Our students need to gain and retain a lot of knowledge if they are going to make progress in History. They need to be able to deploy that knowledge in an organised way. We have probably all taught students who have lots of factual knowledge, but who really struggle to organise that knowledge to use it to think historically. Being able to make links and connections between all the things they know is essential to organising knowledge. Here is one idea you can use to help your students make links…
Paper chains are not just for Christmas!
I often come across GCSE History students who complain bitterly that they struggle with making links between events. It can be difficult, especially for lower ability students.
Inspired by Christmas paper chain making I have started using them as a way to physically link events and actions. It helps students make connections which they can see and can provokes discussion on the complexities of making links.
You can use different colours to show social, political, economic and religious events which can be used to develop responses on relative importance of factors. So, get out the coloured paper (and the glue) and start linking. You never know where it might lead.
The Historical Association provides support for teachers who want to find ways to help their students gain and retain historical knowledge here: Making Knowledge Secure
For three days after the publication of this post, the following article will be free to everyone and not just HA members: Thinking makes it so: cognitive psychology and history teaching. In it Michael Fordham explains how research into cognitive psychology relates to the teaching of History. It, and many great articles, are always there for HA members.
Do follow the HA on Twitter @histassoc for more updates, to send comments and to share ideas.
Thanks to Elisabeth Page for this post.