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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  • 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

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    Students 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 a group of Y ear 8  students' prior learning and...

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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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  • 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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  • Learning about an 800-year-old fight can't be all that bad, can it? Its like what Simon and Kane did yesterday': modern-day parallels in history

    Article

    Deborah Robbins charts a story of her own learning during the PGCE year. She explains how she identified a point of interest in her own practice - the use of modern-day examples. Turning this into a focus for testing her own hypotheses, she theorised from her own lessons to produce...

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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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  • 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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  • Narrating “Histories of Spain”

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    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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  • Nazi perpetrators in Holocaust education

    Article

    The Holocaust is often framed, in textbooks and exam syllabi, from a perpetrator perspective as a narrative of Nazi policy. We are offered a different orientation here. Interrogating and understanding the Holocaust involves understanding why the people who perpetrated the Holocaust did the things that they did. As Wolf Kaiser...

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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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  • 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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  • Passive receivers or constructive readers?

    Article

    Rachel Foster reports here on research that she conducted into how students engage with academic texts. Unhappy with the usual range of texts that students encounter, often truncated and ‘simplified' in the name of accessibility, she designed a scheme of work which sought to find out how her students responded...

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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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  • Period, place and mental space

    Article

    Period, place and mental space: using historical scholarship to develop Year 7 pupils' sense of period What is a sense of period? And how can pupils' sense of period be developed? Questions such as these have troubled history teachers for many years, often revolving around debates over the role played by...

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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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  • Polychronicon 141: Adolf Eichmann

    Article

    Almost 60 years ago Adolf Eichmann went on trial for crimes committed against the Jews while he was in the service of the Nazi regime. His capture by the Israeli secret service and his abduction from Argentina triggered a number of journalistic books that portrayed him as a pathological monster...

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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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  • Seeing the historical world

    Article

    In this article, Lindsay Cassedy, Catherine Flaherty and Michael Fordham draw upon their empirical research to assess what understandings their students had of historical interpretations at the end of their compulsory education in history. They found that most students operated with an underlying epistemological model that did not reflect the...

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  • Should empathy come out of the closet?

    Article

    What is historical empathy and why is it important? What has gone wrong and what had gone right in past attempts to develop students' empathetic understanding? What does progression look like in this area of historical thinking and what are the  preconceptions that can act as barriers to progression? Lee...

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