How students make sense of the historical concepts of change, continuity and development

Teaching History article

By Frances Blow, published 3rd January 2012

‘Everything flows and nothing stays'

First order knowledge and understanding, relating to the ‘stuff' of history, is, of course, absolutely fundamental to the development of children's historical knowledge and understanding. However, as Frances Blow shows, in a contribution to a series of articles exploring second order concepts in history published in Teaching History by Peter Lee and Denis Shemilt since 2003, second order conceptual understandings are crucial: we cannot help children make progress in history without paying close attention to how they conceptualise the history we ask them to learn.

As Blow shows, through a systematic discussion of extensive research data, children's mastery of second order concepts such as change, continuity and development is fundamental to children's capacity to make meaningful sense of the stories that we teach them. Blow explores what understanding change, continuity and development means and proposes a research-based model for progression in understanding these concepts...

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