‘Through the looking glass’

Journal article

By Danielle Donaldson, published 27th June 2018

Exploring how pupils’ substantive knowledge informs the language and analysis of change and continuity

Danielle Donaldson began to notice the verbs that her pupils used to express their ideas. She noticed that more successful pupils were using carefully chosen verbs to express their conceptual thinking about causation or change, and wondered how this might relate to, and reflect, the breadth and security of their underlying substantive knowledge.

Inspired by the work of other teacherresearchers such as Hammond and Foster, Donaldson explores here the relationship between language, knowledge and historical thinking about change and continuity. She shares the insights she gained from a close study of her pupils’ written work, drawing conclusions about the importance of language and narrative structure in enabling pupils to express historical ideas about change, and to avoid diverting into causal analysis.

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