This page is designed to be helpful for new history teachers. Please do get in touch with me (@mfordhamhistory, or email email@example.com) if there is something you would like added to this page. I am also happy to take suggestions for blog posts on particular topics. I would also recommend that you have a look at the feature in Teaching History called ‘New, Novice or Nervous’ which gives recommended reading on a wide range of problems faced by history teachers.
Medium term planning
I wrote a series of blog posts in 2013 on medium-term planning. I might well add to this list in the future, but currently there are posts available on:
You might also find my posts ‘History: a vehicle for moral enquiry‘ useful for thinking about different types of question that we might set in history lessons. For examples of how some of these ideas come together in medium-term plans, you might take a look at ‘Lions led by donkeys?‘ and ‘Let’s talk of graves, of worms and epitaphs‘.
Planning a history curriculum
Although you are unlikely to be doing any long-term planning early in your training, you should nevertheless be thinking about the principles of this as this will help you relate particular lessons and schemes of work to the bigger picture. I wrote a series of posts in 2014 to share some ideas about how teachers might plan for the new KS3 and GCSE history curricula.
- Planning for the new five-year history curriculum
- Just how big a change is the new GCSE History?
- Planning for progression from KS3 to GCSE
- Be not afeared: criticality and the teaching of history
The question of what pupils ought to be studying in history is a controversial one and a lot has been written about this. I have written a few posts which might serve as a good introduction to the debate.
- Knowledge, skills and the ignored dichotomy
- Why should pupils learn dates?
- It’s time to make knowledge more complicated
- Are we training pupils to be historians?
- Why Hitler and Henry, and not Wallenstein and Anne?
With the end of National Curriculum levels schools are currently going through a period of transition in thinking about how to assess pupil historical knowledge. The following posts deal with issues of progression and assessment.
- Levels: where it all went wrong
- On letting ourselves be specialists
- Knowledge-rich and task-specific mark schemes
- Summative and formative assessment
- Developing a mixed constitution
- What does ‘secondary ready’ look like in history?
Helping pupils learn history
This is a bit of a new thing for me as I am not a psychologist, but the following posts contain some thoughts on how we might help pupils remember history better (particularly in the long term).
- Make History Stick
- Switching the scale between overview and depth
- Using the question effectively
- Why should pupils learn dates?
Doing your research project
Most teacher training these days involves a research element. The following posts might be helpful in thinking about what research is, what we (as teachers) can and cannot do and what it might look like to do history-specific research in the classroom.
Mentors and mentoring
I have also written a bit about mentoring trainee teachers: these posts might be useful for both trainees and mentors to read.
- Lesson observations as a mentor
- What does a teacher need to know?
- Identifying knowledge deficits
- Subject knowledge and ITT
- 90% of teacher training should be subject-specific
I have not written about managing pupil behaviour, but I would thoroughly recommend the following posts as good starting points.
- David Didau – Back to School Part 1: Routines and Back to School Part 2: Relationships
- Old Andrew – What makes a school discipline system work?
- Tom Bennett – Two schools bad, one school good