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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  • Creating a progression model for teaching historical perspectives in Key Stage 3

    Article

    Jacob Olivey set out to design enquiries which would enable his pupils to reconstruct, using evidence, the perspectives of people in the past. In this article he shares in detail the planning and outcomes of two enquiries: one for Year 7 and one for Year 8. Olivey offers a example...

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  • It’s just reading, right? Exploring how Year 12 students approach sources

    Article

    Frustrated by the generic statements that her Year 12 students were making about sources, Jacqueline Vyrnwy-Pierce resolved to undertake a research project into how her students were approaching sources about the French Revolution. Fascinated by the research of American educational psychologist Sam Wineburg, Vyrnwy-Pierce decided to use Wineburg’s methods to find...

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  • Cunning Plan 186: teaching Samurai Japan in Key Stage 3

    Article

    Like many history departments we have been seeking to develop schemes of work that are more outward-looking, and, as the National Curriculum describes, ‘enable pupils to know and understand significant aspects of world history’.  To my mind, Samurai Japan offers students the opportunity to explore a time and place that is...

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  • Dialogue, engagement and generative interaction in the history classroom

    Article

    Michael Bird has a long-standing interest in the power of classroom dialogue, not only as a means of elicting students’ prior knowledge or checking their understanding of new ideas and information, but also as a powerful tool for generating new knowledge through a collective process of meaning-making. In this article, he...

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  • Historical learning using concept cartoons

    Article

    Although perhaps unfamiliar to the majority of our readers, concept cartoons are not a new educational tool. Christoph Kühberger here lays out his rationale for using this technique, borrowed from science education, in history teaching. Concept cartoons provide a means for pupils to express such difficult historical concepts as the...

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  • Illuminating the possibilities of the past

    Article

    Claire Holliss reports here on the ways in which she has responded over time to the call to ‘do justice’ to the histories of those long neglected within the school curriculum.  Reflection on the need to ensure that the discipline of history remained central to any reform prompted her to...

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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