Move Me On 167: Frames of reference

Teaching History feature

Published: 27th June 2017

Understanding students' prior knowledge and frames of reference

This feature is designed to build critical, informed debate about the character of teacher training, teacher education and professional development.

This issue’s problem: Eleanor Franks doesn’t really understand her students’ frames of reference and the difficulties that many of them have in making sense of the particular historical phenomena she is teaching them about.

Eleanor Franks, a well-qualified graduate with a first class degree in history, has struggled to pitch lessons effectively for the different classes that she has is working with. Her own historical knowledge is very strong and her lessons generally appear to be well planned with appropriate objectives and activities that are well matched to them. However, the coherence of her planning often seems to be let down by her failure to recognise what her students currently know or to appreciate how they might be thinking, especially when they begin to engage with a new topic...

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