Change and continuity

Consideration of change and continuity tends to be a feature of period and thematic studies. The latter, in particular, make it possible for students to examine trends and turning points over time, looking at those dimensions which remain stable while others alter, and examining the varying pace, direction and nature of those alterations.  Another aspect of change and continuity – one that can also be explored within shorter depth studies – is the lived experience of change: how particular developments were experienced and understood by those who lived through them.  These materials provide important insights into common student misconceptions and illustrate a range of strategies for planning and teaching (including the choice of worthwhile historical questions) that will support the development of more effective analytical descriptions of change and continuity. Read more

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  • Transatlantic slavery – shaping the question, lengthening the narrative, broadening the meaning

    Article

    Nathanael Davies explains his radical rethink of how to teach transatlantic slavery. He explains how he came to question his earlier approach of focusing on the causation of ‘abolition’ and ‘emancipation’ and, instead, allowed scholarship, sources and his own students’ meaning-making to guide him to a different, and much more...

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  • Film: What's the wisdom on...Change and continuity

    Article

    We’ve been talking to our secondary school members and we know how difficult life is for teachers in the current circumstances,  so we wanted to lend a helping hand. 'What’s the wisdom on…' is a new and already popular feature in our secondary journal Teaching History and provides the perfect stimulus for a...

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  • Teaching Year 9 to argue like cultural historians

    Article

    Alex Benger asks whether the mode of enquiry adopted by cultural historians, the construction of webs of past meaning from past perspectives, is underexplored in school history. Benger used a cultural history approach in his building of an enquiry for Year 9 around one man’s experience of the First World...

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  • What’s The Wisdom On... change and continuity?

    Article

    What's the Wisdom On... is a short guide providing new history teachers with an overview of the ‘story so far’ of practice-based professional thinking about a particular aspect of history teaching. It draws on tried and tested approaches arising from teachers with years of experimenting, researching, practising, writing and debating their...

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  • Cunning Plan 178: How far did Anglo-Saxon England survive the Norman Conquest?

    Article

    Cunning Plan for using the metaphor of a tree to help students characterise the process of change and engage with a historian’s argument. In this Cunning Plan, Eve Hackett sets out how she used a recent work of history about the Norman Conquest as inspiration for her teaching of Year...

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  • Dealing with the consequences

    Article

    Do GCSE and A-level questions that purport to be about consequences actually reward reasoning about historical consequences at all? Molly-Ann Navey concluded that they do not and that they fail to encourage the kind of argument that academic historians engage in when reaching judgements about consequences. Navey decided that it...

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  • ‘Man, people in the past were indeed stupid’

    Article

    In this article, which is based on Huijgen’s PhD dissertation Balancing between the past and the present, Tim Huijgen and Paul Holthuis present the results of an experimental method of teaching 14–16-year-old students to contextualise their historical studies in a different way. In the four lessons described, students’ initial reactions...

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  • From flight paths to spiders’ webs: developing a progression model for Key Stage 3

    Article

    The disapplication of level descriptions in the 2014 National Curriculum has spurred many history departments to rethink their approach not only to assessment but to their models of progression. In this article Rachael Cook builds on the recent work of history teachers such as Ford (TH157), Hawkey et al (TH161),...

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  • ‘Through the looking glass’

    Article

    Danielle Donaldson began to notice the verbs that her pupils used to express their ideas. She noticed that more successful pupils were using carefully chosen verbs to express their conceptual thinking about causation or change, and wondered how this might relate to, and reflect, the breadth and security of their...

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  • Anything but brief: Year 8 students encounter the longue durée

    Article

    Inspired by The History Manifesto, Suzanne Powell describes in this article her rationale for expanding her students’ horizons by asking them to think about change, similarity and difference on a grand scale. She sets ‘big history’ into its curricular context, and shows the way in which her students could, and...

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

    Article

    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...

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  • Inverting the telescope: investigating sources from a different perspective

    Article

    As historians, we are dependent on evidence, which comes in many varieties. Rosalind Stirzaker here introduces a project which she ran two years ago to encourage her students to think about artefacts in a different way. They have examined randomly preserved artefacts such as those of Pompeii, and sets of...

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  • Triumphs Show 167: Keeping the 1960s complicated

    Article

    During her PGCE year, it became evident to Rachel Coleman just how much pupils struggled with the complicated nature of history. They were troubled in particular by the lack of definitive answers, by the range of perspectives that might be held at the time of a particular event or development...

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  • Why are you wearing a watch? Complicating narratives of economic and social progress

    Article

    Frustrated by the traditional narrative of the industrial revolution as a steady march of progress, and disappointed by her students’ dull and deterministic statements about historical change, Hannah Sibona decided to complicate the tidy narrative of continual improvement. Inspired by an article by E.P. Thompson, Sibona reflected that introducing her...

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  • Cunning Plan 163.1: GCSE Thematic study

    Article

    I started teaching ‘crime and punishment through time’ thematically a few years ago. I was teaching it as a Schools History Project ‘study in development’. We had moved from ‘medicine through time’ in order to keep things fresh. After six times through the content, much as I loved it, crime,...

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  • New, Novice or Nervous? 162: GCSE Thematic Study

    Article

    Thematic studies have been a long-standing feature of the Schools History Project (SHP) GCSE specifications in England and Wales; but for teachers of ‘Modern World’ GCSE specifications, the thematic study in the new GCSE specifications for teaching in England from September 2016 is unfamiliar territory. Perhaps you are entirely new...

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  • Climate change: greening the curriculum?

    Article

    Inspired by the news that Bristol had become the UK’s first Green Capital, Kate Hawkey, Jon James and Celia Tidmarsh set out to explore what a ‘Green Capital’ School Curriculum  might look like. They explain how they created a cross-curricular project to deliver in-school workshops focused on the teaching of...

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  • Engaging Year 9 students in party politics

    Article

    Sarah Black wanted to remedy Year 9's lack of knowledge about nineteenth-century politics. With just five lessons to work with, she decided to devise a sequence on Gladstone and Disraeli, shaping the sequence with an enquiry question that invited argument about change and continuity. Black analyses the status and function of different layers of knowledge within her sequence, evaluates the interaction...

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  • Cunning Plan 159: Was King John unlucky with his Barons?

    Article

    Typical teaching of King John and Magna Carta focuses either on the weakness of John or the importance (as Whig historians would see it) of Magna Carta. The first question is a bit boring and the second discussion unhistorical. This enquiry sequence is designed for students aged 11 to 13. It...

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  • Historical Perspective & 'Big History'

    Article

    Moving forward, looking back - historical perspective, ‘Big History' and the return of the longue durée: time to develop our scale hopping muscles ‘Big history' is a term receiving a great deal of attention at present, particularly in North America where considerable sums of money have been invested in designing curricula...

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