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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  • 'But why then?' Chronological context and historical interpretations

    Article

    When Michael Fordham was introduced to Dr Seuss's Butter Battle Book he immediately recognised its potential value in the classroom as a popular interpretation of the Cold War. Wanting his Year 9 pupils to explain how and why the past has been interpreted in different ways he shows the potential pitfalls...

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  • Building and assessing historical knowledge on three scales

    Article

    The knowledge that ‘flavours' a claim: towards building and assessing historical knowledge on three scales While marking some Year 11 essays, Kate Hammond found her interest caught by significant differences between one kind of strong analysis and another. Some scored high marks but were less convincing. The achievement in these...

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  • Challenging stereotypes and avoiding the superficial: a suggested approach to teaching the Holocaust

    Article

    Alison Kitson provides a rationale for a scheme of work for Year 9 (13-14 year-olds). She argues that teachers should analyse the kind of historical learning that is taking place when the Holocaust is studied. Critical of the assumption that learning will take place as a result of exposure, she...

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  • Cunning Plan 143: enquiries about the British empire

    Article

    I wanted to give my Year 8 students ownership of their work on the British Empire by allowing them to suggest our ‘enquiry question'. In order to introduce the Empire, I brought in sugar, spices, bananas, chilli peppers and cotton. I then showed maps demonstrating the Empire at its height....

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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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  • 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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  • Developing Year 8 students' conceptual thinking about diversity in Victorian society

    Article

    Developing Year 8 students' conceptual thinking about diversity in Victorian society Elizabeth Carr writes here about a new scheme of work she developed to teach students about diversity in Victorian society. When dealing with a concept such as diversity, it can be easy for students to slip into stereotypes based...

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  • Dickens...Hardy...Jarvis?! A novel take on the Industrial Revolution

    Article

    ‘Empathy with edge' was the editorial description given eight years ago to the kind of historical fiction that Dave Martin and Beth Brooke first argued history students should be writing (TH 108). The winning entries from the annual ‘Write Your Own Historical Story Competition' to which their work gave rise...

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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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  • Enquiries to engage Year 7 in medieval anarchy

    Article

    Wrestling with Stephen and Matilda: planning challenging enquiries to engage Year 7 in medieval anarchy McDougall found learning about Stephen and Matilda fascinating, was sure that her pupils would also and designed an enquiry to engage them in ‘the anarchy' of 1139-1153 AD. Pupils enjoyed exploring ‘the anarchy' and learning...

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  • Evidential understanding, period knowledge and the development of literacy: a practical approach to 'layers of inference' for Key Stage 3.

    Article

    Claire Riley explains how she developed and improved the ‘layers of inference' diagram-already a popular device since Hilary Cooper's work-as a way of getting pupils fascinated by challenging texts and pictures. Working with the whole ability range in Year 9 she analyses her successes and failures, offering many practical suggestions...

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  • Exploring diversity at GCSE

    Article

    Having already reflected on ways of improving their students' understanding of historical diversity at Key Stage 3, Joanne Philpott and Daniel Guiney set themselves the challenge of extending this to post-14 students by means of fieldwork activities at First World War battlefields sites. In addition, they wanted to link the study...

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  • Getting Year 10 to understand the value of precise factual knowledge

    Article

    Up until the early 1990s, historical knowledge sometimes had rather a bad press. Various developments, in National Curriculum, at GCSE and, importantly, in ordinary teachers’ practice and debate, then led to a much closer integration of what we once called ‘content’ and ‘skills’. Tony McAleavy examined changing perceptions of the...

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  • Getting Year 7 to vocalise responses to the murder of Thomas Becket

    Article

    A ‘surprising shock' in the cathedral: getting Year 7 to vocalise responses to the murder of Thomas Becket

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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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  • Historical consciousness in sixth-form students

    Article

    Moving forwards while looking back: historical consciousness in sixth-form students A key concern driving debates about curriculum reform in England is anxiety that young people's knowledge of the past is too episodic - that they lack a coherent ‘narrative' or ‘map' of the past. While recent debate focused on what...

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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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  • 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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  • Investigating students' prior understandings of the Holocaust

    Article

    The edge of knowing: investigating students' prior understandings of the HolocaustStudents make sense of new learning on the basis of their prior understandings: we cannot move our students' thinking on unless we understand what they already know. In this article, Edwards and O'Dowd report how they set out to scope...

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  • Knowledge and the Draft NC

    Article

    Silk purse from a sow's ear? Why knowledge matters and why the draft History NC will not improve it Katie Hall and Christine Counsell attempt to construct a Key Stage 3 scheme of work out of the draft National Curriculum for history that was released for consultation in England in...

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