Historical Argument

One of the most widely shared misconceptions among young people is that there can be one ‘true’ story of the past and that the value of any given interpretation depends on how closely it approximates to this ideal account. Enabling students to recognise that what historians are actually doing when they write about the past is advancing a series of claims – presenting and defending an argument – will help them not only in handling different interpretations but also in improving their own writing.  Read more

Sort by: Date (Newest first) | Title A-Z
Show: All | Articles | Podcasts | Multipage Articles
  • The dialogic dimensions of knowing and understanding the Norman legacy in Chester

    Article

    Michael Bird and Thomas Wilson focus their attention directly on the voices of pupils, in dialogue with their teacher and with each other, as they draw inferences from differing sources about the Norman legacy in Chester. By carefully examining dialogue stimulated by these sources, Bird and Wilson demonstrate not only...

    Click to view
  • Structuring a history curriculum for powerful revelations

    Article

    When planning a Key Stage 3 curriculum with his department, Will Bailey-Watson began to question some of the commonsense orthodoxies regarding chronological sequencing and curriculum design. Drawing on pre-existing debates about curricular structuring in the history education community both in England and internationally, Bailey-Watson identified cognitive, motivational, and disciplinary justifications...

    Click to view
  • New, Novice or Nervous? 174: Building students' historical talk

    Article

    How do we get our students to talk more in lessons? No, not like that! How have history teachers engaged with the issue of students’ historical – and general – oracy? Talking about history is not the same skill as writing about it. It is more immediate, and more easily...

    Click to view
  • Couching counterfactuals in knowledge when explaining the Salem witch trials with Year 13

    Article

    Puzzled by the shrugs and unimaginative responses of his students when asked certain counterfactual questions, James Edward Carroll set out to explore what types of counterfactual questions would elicit sophisticated causal explanations. During his pursuit of the ‘gold standard’ of counterfactual reasoning, Carroll drew upon theories of academic history in...

    Click to view
  • 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),...

    Click to view
  • 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...

    Click to view
  • The devil is the detail

    Article

    Like many history departments, Hugh Richards' department at Huntington School uses enquiry questions to structure their medium-term planning. Yet Richards noticed that his efforts to build knowledge across an enquiry by teaching macro-narratives as an unfolding story seemed to make it harder for some pupils to see and retain the...

    Click to view
  • ‘Its ultimate pattern was greater than its parts’

    Article

    Identifying the challenges his students faced both with recall and analysis of the content they had learned for their GCSE course, Ed Durbin devised a solution which focused not on exam skills and revision lessons, but on using Key Stage 3 to build the ‘hinterland’ of contextual knowledge and causal...

    Click to view
  • New, Novice or Nervous? 170: Building students’ historical argument

    Article

    This page is for those new to the published writings of history teachers. Each problem you wrestle with, other teachers have wrestled with too. Quick fixes don’t exist. But in others’ writing, you’ll soon find something better: conversations in which other history teachers have debated or tackled your problems –...

    Click to view
  • Academic Critical Thinking, Research Literacy and Undergraduate History

    Article

    International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research [IJHLTR], Volume 15, Number 1 – Autumn/Winter 2017ISSN: 14472-9474 Abstract The concept of critical thinking is pivotal in academia. Many see it as the very core of intellectual thought and the primary learning outcome of higher education. In addition to its universal merits,...

    Click to view
  • Narrating “Histories of Spain”

    Article

    International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research [IJHLTR], Volume 15, Number 1 – Autumn/Winter 2017 ISSN: 14472-9474 Abstract This study analyses the role of Spanish teacher training students as narrators of what they consider to be the history of Spain. Results of this empirical study are based on a random...

    Click to view
  • An Investigation into Finding Effective Ways of Presenting a Written Source to Students

    Article

    International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research [IJHLTR], Volume 15, Number 1 – Autumn/Winter 2017ISSN: 14472-9474 Abstract Written historical sources can be quite challenging for students to analyse in secondary school. They are sometimes long and tedious to read as well as containing difficult and awkward text. The presentation of...

    Click to view
  • 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...

    Click to view
  • '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...

    Click to view
  • Helping A-level students make reasoned judgements in their argumentative writing

    Article

    This workshop took place at the HA Annual Conference May 2017 in Manchester. David Brown, The Sixth Form College Farnborough and Dani Hilliard, University of Exeter Making reasoned judgements based on ‘valid criteria’ is a key part of assessment across the new A-levels.  However, for A-level students this is an...

    Click to view
  • Polychronicon 166: The ‘new’ historiography of the Cold War

    Article

    A great deal of new writing on the Cold War sits at the crossroads of national, transnational and global perspectives. Such studies can be so self-consciously multi-archival and multipolar, methodologically pluralist in approach and often ‘decentring’ in aim, that some scholars now worry that the Cold War risks losing its coherence as a distinct object of...

    Click to view
  • ‘Therefore’, ‘so’, ‘because’, ‘So what?’ Strategies for mastery of historical argument and analytical thinking at A-level

    Article

    This workshop took place at the HA Annual Conference May 2017 in Manchester. Arthur Chapman, UCL Institute of Education Analytical thinking is key to success at A-level. It is easier to identify its absence than it is to explain what it means. This workshop focuses on helping A-level history students understand...

    Click to view
  • Primary Sources In Swedish And Australian History Textbooks

    Article

    International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research [IJHLTR], Volume 14, Number 2 – Spring/Summer 2017 ISSN: 14472-9474 Abstract This article compares primary sources used in Swedish and Australian school History textbooks on the topic of the Vietnam War. The focus is on analysing representations of Kim Phuc, the young girl who was...

    Click to view
  • From The Holocaust To Recent Mass Murders And Refugees

    Article

    International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research [IJHLTR], Volume 14, Number 2 – Spring/Summer 2017ISSN: 14472-9474 Abstract Through studying cases of genocide and mass atrocities, students can come to realize that: democratic institutions and values are not automatically sustained but need to be appreciated, nurtured, and protected; silence and indifference to the...

    Click to view
  • Cunning Plan 165: Helping lower-attaining students

    Article

    My GCSE students were about to embark on their controlled assessment, which asked them to weigh up conflicting views on the British military’s contribution to the D-Day landings. Students were asked to engage  with a range of historians’ views and textbooks as well as some contemporary source material to assess...

    Click to view