A guide to historical enquiry questions in action

A few weeks ago Christine Counsell (@Counsell-C) gave the benefit of her wisdom and her encyclopedic knowledge of Teaching History articles to all of us seeking to understand the role of the historical enquiry question in great history teaching. In case you missed it on @twitter, here it is reproduced with links to the articles… 

In @histassoc TH articles, I’m not sure you want articles *on* enquiry so much as articles which take it for granted as their curricular framing. They tell you more about the curricular assumptions & traditions hist teachers are working with I reckon. Try @PaulaLoboWorth TH 156.

Try @EG_Carr & me in TH 157 – it’s about timelines but all egs only make sense in the context of the enquiries the timelines sat within.

Try @geraintbrown & @salburnham in @histassoc TH157. See how central the EQ is to their work on assessment. eg Y7 enquiry: Did the Normans *transform* England? VG eg of simultaneously problematising a substantive concept (transformation) & second-order concept (change).

Anna Fielding in TH158 is lovely e.g. of a teacher keeping a sustained focus on a single Q, in which one “conceptual focus kept the pupils’ thinking” about a specific problem and “the substantive and conceptual were intertwined” in a v. structured way. This is classic EQ use.

Mark King TH159: stunningly clear, simple eg of gearing pupils towards ONE clear EQ across a lesson sequence: “Why wasn’t Magna Carta forgotten?” it’s also VG eg of prioritising substantive knowledge security along the way, & of using scholarship to get the EQ right.

Nice example of use of an EQ at A Level by @KirstieLMurray in TH160. It’s a short, two-lesson enquiry but works because rooted in prior knowledge. EQ is good e.g. of rigorous teaching about interpretations and evidence: ‘What can historians say for certain about early Islam?’

In TH163 @rachelfoster08 & @kath_goudie article, “Why historians matter more than ever at GCSE” for great e.g. of overcoming the rubbish questions set at GCSE by replacing them with rigorous EQs (while teaching pupils even better for the rubbish GCSE! – a clever double somersault).

In TH164 @PaulaLoboWorth’s wonderful account of how to teach pupils to write essay introductions is entirely framed within the assumption of working towards an EQ, and her lengthy literature survey shows how other history teachers see essays as culminations of an EQ journey. Notice how @PaulaLoboWorth sees preparing pupils to answer the EQ as tangled up with showing them how historians argue too. She shows EQ framing here as intrinsically bound up with high visibility of historical scholarship in the classroom.

For a model of a 6-lesson enquiry, a must-have is @EG_Carr (who acknowledges fab work of @MrSamPullan)TH167: What *CAN* we say about the industrial revolution? This is ace teaching of evidential thinking: conceptually rigorous, knowledge-thorough & a lean mean EQ focus throughout.

Finally, or not finally but this cld go on for ever…., in TH171 @jonnysellin sets out in full his 6-lesson enquiry on ‘What counts as useful evidence when investigating the Blitz?’ with a very full rationale & an interesting argument about source usefulness & pupils’ knowledge.



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