Move Me On 192: analytical focus with diverse histories

Teaching History feature

Published: 10th October 2023

Trainee uses examples of diverse experiences in the past to generate student interest, but with no analytical focus

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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After completing an undergraduate degree in history and politics, Catherine joined a graduate recruitment scheme and worked in retail management for ten years. She took time out of work to look after her young children, and recently decided to go into teaching, inspired in part by the calls for curriculum change that she had seen in the news, given impetus by the Black Lives Matter movement. She is therefore joining the profession with a keen interest in approaches to curriculum planning that seek to give more prominence to the histories of the people who had tended to be excluded from or marginalised within the topics that she studied at school.

The history department in which she is completing most of her training has made a number of specific changes to its schemes of work in recent years, focusing particularly on the way in which its Year 8 study of the trade in enslaved people is positioned within the curriculum. The teachers have, for example, developed a new unit on the empire of Mali, to ensure that students are aware of some of the rich history of pre-colonial Africa and have also been exploring ways of integrating a study of the legacy of the trade into their teaching about Britain in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Despite this commitment, Catherine has been struck by the lack of acknowledgement, in the department’s textbooks and other regularly used resources, of the presence either of Black Britons or of women...

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