Bringing historical method into the classroom

Teaching History article

By Peter Turner, published 19th April 2023

How the spectacle of teachers debating can help A-level students to understand the nature of interpretations

Shortly before their final A-level examination, Peter Turner was alarmed to discover some fundamental weaknesses in his Year 13 students’ understanding of the nature of historical interpretations. Determined to address this concern at a much earlier point with his next cohort of students he developed a new six-lesson enquiry. His planning was informed by careful consideration of previous research and by his reflections on the way in which the demands and structure of certain GCSE specifications may inadvertently give rise to unhelpful misconceptions. His article explains how the new scheme of work (taught at a much earlier point in Year 12) brought the processes of debate between historians to life – in a carefully staged live debate between teachers – while also reinforcing much more helpful understandings of the shared community of enquiry to which all historians belong...  

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