Using enquiry questions

Many history departments use enquiry questions as an essential device for structuring their planning. Enquiries – built on the basis of genuine, worthwhile historical questions that the students are ultimately required to answer – often form the basic units within schemes of work, with each enquiry lasting several lessons/weeks. A good question will make clear not only the substantive focus of the enquiry but also the particular second-order or disciplinary concept that the students are dealing with. This approach allows teachers to plan effectively across key stages, clearly identifying where and when they are focusing on particular concepts, making it easier to plan for progression; ensuring, for example, that a Year 9 enquiry question about similarity and difference across the British Empire builds on and extends the analytical framework used to explore similarity and difference in a Year 8 enquiry about the Mughal Empire.  The materials in this section include detailed examples of individual schemes of work built around different kinds of enquiry questions, along with examples of larger curriculum plans conceived of in terms of a series of well-designed enquiry questions. Read more

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  • Pupil-led historical enquiry: what might this actually be?

    Article

    The current National Curriculum for history requires pupils to ‘identify and investigate specific historical questions, making and testing hypotheses for themselves'. While Kate Hammond relished the encouragement that this gave to her pupils to engage in the process of historical enquiry, she was keen to develop a much clearer sense...

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  • A comparative revolution?

    Article

    An argument for in-depth study of the Iranian revolution in a familiar way Although the curriculum changes of 2008 brought with them new GCSE specifications, Jonathan White was disappointed by the dated feel of some ‘Modern World' options, particularly the depth studies on offer. Drawing on his experience of teaching...

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  • Developing sixth-form students' thinking about historical interpretation

    Article

    Twist and shout? Developing sixth-form students' thinking about historical interpretation

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  • Move Me On 140: Getting students to generate their own enquiry questions

    Article

    This Issue's Problem: Rafe Sadler has just started his second teaching placement and is worried about the very different ways of working and expectations of teachers in his new department. In his first school, where history was taught within a humanities programme, the Key Stage 3 scheme of work had...

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  • History`s secret weapon: the enquiry of a disciplined mind.

    Article

    History`s secret weapon: the enquiry of a disciplined mind.As a local authority adviser, Andrew Wrenn's advice has often been sought by history departments, both those seeking to resist ill-conceived and potentially damaging cross-curricular initiatives and those keen to exploit new opportunities for meaningful inter-disciplinary collaboration. Drawing on his knowledge of...

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  • Into the Key Stage 3 history garden: choosing and planting your enquiry questions

    Article

    Drawing upon a range of practice, Michael Riley analyses the characteristics of a good enquiry question. He explores the importance of careful wording of the question if it is genuinely to help the teacher to integrate areas of content into a purposeful learning journey and without distortion.He then moves on...

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  • Emotional response or objective enquiry? Using shared stories and a sense of place

    Article

    In this article, Andrew Wrenn explores some issues that teachers might consider when supporting 14 and 15 year olds in their study of war memorials as historical interpretations. Tony McAleavy has argued that ‘popular' and ‘personal' interpretations and representations are just as worthy of study at Key Stage 3 as...

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  • 'ICT Starter for 10' a primer for Secondary History Educators

    Article

    This resource is intended to provide a short ‘aide memoire’ to the hard pressed teacher providing a series of ‘launching pads’ for historical enquiry…

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  • Getting Year 7 to set their own questions about the Islamic Empire, 600-1600

    Article

    Sometimes particular problems can lead to unexpected solutions. In this case, Sally Burnham decided to solve a problem that she had identified among her Year 12 students by changing the way in which she teaches Year 7. Her Year 12s were finding it difficult to set appropriate questions for their...

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  • Approaches to planning interpretations-focused enquiries.

    Article

    Michael Riley, member of the HA Secondary Committee and History PGCE Tutor at Bath Spa University. In recent years, teaching about different interpretations of history has been one of the most exciting and challenging aspects of Key Stage 3 history. Interpretations-focused enquiries allow pupils to see that argument and debate are...

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  • Politic, history and stories about the Cold War

    Article

    Interpretation of the Cold War is a fascinating area. Many students begin to study it certain pre-formed ideas – gleaned from their parents, perhaps, or from films or computer games. Historians have interpreted it in different ways – and those who believe in the ‘twenty-year rule’ that historical judgment is...

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  • Making history curious: Using Initial Stimulus Material (ISM) to promote enquiry, thinking and literacy

    Article

    The idea of gaining pupils’ attention, interest and curiosity at the start of the lesson with an intriguing image, story, analogy or puzzle has long been used by our best history teachers. Michael Riley, through writing and inset, popularised the term ‘hook’ and emphasised its special role at the start...

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  • Why go on a pilgrimage? Using a concluding enquiry to reinforce and assess earlier learning

    Article

    Jamie Byrom describes the learning activities within a final enquiry for a National Curriculum area of study - Britain 1066-1500. The strong message in this article is that the learning in each enquiry is only as good as the planning and teaching of the enquiries that precede it. Byrom's model...

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  • Emotional response or objective enquiry? Using shared stories and a sense of place in the study of interpretations for GCSE

    Article

    In this article, Andrew Wrenn explores some issues that teachers might consider when supporting 14 and 15 year olds in their study of war memorials as historical interpretations. Tony McAleavy has argued that ‘popular' and ‘personal' interpretations and representations are just as worthy of study at Key Stage 3 as...

    Click to view