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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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...

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  • ‘If you had told me before that these students were Russians, I would not have believed it’

    Article

    Bjorn Wansink and his co-authors have aligned their teaching of a recent and controversial historical issue – the Cold War – in the light of a contemporary incident. This article demonstrates a means of ensuring that students understand that different cultures’ views of their shared past are nuanced, rather than monolithic – a different concept in philosophy as well as in...

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  • Of the many significant things that have ever happened, what should we teach?

    Article

    There are three basic strands to our lessons. How should we teach? What skills should we enable our students to build? What content should we use to deliver those skills? In this article Tony McConnell, who has been re-designing the curriculum in his school in response to a changed examination regimen, considers the issue of subject...

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  • Cunning Plan 166: developing an enquiry on the First Crusade

    Article

    "What shall I say next? We were all indeed huddled together like sheep in a fold, trembling and frightened, surrounded on all sides by enemies so that we could not turn in any direction. It was clear to us that this had happened because of our sins. A great clamour rose to the sky, not...

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  • Move Me On 165: Capturing student interest vs. sense of period

    Article

    This issue’s problem: In her concern to capture students’ interest Jennet Preston tends to present people in the past as weird and wonderful aliens... Jennet Preston has come into teaching as a second career, following a break to look after her young children. She is enthusiastic and full of ideas for...

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  • The Power of Context: using a visual source

    Article

    Drawing on her wealth of experience and expertise in using visual sources in the classroom, in this article Jane Card explores how a single painting, a portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay and her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray, might form the basis for a sequence of lessons. Arguing that although highly...

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  • Pedagogical framework for stimulating historical contextualisation

    Article

    'Why am I accused of being a heretic?' A pedagogical framework for stimulating historical contextualisation One of the challenges facing students who want to make sense of a source or an interpretation of the past is the need to place it in its context. Various research studies have shown that students...

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