"Is it the Tuarts and then the Studors or the other way round?" The importance of developing a usable big picture of the past


By Jonathan Howson, published 30th May 2007

Developing a usable big picture of the past

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. Howson argues that history does indeed have a problem, as many commentators suggest, but that appreciating the dimensions of the problem and addressing it entails a rethinking of the outcomes of history education.

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