khmer Empire, challenging his students to justify the significance of what they were studying in its historical context, as well as in terms of how modern Cambodia interprets its past. He then challenged his students to suggest further areas of unfamiliar content which might or should be taken into consideration during teachers’ process of curriculum design. Slater argues that historical significance is no longer a forgotten key element, but rather the (increasingly unhidden) gem of our curriculum. As such it should be tackled by students explicitly, and early, in Key Stage 3...

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