Period, place and mental space

Teaching History article

By Dan Smith, published 2nd April 2014

Period, place and mental space: using historical scholarship to develop Year 7 pupils' sense of period

What is a sense of period? And how can pupils' sense of period be developed? Questions such as these have troubled history teachers for many years, often revolving around debates over the role played by empathy and imagination in coming to know a period on its own terms.

Rather than adopt a comparative approach, Dan Smiths decided in his teaching to go for the depth and the detail. In this article he outlines an approach that he used to help pupils gain a richer sense of the fourteenth century through a study of the village of Walsham. Smith draws on this to reflect on the different ways in which pupils' sense of period might be understood as developing...

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