Cunning Plan 144: promoting independent student enquiry

Teaching History feature

Ben Twitchin, last updated: 11th October 2011

Getting students to generate their own questions can seem like a formidable challenge, even for experienced teachers with extensive subject knowledge developed over years of teaching. Imagine how much more alarming it appeared to a student-teacher being encouraged to take risks by handing more responsibility to the students. Could it really work as a strategy for a large mixed-ability Year 9 class, many of whom had opted not to continue with history into Year 10?

The suggestions that I had read elsewhere about encouraging students to ask and answer their own questions tended to assume that the process would last several lessons. For a first attempt, I wanted to try something on a much smaller scale; something I knew I could handle within a single lesson, without setting up unrealistic expectations; something that would offer appropriate choices for students working at very different levels of attainment. An introduction to work on the ‘Blitz Spirit' offered a perfect opportunity to engage students, to encourage independent learning and to allow them effectively to differentiate for themselves.

This resource is FREE for Secondary HA Members.

HA Members can sign in to access this content or you can Join the HA if you are not already a member.