Teaching History for beginners… Disciplinary Concepts

Helen Snelson, Chair of HA Secondary Committee and PGCE History Tutor at the University of York, writes about the HA’s upcoming webinar for beginning teachers and support to teach the disiciplinary concepts.

David Ingledew, Head of Secondary ITE at the University of Hertfordshire, and myself have recorded a short intro to disciplinary concepts in the history classroom for beginning teachers. You can find it here. Our aim is to support beginning teachers and non-specialists with some definitions of the disciplinary concepts taught in school. As more experienced colleagues will guess, this proved surprisingly hard. Some of the concepts are theorised in great depth and there is consensus around definition. Others are more slippery. However, we have tried to provide a starting point. After each short introduction to a concept we suggest next steps for reading. On Tuesday 29th September at 4pm we will be online for a Q&A based on the short film. Do encourage colleagues who may need some support with the basics of history disciplinary concepts to join us online.

I hope you are also aware of the series in Teaching History called ‘What’s the Wisdom On…?‘ and that there is now a webinar series to accompany each article in the series. These are pitched at a different level from the ‘Teaching History for beginners… Disciplinary Concepts’. We were aware, when recording the latter, that it can be all too easy to assume people are familiar with each concept and we wanted to provide a way ‘in’ for colleagues. To be honest, it took me several years before I felt confident that I understood what was meant by the concepts and my ideas continue to develop and I am always learning more from listening to colleagues and reading their work.

Across the year, look out for more support for beginning teachers. Next up, lesson planning! These have been filmed by Rachel Foster from the University of Cambridge and will be available soon.

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