Change and Continuity

Key Concepts

Change and Continuity

Please note: these links were compiled in 2009. For a more recent resource, please see: What's the Wisdom on: Change and Continuity. 

This selection of useful Teaching History articles on Change and Continuity are highly recommended reading to those who would like to get to grip with these key concepts: 

1. Michael Riley: Big Stories and Big Pictures: Making Outlines and Overviews Interesting. Teaching History 88.
An examination, with practical strategies, of the teaching of 'outlines and overviews' by Michael Riley.

2.  Lindsey Rayner: Weighing a century with a website: teaching Year 9 to be critical. Teaching History 96
Two years ago the history department at Hampstead School was one of two history departments chosen to model very effective use of IT in history for a BECTA research study. Two years on, what has the department been up to? All of the factors identified in that study -an ICT co-ordinator with deep curricular expertise and interest, a history department with detailed plans for progression, constructed collaboratively, a focus on direct and systematic teaching of particular historical skills-are on view again here, but this time in the context of work with the web.

3. Dale Banham: The return of King John: using depth to strengthen overview in the teaching of political change. Teaching History 99.
Dale's article argues the paradox that the more time spent in ‘depth' study, the more efficient, memorable and historically valid will be your subsequent ‘overviews'.

4. Steven Barnes: Revealing the big picture: patterns, shapes and images at Key Stage 3. Teaching History 107
Steven Barnes proposes a model in which the overview ‘frames' the entire unit and enables pupils to grasp some of the essential characteristics of the period as a whole. His aim is for pupils to be able to hold different aspects of a period in their minds simultaneously, enabling them to make connections and reach overall conclusions to big questions about progress and change. Whatever the model, the key is to know what the relationship between overview and depth is and precisely how this develops pupils' understanding in a distinctive way.

5. Anna Hamilton, Tony McConnell: Cunning Plan. Teaching History 112
‘Empire' is an historical concept with a rather imprecise range of meanings. Students need to be able to track their changing understanding of what an empire actually is. Into our workschemes for Years 7 to 13 we have therefore introduced a number of enquiry questions that simultaneously build knowledge about different empires and require exploration of the idea of empire. These ‘empire' enquiry questions are just one strand - but a very important one - in our overall schemes of work. The relevant questions and our rationale for each one are reproduced here.

6. Ian Dawson: Time for chronology? Ideas for developing chronological understanding. Teaching History 117
The successful study of history requires many things, but few would contest that an understanding of time is one of them. Quite what we mean by ‘an understanding of time' needs clarification, however. Chronological understanding is one feature. But it is not simply an ability to place events in order that drives our teaching (although that is a good place to start!). It is also a sense of scale (exactly how long ago was the prehistoric period in relation to the Tudors?), a sense of period (exactly what is conjured up by the expression ‘Restoration England'?) and a sense of what Ian Dawson calls ‘the frameworks of the past'.

7. Jonathan Howson: Is it the tuarts and then the Studors or the other way round? The importance of developing a usable big picture of the past. Teaching History 127
What should pupils know and understand as a result of their historical studies? This question is much in the news currently and too often quickly posed and glibly answered. In this article, Jonathan Howson poses this problem in the light of an ongoing research tradition that has sought complex answers to these and other pressing questions and suggests an answer based on that work and on data emerging from the Usable Historical Pasts research project at the University of London's Institute of Education.

8. Ian Dawson: Thinking across time: planning and teaching the story of power and democracy at Key Stage 3. Teaching History 130
In this article Dawson considers the question, very much on the agenda currently given the revisions to Key Stage 3 for September 2008, of how we can best help pupils develop a coherent understanding of the past over the course of their studies. The  article reflects on this question by modelling and discussing ways of delivering the Key Stage 3 unit on the development of political power from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century and by developing an approach to teaching large scale units like this through ‘thematic stories'. The article also contains discussion points to help history departments develop their collective thinking on this issue.

9. Rachel Foster: Speed cameras, dead ends, drivers and diversions: Year 9 use a ‘road map' to problematise change and continuity. Teaching History 131
Rachel Foster, a trainee teacher on teaching placement in November of her PGCE year, wanted her Year 9 pupils to understand the complexity of historical change. She also wanted them to find the difficult challenge of characterising the flow of change/continuity as fascinating and rewarding as she did.

10. Joanne Philpott: Helping pupils with Special Educational Needs to develop a lifelong curiosity for the past. Teaching History 131
Pupils in England have an entitlement to study history or geography until the age of sixteen. However, increasingly, some pupils seem to be discouraged from taking up this opportunity as it can be seen as too challenging; the worth of a qualification is sometimes measured in terms of graded outcome, rather than formative educational experience. For a substantial number of pupils this results in formal history education ending in Year 9. When some of Joanne Philpott's pupils were placed in this situation, she was determined that they would walk away with a positive and stimulating experience of the subject.

11. Rick Rogers: Raising the bar: developing meaningful historical consciousness at Key Stage 3. Teaching History 133.
How can we help pupils make sense of the history that they learn so that the whole adds up to more than the sum of its parts? How can we help pupils develop and sophisticate their understanding of historical time and of the changing relationships between the past, present and future?

12. Ian Dawson: What time does the tune start?: From thinking about ‘sense of period' to modelling history at Key Stage 3. Teaching History 135
A ‘sense of period' is the contextual backdrop to the study of any aspect of history. As experienced historians, we tend to take for granted both our structural map of the past and our rich descriptions of different periods. The ability to draw generalisations about certain periods is arguably just as vital as recognising the diversity within that period. Yet how is such a sense acquired?

You might also have a look at: the resources on change and continuity produced by Sue Bennett in our A Guide to the New Key Stage 3 programme; see Key Concepts: Change and Continuity