Triumphs Show 164: interpretations at A Level

Teaching History feature: celebrating and sharing success

By Julia Huber and Katherine Turner, published 4th October 2016

"Can we use Wikipedia, Miss?"

Julia Huber and Katherine Turner found that their A-level students struggled to identify the line of argument in a passage of historical scholarship, an essential prerequisite for answering their coursework question. They devised an activity that helped students to unpick and visually contrast historians’ interpretations of the relative importance of a range of causal factors...

‘Can we use Wikipedia, Miss?’ is a question which strikes fear into the hearts of history teachers everywhere, not least when it comes to writing A-level essays comparing historical interpretations.

Our students were having difficulty understanding what historians do, and proposed to write their essays by searching for information online. We had to work out how to help them understand and value the nitty-gritty of historical scholarship. And we had to do it fast...

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