History 7-11: Developing Primary Teaching Skills

History 7-11: Developing Primary Teaching Skills

History 7-11: Developing Primary Teaching Skills

History 7-11: Developing Primary Teaching Skills


In this book instead of learning dates, the authors argue that children should be doing historical investigations, to involve the children as historians in an imaginative and creative way.


History 7-11 is divided into an introduction and seven units. The ‘Introduction’ develops the idea of you, the teacher, improving your practice through systematically researching it yourself using a technique called ‘action research’. The concept of action research permeates the rest of the book.

Unit 1, ‘Teachers as historians’, focuses on what is involved in being an historian, illustrating this through a case-study of Heinrich Schliemann and his discovery of Troy. Unit 1 argues that children should similarly be involved in historical investigations, thus developing the skills and learning the processes that underpin historical understanding.

Unit 2, ‘History for the classroom’, uses a case-study of ‘The Vikings’ to suggest how you can turn the findings of academic historians, their histories, into classroom practice.

In Units 3-5, teachers’ accounts illustrate how different teaching approaches involve children in their mental reconstruction of the past. Unit 34, ‘Investigating the past and the History Curriculum’, argues that we can create and present history from numerous perspectives, such as those of the biographer, local historian, detective, artist and film maker. All share the historian’s approach to making sense of the past through the process of investigation, a process we call ‘doing history’.

Unit 4, ‘Bringing the past to life: history as a creative art’, demonstrates how we can get children to enter into the spirit of the past through strategies such as pictorial reconstruction, drama, simulation and story telling. In this unit we examine children’s logical, inductive, imaginative and creative historical thinking.

Unit 5, ‘Teaching and learning concepts’, examines the form which conceptual thinking takes in history and how children can develop their understanding of concepts.

Unit 6, ‘History in the curriculum: teaching a History Study Unit and whole-class teaching’, applies the thinking in Units 1 to 5 to how we taught the Vikings to our class of 7 and 8 year olds. The unit details how we coped with the problems of planning, resourcing, progression and differentiation to produce practical teaching strategies that worked with real, live children. In particular, it shows how you can use whole-class teaching to teach effectively.

Unit 7, ‘Assessment’, suggests a user-friendly approach to this problem that should square the vicious educational circle of meeting the needs of pupils and satisfying our latter day Spanish Inquisition, otherwise known as OFSTED, Office for Standards in Education.

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