Teaching beyond Europe, the less trod path…

Happy New Year! May 2019 be kind and also full of really effective and inspiring history teaching – including of more diverse pasts!

The Historical Association has welcomed the Royal Historical Society’s 2018 ‘Race, Ethnicity and Equality’ report that highlights the need for greater diversity in UK History and is committed to helping school history teachers to teach about a more diverse past. At the same time we are aware that uptake of the exam specification courses aimed at enabling the teaching of a more diverse past is low.

The Secondary Committee is partly made up of practising history teachers and we are all too aware of the pressures on time and resources. We are also committed to helping history teachers to develop their own knowledge about, what may be, less familiar topics so that they feel confident to teach them. We also want to provide and promote excellent teaching and learning resources. To that end, this first post of the year is about making people aware of help and free resources that exist.

Maybe your department is thinking of refreshing your exam course and would consider choosing an option less often taught? We have been exploring the topics that exist which take us beyond Europe and/or into ‘pasts less well trod’ by history teachers in the UK. What follows is a list of what we have found.

GCSE options:

  • The Mughal Empire 1526-1707 – a period study from OCR SHP
  • China 1950-1981 ( or 1946-76), Poland 1956-1990, South Africa 1960-1994 = wider world depth studies from OCR Explaining the Modern World and Edexcel.

A Level options:

  • The rise of Islam c.550-750 – from OCR
  • Genghis Khan and the explosion from the Steppes c.1167-1405 – from OCR
  • African Kingdoms c.1400-c.1800 – from OCR
  • Mughal India c.1526-1739 – from OCR
  • Japan 1853-1937- from OCR
  • South African politics 1948-1999 (or 1948-1994) – from OCR and Edexcel
  • The Making of Modern China 1860-1997 – from Edexcel
  • Mao’s China 1949-1976 – from Edexcel
  • India c.1914-1948 – from Edexcel

There are resources for teaching these on the exam board websites. They tend to be in various sections, for example textbooks, planning, teacher guides… It’s worth having a good look around.

Here’s one example…

African Kingdoms c.1400-c.1800 uses four case studies to study Africa before European colonisation. A freely available African Kingdoms e-book has been written to accompany the course by Dr Toby Green from King’s College London. There is also a website including a scheme of work, the e-book, and digital resources at www.africankingdoms.co.uk  Any department taking on this option can feel fully supported and have a course fully resourced with the latest research from academic historians.

We hope this first post of 2019 will inspire you to think about planning to teach about the diverse past and we will be posting from time to time to bring your attention to more helpful knowledge and resources. Meanwhile, every best wish for the start of term.




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