Sense of period

Developing a sense of period is about going beyond knowledge of dates and period labels to help students appreciate the kind of world in which the people that they are studying actually lived. Such understanding is obviously supported by knowledge of key events, but it also depends on being able to visualise the period – recognising the kind of conditions in which people lived – and on an appreciation of the routine ideas and assumptions that shaped their thinking.  The resources in this section offer a range of strategies to help teachers plan for the development of this kind of awareness, focusing particularly on the different kinds of sources that can be used to make the ideas and attitudes of people in the past accessible and meaningful in their particular context.  

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  • Planning a more diverse and coherent Year 7 curriculum

    Article

    In this article, Jacob Olivey describes his department’s efforts to both diversify their Key Stage 3 curriculum and secure greater curricular coherence. Building on a large body of research and practice, Olivey sought new forms of curricular coherence through the selection and sequencing of substantive content across the curriculum. He...

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  • Using the concept of place to help Year 9 students to visualise the complexities of the Holocaust

    Article

    Inspired by the work of the social and cultural historian Tim Cole, Stuart Farley decided to look again at the way he teaches the Holocaust. He wanted to focus on the geographical concept of place as a way of enabling his Year 9 students to build far more diverse narratives,...

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  • What can rituals reveal about power in the medieval world? Teaching Year 7 pupils to apply interdisciplinary approaches

    Article

    Much has been written in recent years about how historical scholarship can be used to shape practice in the classroom. As an historian of the medieval period now working as an history teacher, Dhwani Patel offers a fresh perspective on these debates. During her PGCE year, Patel found herself reflecting...

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  • Using oral history to enhance a local history partnership

    Article

    Eliza West and Emily Toettcher explain how a partnership between school and museum has evolved into a four-year enquiry into local history. The article focuses on the successful introduction of an oral history element in the GCSE syllabus and how the investigation into ‘remembered’ history helps students to appreciate the complexities of truth...

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  • Using individuals’ stories to help GCSE students to explain change and causation

    Article

    Should we, and how do we, develop in our students a sense of period – or a series of senses of period – in a thematic study spanning a thousand years? This was the problem faced by Matthew Fearns-Davies in preparing for the GCSE ‘Health and the People’ paper. He shows...

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  • What Have Historians Been Arguing About... medieval science and medicine?

    Article

    The phrase ‘medieval science’ may seem nonsensical. ‘How can... a synonym for “backward”,’ the editors of The Cambridge History of Science Volume 2 ask rhetorically, ‘modify a noun that signifies the best available knowledge from the natural world?’ To answer their question, we must rethink our assumptions, both about the...

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  • Deepening Year 9’s knowledge for better causation arguments

    Article

    Frustrated by her students’ glib use of catch-all terms such as ‘militarism’ in addressing causation, Alexia Michalaki wanted her Year 9 students to produce mature causal explanations of World War I. To encourage this to happen she went back into decades of pedagogical writing and research, teasing out the ways...

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  • ‘One big cake’: substantive knowledge of the mid-Tudor crisis in Year 7 students’ writing

    Article

    While looking to revamp his department’s Year 7 enquiry on the Tudors, Jack Mills turned to historiographical debates regarding the ‘mid-Tudor crisis’ to inform his curricular decision making. In doing so, Mills noted that the debate hinged on interpretations of substantive concepts such as ‘crisis’. He therefore also drew on previous...

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  • Triumphs Show 176: Using material culture as a means to generate an enquiry on the British Empire

    Article

    Triumphs Show is a regular feature which offers a quick way for teachers to celebrate their successes and share inspirational ideas with one another. While the ideas are always explained in sufficient depth for others to be able to take them forward in their own practice, the simple format allows...

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  • Harnessing the power of community to expand students’ historical horizons

    Article

    Many history teachers will already be familiar with ‘meanwhile, elsewhere...’, a website offering freely downloadable homework resources on individuals, events and developments in world history. In this article the website’s creators, Richard Kennett and Will Bailey-Watson, set out a curricular rationale for the project. They argue that using homework tasks...

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  • Using narratives and big pictures to address the challenges of a 2-year KS3 curriculum

    Article

    Faced with cutting her Key Stage 3 curriculum to two years, Natalie Kesterton and her department were determined to do more with less. Not only did they want to ensure that their pupils developed a secure, wide-ranging knowledge of British and world history, they also wanted to address deficits in pupils’...

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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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  • Teaching Year 8 pupils to take seriously the ideas of ordinary people from the past

    Article

    Jacob Olivey wanted Year 8 to know that ordinary people in the nineteenth century constructed their own identities. In this reflection on how his practice developed in his training year, Olivey illustrates the importance of using historical scholarship in choosing foundational knowledge to teach. He shows how he used that...

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  • 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...

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  • ‘Man, people in the past were indeed stupid’

    Article

    In this article, which is based on Huijgen’s PhD dissertation Balancing between the past and the present, Tim Huijgen and Paul Holthuis present the results of an experimental method of teaching 14–16-year-old students to contextualise their historical studies in a different way. In the four lessons described, students’ initial reactions...

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  • 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...

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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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  • Inverting the telescope: investigating sources from a different perspective

    Article

    As historians, we are dependent on evidence, which comes in many varieties. Rosalind Stirzaker here introduces a project which she ran two years ago to encourage her students to think about artefacts in a different way. They have examined randomly preserved artefacts such as those of Pompeii, and sets of...

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  • New, Novice or Nervous? 167: Confidence with substantive knowledge

    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...   History is a complex enterprise. In order to produce sophisticated arguments, pupils need firm foundations. One foundation is knowledge of the argumentative structures that historians...

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  • Move Me On 167: Frames of reference

    Article

    This feature is designed to build critical, informed debate about the character of teacher training, teacher education and professional development. This issue’s problem: Eleanor Franks doesn’t really understand her students’ frames of reference and the difficulties that many of them have in making sense of the particular historical phenomena she is teaching them about. Eleanor Franks,...

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