Cunning Plan 139: Victorian debates about progress

By Jonathan White, published 15th June 2010

How can we interest students in the world of ideas? How can we help them to see how important ideas were in shaping and reflecting the world of the Victorians? Working with the overarching enquiry question, ‘Why did some Victorians believe in progress in the nineteenth century and others did not?’ I devised the following lesson sequence. The first five lessons focus on ideas about progress and the second five lessons focus on doubts about progress. Students then prepared for an in-period debate which drew together the whole enquiry and allowed me to assess the quality of their thinking and learning.

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