Debates: Narratives - what matters most in school history education?

Teaching History article

By Peter Mandler, Seán Lang & Ted Vallance, published 3rd January 2012

What matters most in history education: learning narratives, making narratives or understanding how narratives are made?

In England, a curriculum review is imminent. Following a recent ‘call for evidence' by the government, further consultation on the future shape of history in schools will follow. The HA is currently consulting its membership and will be publishing discussion papers in January 2012. At such a time, everyone in the history education community needs to reflect on the nature of history and ways of teaching it. Many history teachers already share new ways of tackling challenges for pupils' historical learning, through publications (not least Teaching History), through workshops, through conference debate. The curriculum review is a process to which all history teachers can and should contribute whether or not they currently share and discuss their practice publicly.

The three-way debate presented on the following pages is designed to stimulate continued reflection on one aspect of the subject that history teachers have often discussed - narrative. This time, three professional historians explore the issue. The views expressed by these three authors are those of the authors, not a statement of the HA's position. The debate is presented as a stimulus for teachers and others in the history education community to engage in questioning, challenge and exploration. The editors hope that this debate will encourage even more history teachers to share their views and ideas through publication in Teaching History and through other forums for debate, especially at this crucial time of curriculum review...

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