Exploring the relationship between historical significance and historical interpretation

Teaching History article

By Jane Card, published 19th April 2023

Should we choose it and how can we use it?

Jane Card’s previous work on the power of images in conveying particular interpretations and her advice about how to use visual material effectively in classrooms will be familiar to readers of Teaching History. In this article she focuses specifically on the capacity of visual representations to convey a compelling message about the significance of particular events, creating an impression that goes on to shape interpretations of the larger story of which they form a part. These popular interpretations may then prove very long-lasting – effectively resistant to subsequent changes within the academic scholarship. Card illustrates this phenomenon with two examples, relevant to topics commonly taught within the National Curriculum and beyond: the impact of the Norman Conquest on Anglo-Saxon England and the defeat of the Spanish Armada...

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