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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  • The Holocaust in history and history in the curriculum

    Article

    In this powerfully argued article Paul Salmons focuses directly on the distinctive contribution that a historical approach to the study of the Holocaust makes to young people's education. Not only does he question the adequacy of objectives focused on eliciting purely emotional responses; he issues a strong warning that turning...

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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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  • 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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  • Transforming historical understanding through scripted drama

    Article

    An article on scripted drama might seem an unlikely choice for an edition devoted to getting students talking. Surely the point about a script is that the words used are chosen and prescribed by others. However, the examples presented here by Helen Snelson, Ruth Lingard and Kate Brennan demonstrate how...

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Witchcraft - Using fiction with Year 8s

    Article

    Which women were executed for witchcraft? And which pupils cared?  Paula Worth was concerned that her low-attaining set were only going through the motions when tackling causal explanation. Identifying, prioritising and weighing causes seemed an empty routine rather than a fascinating puzzle engaging intellect and imagination. She was also concerned...

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  • Year 9 - Connecting past, present and future

    Article

    Possible futures: using frameworks of knowledge to help Year 9 connect past, present and future How can we help pupils integrate history into coherent ‘Big Pictures' or mental frameworks? Building on traditions of classroom research and theorising reported in earlier editions of Teaching History, Dan Nuttall reports how his department set...

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  • Year 9 face up to historical difference

    Article

    How many people does it take to make an Essex man? Year 9 face up to historical difference Teaching her Key Stage 3 students in Essex, Catherine McCrory was struck by the stark contrast between their enthusiasm for studying diverse histories of Africa and the Americas and their reluctance to...

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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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  • ‘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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