From road map to thought map: helping students theorise the nature of change

Teaching History article

By Warren Valentine, published 27th June 2017

Using thought-maps to show complex patterns of change and continuity in the Tudor period

Warren Valentine was dissatisfied with his Year 7 students’ accounts of change across the Tudor period. Fixated with Henry VIII’s wives, they failed to reflect on or analyse the bigger picture of the whole Tudor narrative.

In order to overcome this problem, his department created a ‘thought-map’ exercise in which students had to re-work their knowledge of the Tudor monarchs so as to show complex patterns of different types of change and continuity. Valentine drew on Foster’s work on change, but deliberately avoided the use of metaphor, so as to focus thinking on the content itself. After further experimentation with his Year 9 groups also, he concludes that both secure prior knowledge and clear challenge to critique existing narratives are essential...

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