Equipping students to make well-reasoned judgements about the historical significance of past events is one way of alerting them to the value and purpose of studying the past. But teaching about this disciplinary concept also involves developing young people’s understanding that historical significance is not an enduring or unchanging characteristic of any particular event. It is a contingent quality that depends on the perspective from which that event is subsequently viewed. While judgements of significance are likely to include consideration of the depth and extent of any immediate consequences arising from the event in question, they will also be based on the endurance of those consequences as well as on subsequent developments and on the concerns of those who are making the judgement. The resources in this section explore the range of criteria that students might be encouraged to use in ascribing significance to events and set out a variety of productive strategies that teachers have used to help students work with others’ criteria as well as formulating, justifying and deploying their own.

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  • Key Concepts at Key Stage 3

    Multipage Article

    The key concepts can be divided into three types:  change and continuity; cause and consequence; diversity; and significance, which inform the types of questions historians ask about past events, people and situations, and which are sometimes called second-order concepts; chronological understanding, which provides a framework for comprehending the past; interpretations...

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