Waking up to complexity

Teaching History article

By Claire Holliss, published 31st March 2014

Waking up to complexity: using Christopher Clark's The Sleepwalkers to challenge over-determined causal explanations

Teaching student to construct causal argument is a staple of history teaching and, in this year, questions about the causes of the First World War are particularly pertinent and once again the public eye. Claire Holliss, however, became dissatisfied with existing approaches to teaching students about the causes of the First World War. In particular, she noted that her students tended to assume that ‘long-term' causes necessarily held greater explanatory power. To challenge such ideas, such designed a short sequence of lessons that drew on the recent scholarship of Christopher Clark...

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