Diversity in the past

The materials in this section are all focused on the choices that teachers have to make about the substantive content of their curriculum. The diversity that all students encounter within the past – the range of specific individuals and groups of people about whom they learn – and the ways in which different topics are treated within the curriculum are known to impact on the extent to which young people engage with school history and on the connections that they see between past and present. The resources in this section illustrate different ways in which teachers have increased the diversity of their curriculum – paying more attention, for example, to women other than monarchs in the early modern period; examining the work of  Black British civil rights campaigners; or questioning the stereotype of the English ‘Tommy’ in examining who fought for Britain on the Western Front. Teachers will need to develop their own subject knowledge if they are to teach more diverse pasts and many of these resources help to provide some of that new knowledge or show where it can be found.

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  • Widening the early modern world to create a more connected KS3 curriculum

    Article

    Readers of this journal will be familiar with a number of ways of approaching the Tudors. Kerry Apps provides here an article detailing her concerns about the differences between what she had been delivering at Key Stage 3 and the broader, connected experience she had as an undergraduate historian. How...

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  • Thinking beyond boundaries

    Article

    In October of last year, the Royal Historical Society (RHS) published an important report highlighting the racial and ethnic inequalities in the teaching and practice of history in the UK (RHS, 2018). Focused on history teaching at university, it nevertheless highlighted the need for thinking to occur at all levels...

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  • How should women’s history be included at Key Stage 3?

    Article

    Susanna Boyd ‘discovered’ women’s history while studying for her own history degree, and laments women’s continued absence from the school history curriculum. She issues a call-to-arms to make the curriculum more inclusive both by re-evaluating the criteria for curricular selection and by challenging established disciplinary conventions. She also weighs up...

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  • Triumphs Show 173: Teaching Black Tudors

    Article

    I am ashamed to admit that, until recently, my teaching of black history did not go beyond schemes of work on the transatlantic slave trade and the civil rights movement in the USA. This all changed in November 2017 when I heard Dr Miranda Kaufmann on the ‘BBC History Extra’...

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  • Polychronicon 173: From American Indians to Native Americans

    Article

    Few sub-fields of American history have undergone as many changes over time as the study of Native Americans/American Indians. While nineteenth- and early twentieth-century historians portrayed Native Americans as savage barbarians or ignored them entirely, late twentieth-century historians portrayed them as victims of circumstance and aggressive European conquest. Today, modern...

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  • New, Novice or Nervous? 173: including BME history in the curriculum

    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 find something better: conversations in which history teachers have debated or tackled your problems – conversations which any history teacher...

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  • Identity in history: why it matters and must be addressed!

    Article

    Sophia Nzeribe Nascimento, a mixed-race teacher working in a diverse London school, set out to explore her students’ assumptions about who historians are. While her own ethnicity and gender may have convinced at least some of her students that history is not exclusively the preserve of old white men, she...

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  • Hidden in plain sight: the history of people with disabilities

    Article

    Recognising the duty placed on all teachers by the 2010 Equality Act to nurture the development of a society in which equality and human rights are deeply rooted, Helen Snelson and Ruth Lingard were prompted to ask whether their history curricula really reflected the diverse pasts of all people in...

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  • Cunning Plan 173: using Black Tudors as a window into Tudor England

    Article

    On 29 September 2018 I was fortunate enough to get involved with a collaborative project with Dr Miranda Kaufmann, the Historical Association, Schools History Project, and a brilliant group of people from different backgrounds all committed to teaching about black Tudors. In this short piece, I will share how I...

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  • ‘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...

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  • Triumphs Show 170: making a place for fieldwork in history lessons

    Article

    Why ‘do’ local history? The new (grades 9–1) GCSE specifications place a lot of importance on the local environment. The rationale for this is to get students to situate a site in its historical context, and to examine the relationship between local and national developments. Initially this change was the...

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  • Defying the ‘constrictive grip of typologies’

    Article

    History teachers have frequently made recourse to character cards as a device to help young people, each assigned specific roles, to understand how different kinds of people responded in different ways to particular situations in the past. Edward FitzGerald builds on this tradition, demonstrating the value of using rich historical...

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  • Triumphs Show 167: Keeping the 1960s complicated

    Article

    During her PGCE year, it became evident to Rachel Coleman just how much pupils struggled with the complicated nature of history. They were troubled in particular by the lack of definitive answers, by the range of perspectives that might be held at the time of a particular event or development...

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  • Cunning Plan 167: teaching the industrial revolution

    Article

    ‘Disastrous and terrible.’ For Arnold Toynbee, the historian who gave us the phrase ‘industrial revolution’, these three words sum up the period of dramatic technological change that took place in Britain across the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. We may not habitually use Toynbee’s description in the classroom, but it is...

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  • Why are you wearing a watch? Complicating narratives of economic and social progress

    Article

    Frustrated by the traditional narrative of the industrial revolution as a steady march of progress, and disappointed by her students’ dull and deterministic statements about historical change, Hannah Sibona decided to complicate the tidy narrative of continual improvement. Inspired by an article by E.P. Thompson, Sibona reflected that introducing her...

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  • Beyond tokenism: diverse history post-14

    Article

    Nick Dennis shows how a ‘multidirectional memory’ approach to teaching history can move history teachers beyond seeing black history as separate or distracting from the history that must be aught at examination level. He gives examples of ways in which a diverse history can be built into examination courses, strengthening...

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  • 'Victims of history': Challenging students’ perceptions of women in history

    Article

    As postgraduate historians with teaching responsibilities at the University of York, Bridget Lockyer and Abigail Tazzyman were concerned to tackle some of the challenges reported by their students who had generally only encountered women’s history in a disconnected way through stand-alone topics or modules. Their response was to create a...

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  • Whose (hi)stories are we telling?

    Article

    This workshop took place at the HA Annual Conference May 2016 in Harrogate. Katherine Burn, University of Oxford This workshop explores the process of planning a rigorous and engaging historical enquiry that begins with the extraordinary story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, in the context of the transatlantic slave trade and...

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  • Helping Year 9s explore multiple narratives through the history of a house

    Article

    A host of histories: helping Year 9s explore multiple narratives through the history of a house Described by the author Monica Ali as a building that ‘sparks the imagination and sparks conversations', 19 Princelet Street, now a Museum of Diversity and Immigration, captivated the imagination of teacher David Waters. He...

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  • Triumphs Show 156: Fresh perspectives on the First World War

    Article

    Year 9 think they know a lot about the First World War. After all, they read Michael Morpurgo's novel Private Peaceful in their English lessons all the way back in Year 7, they've seen Blackadder so many times they can recite it, and in the centenary year of the war's...

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