What kinds of feedback help students produce better historical narratives of the interwar years?

Teaching History article

Alex Rodker, last updated: 12th April 2019

Austin’s narrative: an exploratory case study with Year 8 into what kinds of feedback help students produce better historical narratives of the interwar years

Narrative has begun to take its place alongside the essay, for so long the stereotypical currency of the history teacher and student. In this work, based on his experiences as a PGCE student, Alex Rodker argues powerfully that it is time now to consider how to help students to produce not just narratives, but better narratives. He builds on the work of previous authors in this journal and elsewhere at post-16 level, teasing out the principles which also apply in Key Stage 3. He considers and evaluates a number of techniques for doing so; this article also therefore represents an important contribution to how we might think about the true effect of different types of feedback: can an unplanned throwaway comment actually be the crucial driver of a particular student’s improvement? What is the value of showing what ‘real’ academic historians do? And should we replace ‘re-drafting’ with ‘starting again,’ in the manner of Austin’s butterfly? 

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