Basket weaving in Advanced level to plan and teach the 100 year study


By Richard Harris, Alison Kitson, published 1st December 2002

The current specifications for AS/A2 history require students to study change over a period of at least 100 years. Given that the 100 year study represents just one module out of six and also that it may not complement any of the other modules selected and may therefore be wholly unfamiliar to students, it raises some challenging questions about how to plan and teach it. It has certainly presented Advanced Level teachers with a new challenge, for even where they were previously teaching a theme over a long time span, they would almost certainly have had more time to do so. But perhaps it is this relative lack of time that frees us to be more creative and to draw meaningfully on current practice at Key Stage 3: there is not enough time to go into huge detail and it is the big pictures that are important. In this article, Richard Harris and Alison Kitson warn against an ‘attritional’ approach to content and suggest alternative ways of handling the 100 year unit which enable students to focus more on the patterns, the changes and the continuities than on the narrative of events. Through a discussion of both general principles and two specific case studies, they provide us with a rich source of specific, practical ideas about how to plan and teach this unit without drowning in content, running out of time and switching students off.

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