One Big History Department

Teaching about the past can make your brain hurt! Learning history can make students’ brains hurt! We are all looking for ways to teach better history, to help our students to get better at history and to help them to enjoy the subject we love. Onebighistorydepartment (OBHD) has been created by the members of the Secondary Committee of the Historical Association (you can see a list of current members here: Committee members March 23)

OBHD is intended to be a place for sharing thinking, resources and conversations about teaching and learning history. We want it to be a place where colleagues can share and support each other as part of a diverse and inclusive subject community. That might be by sharing tried and tested teaching strategies and resources that help students learn. It might be to draw upon and join in the years of discussion to develop knowledge and expertise about high quality history teaching that the HA has nurtured since 1906. It might be to help teachers improve their subject knowledge. We all need great ideas when under pressure to plan lessons. However, really good history teachers are also immersed in lengthy discussions about students’ learning of history, they have a strong sense of the purpose of what they are doing and of how it fits into a bigger picture.

That means that, while each post here is short, each post is also connected to wider ongoing discussions about how to teach history. OBHD is just one small part of the HA. The HA is the subject association for history teachers in the UK. It works very closely with the Royal Historical Society and other history organisations and projects to support the subject. With a very small staff and lots of volunteer support from members, the HA has been championing and improving history teaching for over a century. We hope you will want to join in and become a more active part of making history a strong and vibrant subject in our own times by joining the HA as a member. You can find out more about the HA by going to the website at and you can follow the HA on Twitter @histassoc.  

Here is a (sort of) index of posts. The tagging is also as clear as we can make it – scroll down on a phone!

Please contribute to OBHD by sending ideas via: labelling your mail ‘OneBigHistoryDepartment’, or get in touch via @histassoc.

What sort of contributions?

A few, far from exhaustive ideas for blogposts:

  • Descriptions and explanations of how taking part in CPD, talking with colleagues, being inspired by a historian has led to changes in your classroom for your pupils.
  • Reviews of books, films, museums, websites, programmes.
  • Reflections on articles from Teaching History or historians’ podcasts on the HA website.
  • Sharing and explaining a really good quality resource that others could use.
  • Celebrating and sharing an approach to teaching that has really helped students to learn better history and learn history better.
  • Sharing and explaining your department’s professional wrestling with a curriculum problem and how to tackle it.
  • Great ideas for adapting history teaching for every child.