Extended Writing

Although many historians now use the medium of television to advance their arguments and interpretations of history, the construction of written accounts remains fundamental to their craft. It also lies at the heart of current assessment systems, which means that young people similarly need to be able to create effective historical accounts of different kinds. The quality of students’ writing depends on the processes of selection and organisation as well as on effective communication within the appropriate genre, and the materials in this section deal with all three dimensions.  Read more

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  • Why we would miss controlled assessments in history

    Article

    A place for individual enquiry? Why we would miss controlled assessments in history Most history teachers will, at some point, recognise the tension between teaching an engaging history course while at the same time meeting the requirements of an exam specification. Mark Fowle and Ben Egelnick reflect here on how...

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  • Developing students' thinking about change and continuity

    Article

    The more things change, the more they stay the same: developing students' thinking about change and continuity Finding ways to characterise the nature of change and continuity is an important part of the historian's task, yet students find it particularly challenging to do. Building on her previous work on change, Rachel...

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  • Teaching the iGeneration

    Article

    Teaching the iGeneration: what possibilities exist in and beyond the history classroom? The development of communications technology in recent years has not only changed the ways in which students can access their world: it also changes the way they think about it. Sheldrake and Watkin draw here upon work that...

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  • Improving Year 12's extended writing

    Article

    From Muddleton Manor to Clarity Cathedral: improving Year 12's extended writing through an enhanced sense of the reader Mary Brown recognised that her A-level students were finding extended writing difficult, particularly in terms of guiding the reader through the argument with appropriate ‘signposting'. To help her students manage this, Brown...

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  • Developing pupil explanation through web debates

    Article

    ‘I feel it is imperative to state that...' developing pupil explanation through web debatesKathryn Greenfield became dissatisfied with her pupils' written responses, particularly the rather limited explanations that they were giving in support of points that they made. Drawing here on recent work in using Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) to...

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  • Thematic or sequential analysis in causal explanations

    Article

    Thematic or sequential analysis in causal explanations? Investigating the kinds of historical understanding that Year 8 and Year 10 demonstrate in their efforts to construct narrativesStruck by what he saw as the complexity, artistry and cognitive achievement of historians' narrative accounts, Robin Kemp decided to explore ways of teaching his...

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  • Using family history to provoke rigorous enquiry

    Article

    ‘My grandfather slammed the door in Winston Churchill's face!' Using family history to provoke rigorous enquiryThe idea of using ‘little stories' to illuminate the ‘big pictures' of the past was creatively explored in Teaching History 107, which offered teachers a wealth of detailed vignettes with which to kindle young people's...

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  • Triumphs Show 144: Active learning to engage ‘challenging students'

    Article

    Active learning to engage and challenge ‘challenging students' Historical significance may have been the ‘forgotten element' in 2002 when Rob Phillips first offered us the acronym ‘GREAT', but it has been seized upon with enthusiasm by the history education community. Christine Counsell's now famous five ‘R's (remarkable, remembered, resonant, resulting...

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  • Chatting about the sixties

    Article

    Chatting about the sixties: using on-line chat discussion to improve historical reasoning in essay-writing An article about essay writing may not seem the most obvious choice for an issue of Teaching History devoted to creative thinking. Yet, as Christine Counsell so richly demonstrated in her work on analytical and discursive...

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  • Cooperative Learning: the place of pupil involvement in a history textbook

    Article

    Pupil involvement is at the heart of every good history lesson. Its planning ensures that pupils are given the opportunity to think for themselves, share ideas, discuss evidence and debate points. The history education community has already generated a range of strategies to encourage effective use of group work. Yet...

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  • Essay writing for everyone: an investigation into different methods used to teach Year 9 to write an essay

    Article

    Essay writing is at the very heart of school history, yet despite the wide range of developments in this area over the past decade, pupils still struggle. Alex Scott and his department decided to investigate a variety of methods to see what methods worked in enabling pupils to construct essays...

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  • A most horrid malicious bloody flame: using Samuel Pepys to improve Year 8 boys' historical writing

    Article

    Unusually, instead of moving from a narrative to an analytic structure, David Waters moves his pupils from causal analysis to narrative. By the time pupils are ready to produce their storyboard narrative, their thinking about the Great Fire has been shaped and re-shaped not only by structural exercises and argument...

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  • Direct teaching of paragraph cohesion

    Article

    How do we help pupils to write better paragraphs without actually doing it for them? How do we break down the process of essay writing into smaller steps without taking away pupils’ sense of the essay as a whole? How do we give lower-attaining pupils models, structures and frames without...

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  • Thinking from the inside: je suis le roi

    Article

    Dale Banham and Ian Dawson show how active learning deepens students’ understanding of attitudes and reactions to the Norman Conquest. At the same time they build a bold argument for active learning, including a direct strike at the two most common objections to it. Many teachers still see it as...

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  • Getting personal: making effective use of historical fiction in the history classroom.

    Article

    Writing stories in history lessons? But we don’t do things like that in history do we? Strange bedfellows though history and fiction might seem, Dave Martin and Beth Brooke make a strong case for collaboration between the English and history departments in order to introduce students to the challenging task...

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  • 'A lot of guess work goes on' Children's understanding of historical accounts

    Article

    The ESRC-funded Project Chata has collected evidence of children's ideas about the discipline of history and attempted to see if there is any progression in those ideas. Here, Peter Lee describes how Chata has tried to map children's ideas about historical accounts. History teachers (and tutors and managers of history...

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  • Frameworks for linking pupils' evidential understanding with growing skill in structured, written argument: the 'evidence sandwich'

    Article

    History teachers are increasingly good at designing exercises which develop skill in evidence analysis. The ubiquitous ‘source' is invariably analysed for utility and reliability. But how do pupils integrate such understandings with extended written work? How can they be helped to use these understandings in the creation of written argument?...

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  • The use of sources in school history 1910-1998: a critical perspective

    Article

    The arrival of sources of evidence into secondary school history classrooms amounted to a small revolution. What began as a radical development is now establishment orthodoxy, with both GCSE and now National Curriculum in England and Wales enshrining its principles. Tony McAleavy pays tribute to some of the thinkers and...

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