Substantive concepts

Substantive concepts are those concerned with the subject matter of history – the substance about which students are learning. Some materials in this section focus on the teaching of highly specific contextualised terms and others explore more general strategies for building and reinforcing knowledge of recurring concepts over time. Read more

Sort by: Date (Newest first) | Title A-Z
Show: All | Articles | Podcasts | Multipage Articles
  • 'Picture This'. A simple technique to teach complex concepts.

    Article

    ‘Picture This' A simple technique through which to teach relatively complex historical concepts When Peter Clements was introduced to the creative strategy that he describes in this article, his immediate reaction was to dismiss it as childish and trivial. Yet, upon closer examination, he realised that ‘Picture This' offered far...

    Click to view
  • A modest proposal for change in Canadian history education

    Article

    Peter Seixas recounts the development of a history education reform project in Canada. Like all good histories, it is a complex story and a matter of unanticipated consequences and ironic narrative twists. Seixas' history is, like all good histories, of intrinsic interest in itself. There are also many points of...

    Click to view
  • Helping students put shape on the past; systematic use of analogies to accelerate understanding

    Article

    One of the challenges facing pupils in the history classroom is conceptual understanding. Pupils also find it difficult to recognise themes or patterns across different parts of time and space. Ian Myson has recognised the importance of analogy as a way to facilitate pupils’ understanding. He is quick to recognise,...

    Click to view
  • Developing conceptual understanding through talk mapping

    Article

    As history teachers, we talk about concepts all the time. We know that pupils need to understand them in order to make sense of the past. Precisely what we mean when we talk about concepts is less clear, however. Research into how history teachers talk about their practice suggests that,...

    Click to view
  • Ranking and classifying: teaching political concepts to post-16 students

    Article

    Sometimes it is precisely in the interest of building better historical knowledge that facts and detail need temporarily to be abandoned. Gary Howells aims to secure discernible foundation understandings in his students by getting them to engage quickly with those aspects of political concepts that they can grasp. He is...

    Click to view