What time does the tune start?: From thinking about 'sense of period' to modelling history at Key Stage 3


By Ian Dawson, published 13th September 2009

A ‘sense of period' is the contextual backdrop to the study of any aspect of history. As experienced historians, we tend to take for granted both our structural map of the past and our rich descriptions of different periods. The ability to draw generalisations about certain periods is arguably just as vital as recognising the diversity within that period. Yet how is such a sense acquired? Ian Dawson is by now very familiar to readers of Teaching History. In TH130, Picturing History Edition, he explored thematic stories and challenged traditions of chronological teaching. In this article, Dawson explores a definition of the term ‘sense of period'. He takes us through some familiar activities that perhaps have not worked so well in the past and suggests alternative questions and approaches.

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