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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  • '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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  • 'I feel if I say this in my essay it’s not going to be as strong’

    Article

    Jim Carroll was concerned that A-level textbooks failed to provide his students with a model of the multi-voicedness that characterises written history. In order to show his students that historians constantly engage in argument as they write, Carroll turned to academic scholarship for models of multi-voiced history. Carroll explains here...

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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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  • 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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  • Developing awareness of the need to select evidence

    Article

    Let's play Supermarket ‘Evidential' Sweep: developing students' awareness of the need to select evidence Despite having built a sustained focus on historical thinking into their planning for progression across Years 7 to 13, Rachel Foster and Sarah Gadd remained frustrated with stubborn weaknesses in the evidential thinking of students in...

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Does the grammatical ‘release the conceptual’?

    Article

    Jim Carroll noticed basic literacy errors in his Year 13s’ writing, but on closer examination decided that these were not best addressed purely as literacy issues. Through an intervention based on clauses, Carroll managed to enable his students to write better, but he did this by teasing out principles of...

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  • Effective essay introductions

    Article

    Struck by the dullness of some of her students’ essay introductions, Paula Worth reflected on the fact that she had never focused specifically on introductions. After surveying existing work by history teachers on essay structure in general and introductions in particular, she turns to the work of historians. Drawing on...

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  • Enabling Year 7 to write essays on Magna Carta

    Article

    Setting out to teach Magna Carta to the full attainment range in Year 7, Mark King decided to choose a question that reflected real scholarly debates and also to ensure that pupils held enough knowledge in long-term memory to be able to think about that question meaningfully. As he gradually prepared his pupils to produce their own causation arguments in response to that question, King was startled by...

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Getting medieval (and global) at Key Stage 3

    Article

    Taking new historical research into the classroom: getting medieval (and global) at Key Stage 3 Although history teachers frequently work with academic historical writing, direct face-to-face encounters with academic historians are rare in secondary history classrooms. This article reports a collaboration between an academic historian and a history teacher that...

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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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  • Historical scholarship and feedback

    Article

    In her introduction to this piece, Carolyn Massey describes history teachers as professionals who pride themselves on ‘a sophisticated understanding of change and continuity’. How often, though, do we bemoan change when it comes, as it so often has recently? Massey’s article provides an example of how to embrace change,...

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  • History as a foreign language

    Article

    Disappointed that the use of the ‘PEEL’ writing scaffold had led her Year 11 students to write some rather dreary essays, Claire Simmonds reflected that a lack of specific trainingon historical writing might be to blame. Drawing on genre theory and the work of the history teaching community, Simmonds attempted...

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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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