Disciplinary concepts

Although history teachers, education researchers and curriculum designers may use different terms, all of them recognise that learning history involves the development of both substantive knowledge (the ‘stuff’ of history) and familiarity with the ‘second-order’ or procedural concepts, that shape the way in which the ‘stuff’ or ‘substance’ is understood, organised and debated, as well as the ways in which it is actually generated. Lists of these ‘disciplinary concepts’ have varied slightly over the years, but each of the following six areas of conceptual understanding are specifically named in the current National Curriculum and (individually or collectively) form the focus of specific assessment objectives at GCSE and A-level. None of them can be taught separately from the substance of history, but effective planning needs to encompass and address them all. 

Cause and consequence

Change and continuity

Similarity & difference