Teaching a more representative and coherent British 17th Century

Ruth Lingard and Helen Snelson have presented their work on teaching a representative and coherent British 17th century for the HA at the 2021 Virtual Conference. All the resources accompanying the session are free to download from this blogpost.

You can find the link to a folder of all the resources here. In the folder you will find life stories of people who lived in the period 1625-1714 written in the first person. Some of them are names that are more popularly known, others are less familiar. For each person there is an accompanying worksheet. There is also a summary of the 16 stories and a suggestion for a summary activity. All the resources can be downloaded and adapted. Some exemplars of stories adapted for SEND have been provided. The resources as presented can be used to teach a coherent overview of the period in 2-3 lessons. This might be, for example, to bridge between topics, or prior to a depth study on a particular aspect of the period. However, colleagues may decide to use just a few stories, or parts of stories, and they could be used at the end of a depth story.

The enquiry question that frames these stories could be ‘What matters about the 17th Century?’ That is, what mattered to people at the time and what matters were they concerned with. The first person stories written as narratives enable pupils to be introduced to key knowledge about the period 1625-1714, including:

  • The importance of religion to people’s lives, the way it divided people and how that drove a civil war and its aftermath.
  • The impact of a civil war on all the people and the country, both at the time and its legacy.
    The impact of England’s growing trade and settlement of the Americas, as a place of emigration, domination, hope, horror and change.
  • The substantive concepts of power, parliament, monarchy, liberty, rule of law and how they develop in this period.
  • The interplay of science and religion – new understandings of space and time.

The stories are diverse in their range of place and people. (For example, the people whose stories they tell lived in different parts of the UK and beyond, lived across the time period, had different backgrounds and roles in society.) They enable an exploration of relationship, in its widest sense, and they avoid oversimplification of a complex world. History stays messy!

The stories are also rich in the disciplinary concepts of change, and similarity and difference. The stories introduce many people, but the ‘lead’ characters are more likely to be people from more privileged positions. This should be brought to the attention of pupils. It will enable teachers to draw out issues relating to the fragmentary nature of what survives to us from the past and how this can shape our sense of who and what is historically significant. The meaning that people in the 17th century gave to their lives may sit oddly with 21st century popular perceptions of what was significant in British history from that period. By raising these issues with pupils we can explore the silences and the gaps in our knowledge.

We hope these resources will be useful and that they will also serve to increase teacher, as well as pupil, knowledge of the period 1625-1714.

Update October 2021: huge thanks to Natalie Kesterton for adding a PDF of two lessons and SEND materials to the Drive folder!

Podcasts for A Level students

Huge thanks to Daisy Kemp and the volunteer history undergraduate team (Hannah, James, Madeline, Molly, Nell and Niamh) at the University of York. They have worked hard this term to create podcasts for keen school historians. Three podcasts are now loaded here on the YorkClio History Nerds site with supplementary materials. Each one has been created by undergraduate historians working with academics and thinking about the needs of school students who want to learn more history. They take a different approach to the popular school topics of the Tudors and Stuarts, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and China Vietnam. Each one is designed to introduce school history students to a different aspect of the history of the period. They can be used by teachers with students, or listened to by students in their own time – great for securing knowledge and thinking harder about history!

Enjoying local history!

The current York PGCE history students have been working with local history and have created some resources to use with their pupils in the next few weeks. You might enjoy browsing their afternoon’s work.

Consett Iron and Steel Works

Harewood House

Huntington History

Learning Thirsk

Railway History of Selby

Spain – The Alhambra

St Robert of Knaresborough

Thornton Abbey

Walking Tour of Horsforth

York’s Street Story

Students reading Marc Morris on Eleanor of Castile

Thanks to Henry Walton of Manor CE Academy for sharing this reading task. Students are supported to read historian Marc Morris’ account of Eleanor of Castile, wife of Edward I. There is a glossary and a worksheet to accompany the reading.

Eleanor of Castile

Eleanor of Castile – worksheet

Eleanor of Castile Glossary

Slot-ins, Most…Some…, beginning teacher subject knowledge

It’s been a busy start to the year in so many ways. One very positive way it has been busy is in the creation of resources by the University of York PGCE history students. Here are new slot-ins for pupils:

Also some more ‘Most… Some…’s (thanks to Polly Simson via the HA conference for this idea!)

And here are some nice film clips to help beginning teachers with subject knowledge. Enjoy!

GCSE Public Health using York Archives

Huge thanks to Heather Sherman, York College, for generously sharing this work using York’s city archives. Heather has put together this booklet of sources about public health in York for GCSE students.

The booklet is a teacher pack (this document: GCSE Public Health York Archives Material_Teacher Pack ) that links the research to the OCR, AQA and Edexcel GCSE History specifications. There are suggested activities/ questions to use with students to develop their thinking and link national history to a local context.

Heather has also provided a blank copy of each of the sources (separate sources) for use to design your own activities/ resource pack for students. She suggests that colleagues use any of the glossaries/ questions/ activities that she has designed when creating their own resources, or create their own, or use a mix of both. The suggested activities/ questions are not intended to be an exhaustive list and can be adapted to suit different students.

As a very experienced A level teacher, Heather also has her eye to what students may need to be able to do if they decide to carry on their history studies.

Meanwhile she … Aletta Jacobs

Aletta Jacobs was one of the first women in the Netherlands to become a doctor and opened one of the first birth control clinics for poor and working-class women in 1882. Thanks to Caitlin Sutherland, who completed her UoY PGCE in June and is about to start teaching in Uxbridge, for putting this ‘meanwhile she’ together. It will be useful for colleagues to add diversity to the part of the medicine / health through time course where Robert Koch is busy identifying bacteria. Meanwhile she Aletta Jacobs

Meanwhile, nearby… David Oluwale

Thank you to Kristian Shanks, Head of History at Sherburn School, for creating and sharing this Meanwhile, nearby about David Oluwale. David Oluwale was born in Nigeria, moved to Britain and lived in Yorkshire. He died after police brutality in Leeds in 1969. Meanwhile Nearby – The Murder of David Oluwale

Teaching JFK via sources and scholarship

Katie Buchanan, PGCE trainee at the University of York, has created these resources for A Level students learning about JFK. Each document focuses on a different part of the JFK story and uses primary source material and the work of historians with set questions to enable students to learn about the topics.

1. Why did Kennedy win the election_

2. Did Kennedy successfully forge a New Frontier_

3. What was the significance of the Berlin Wall_

4. Why did Cuba become such a hot spot_

5. How did Kennedy respond to Khrushchev’s nuclear missiles in Cuba_

6. Dragged or pushed – Why did Kennedy get involved in Vietnam_