The new history 'AS-Level': principles for planning a scheme of work


By Rachael Rudham, published 31st May 2001

The new AS and A2 specifications have led to paperwork, headaches and late nights for teachers. Rachael Rudham recognises the fresh demands that the new AS-level presents – not least of which is the opening up of post-16 history to a broader range of ability. Clearly it is not possible to offer a distilled version of what went before. A rethinking of how we teach is essential if we are to prepare students for examination in such a short space of time. At the same time, the danger of focusing upon continually impending assessments is that fun and risk-taking can be forced out of the classroom. Rachael is adamant that this must not be allowed to happen if history is to retain and increase its new popularity. Through a range of carefully positioned activities, she has devised a scheme of work to engender critical thinking, enthusiasm and motivation at every stage. Her trick is to build everything around real and demanding historical puzzles, just as many departments now do at Key Stage 3. The scheme in this article relates to ‘Italy 1848-70: The Road to Unification’ (Edexcel, Unit 2:7b), but the principles transfer to any unit. Not only should the outcome be success in examination, but also a class desperate to continue to A2.

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