History Resource Cupboard – lessons and resources for schools

History Resource Cupboard - lessons and resources for schools

Teaching Issues

A matter of principle

All is quiet.

It’s been nearly a month and the government haven’t announced any drastic changes to the school structure, teaching conditions, curriculum or examination system? However, with the half term then Christmas holidays soon to be upon us, there is still plenty of  time for new announcements .

To put a positive spin on this, the changes that we are now aware of help us exercise the expert ‘historian’ skills we are trying to develop in our pupils: the skill of asking questions. Why? Well, because so many of the announced changes haven’t been followed up with any detail, we are left with many more questions than answers:

  • What will the new National Curriculum look like for history? A list of names to learn?
  • When will we hear about these changes?
  • Will we have enough time to implement them?
  • What will the changes to GCSE look like?
  • Will it be a return to O Levels?
  • Will there be enough time to design a new exam for history that is fit for purpose?
  • Will the changes made to history exams be an improvement on what presently exists?

It is a very stressful time to a teacher. Although change is a concept we all teach, in reality, many people find changes made that are outside of ones own control very difficult to deal with. Especially when the changes appear to be incoherent, half baked and ideologically driven.

The one big positive is that history’s place as subject is secure at Key Stage 3. The new English Baccalaureate Certificate  has strengthened her place 14-16 too.

However, these are the only positives that I can think of.  What we need in this time of growing curriculum uncertainty is STICK TO OUR PRINCIPLES.  Here at historyresourcecupboard we advocate enquiry based history. We also passionately believe in the following:

  • We are certain that history should be taught as a construct, not a list.
  • We want to help our students come to their own conclusions.
  • We firmly believe that the concepts and processes that presently exist in the National Curriculum make history a discipline. .
  • We aim to make history engaging and meaningful.
  • We want lessons to be fun and rigorous.
  • We think that students should have plenty of opportunities to raise their own questions.
  • We think that kids should engage with real historians.
  • We believe in ensuring that enquiries end with stimulating and creative end products.
  • We think that assessment and progression should lie at the heart of our planning and it should help kids improve their work.

If we stick to our guns, whatever the state of the curriculum  thrust upon us, we won’t go far wrong. If the new National Curriculum is what we are led to believe it will be by the press, we need to be brave and interpret the lists to fit in with good enquiry based teaching. Our pupils deserve to be taught how to inquire and how to think (see our downloadable KS3 lessons). The same applies at 14-16. For examples of lessons click here. Regurgitating facts in a vacuum is helpful to no one.

Let’s stick to our principles and we won’t go far wrong.

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