Unpicking the threads of interpretations

Teaching History article

By Dan Keates, published 3rd July 2020

Tangling up Year 8 in the messy world of views on Oliver Cromwell

Determined to do justice to the complexity of the seventeenth century, as a messy but crucial period in British history, and to develop their pupils’ disciplinary understanding of how and why interpretations of the past are constructed, Dan Keates and his department set out to exploit the rich seam of interpretations of Cromwell. The quest to realise these ambitions has made them artists of their curriculum. They unpicked the threads of their own planning and wove them anew. Keates’s account of this process shares the possibilities and pitfalls of various approaches to teaching interpretations, and the power of a department’s reading, reflection and collaboration to resolve them.

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