History, ICT, and Learning in the Secondary School

By Terry Haydn; Christine Counsell | Go to book overview
Save to active project


Relating the general to the particular

Data handling and historical learning

Dave Martin

One of the trends in professional historical writing since the early 1990s has been the growing focus on telling the big narrative through a multiplicity of smaller narratives. Some of these small stories confirm that big narrative; others contradict it. The success of two bestsellers, Stalingrad by Antony Beevor (1998) and A People's Tragedy by Orlando Figes (1996), show how popular this approach is with the wider reading public. The question to ask is, why have they sold so well? My answer would be that by concentrating on individuals these historians engage our interest in our fellow human beings. It is the people in the past who we want to know about, to think about and to feel empathy for. Yes, we are interested in understanding the big events but we need to make sense of these in terms of their impact on the lives of ordinary human beings.

This trend has been reflected in developments in school history in England and Wales. In the years following the introduction of the National Curriculum, history teachers felt constrained by its perceived content demands. Those of us working with a wide range of history teachers during that time, remember how often the fear was expressed that history would become a dreary catalogue of people and events with limited explanation of their significance. This was seen as a backward step, especially after the 'skills' and 'evidence' revolution of the 1970s and 1980s, much of which was characterised by a new emphasis on depth. It looked like the return of the dry 'outline' studies of the 1950s. In the 1990s, however, as a result of revisions made to the National Curriculum and history teachers' growing confidence and skill, innovative approaches to handling and overcoming 'content overload' have developed. These initiatives have involved a more positive approach to the 'big' story - or the 'overview' as history teachers now call it - and a greater skill in managing connections between the big stories and the small stories in pupils' learning.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
History, ICT, and Learning in the Secondary School


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 269

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?