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Hannah Sibona, last updated: 16th June 2017

Complicating the narrative of economic and social progress in Britain with Year 9

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 Year 9 pupils to the variety of working habits and routines that co-existed in nineteenth-century Britain could help them to understand that historical change is often piecemeal and uneven. Sibona explores how a study of contemporaries’ shifting concept of time can help pupils to understand change as a complex process and to develop a sense of historical perspective.

The industrial revolution made nineteenth-century Britain the ‘workshop of the world’. To the Victorians who coined the phrase ‘industrial revolution’ in 1884, the process of industrialisation involved a single trajectory of steady improvement...

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Article taken from Teaching History 167: Complicating Narratives

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