What’s The Wisdom On... Consequence

Teaching History feature

Published: 19th April 2021

What’s The Wisdom On... Consequence

Consequence easily becomes ‘causation’s forgotten sibling’, as Fordham noted, in the title of a workshop presented at the 2012 Historical Association conference. The choice to treat consequence separately from causation in this series of articles is, therefore, a very deliberate one. Yet an emphasis on the importance of consequences should not be seen as  requiring new kinds of historical thinking or new ways of evaluating young people’s understanding of the connections between past events.

What's the Wisdom On... is a short guide providing new history teachers with an overview of the ‘story so far’ of practice-based professional thinking about a particular aspect of history teaching. It draws on tried and tested approaches arising from teachers with years of experimenting, researching, practising, writing and debating their classroom experience. It therefore synthesises key messages from Teaching History articles, blogs and other publications. The guide includes practical suggestions suitable for any key stage and signposts basic reading essentials for new professionals. See all guides in this series

The idea of consequence is so deeply embedded in historical narratives and so closely entwined with other second-order concepts that any history teacher inviting students to examine the causes of a particular event, or to describe patterns of change over time, will inevitably be asking their students to engage – albeit indirectly – with the concept of consequence. Putting forward any kind of causal argument means making a claim about the nature of the relationship between one event (or action or development) and another that followed it. Identifying a particular event as the consequence of one that preceded it represents a similar kind of claim about the relationship between the two...

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