Hidden in Plain Sight – resources for teaching the history of people with disability

Following on from our HA conference session in Stratford, here are the copies of the resources. We have a duty to reflect the pasts of all people in society in our classrooms. Our session focused on subject knowledge about the history of disability and ideas for teaching. We worked with a mini-thematic activity exploring disability through time. You can find a Word file of these resources here: Timeline headings and text  Pics for timeline

We suggest that you can first match headings and pictures, then sort the material onto a timeline, then ask questions about continuity and change in attitudes. For example, how complex are attitudes across the medieval period? When was the worst time to be a person with disability in the past? What is the role of factors such as religion, the state, war etc in the story.

This sort of mini-thematic could be used at KS3 (to help students learng to think thematically) or at the start of teaching ‘Medicine Through Time’ (as it explores some very relevant themes to that topic).

The image featured on this blog is a Bruegel called ‘Carnival and Lent’. We ask students to imagine walking through the scene noticing the people. Disability is not hidden away.

We have also developed the idea of ‘slot-ins’. Recognising that the history curriculum is jam-packed, we want to encourage you to recognise the stories that are within the topics you already teach. Slot-ins (not bolt-ons) allow you to introduce richness and diversity to topics from the Tudor court, to slavery abolition, and to civil rights post 1945. You can find these materials here.

Thanks to the team who worked with us yesterday and please do share great ideas for bringing more of these important pasts into our history lessons.

Another useful timeline is here: Disability timeline

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