Editorial

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Practical Histories

Welcome

We have a firm view that there are thousands of brilliant history teachers in the UK who inspire young people daily to think deeply about our glorious subject. You are working, often individually, in challenging circumstances doing an amazing job to help your pupils to engage in what Sam Wineburg called the “unnatural act” of historical thinking.

Welcome to practicalhistories.com We are a new, exciting, free resource to help inspire your reading and offer practical ideas for you to try out in your own classrooms. Most importantly we are your voice and your platform to share your best practice.

Who’s who in this edition?

Sharing their work in this first offering of practicalhistories.com, we have a number of outstanding history practitioners who have kindly given up their valuable time to inspire you.

Dale Banham, history teacher, author, deputy head and all-round good guy has written a brilliant piece on The Power of Stories. Dale explains how storytelling can be used on a whole host of levels to help your pupils make progress. This is really important stuff and Dale provides us with a timely reminder of how we should be engaging and inspiring our students to think hard about the past.

Mike Maddison, Ofsted’s ex-history lead, knows a thing or two about history teaching. He distills his wealth of experience from a multitude of inspection visits, into 10 Important Things to Remember when History Teaching. Clearly, a must-read for all of us.

Elena Stevens, a brilliant practitioner based at St Phillip Howard’s School in Barnham explains her rationale and approach to planning a unit on African history. By focusing on alternative sources and artefacts, Elena’s rationale is to provide an engaging, accessible, challenging and thought-provoking unit of work for Year 8. She promotes the idea of teaching high-quality history based on historical scholarship throughout.

Liam Hall, Head of History at Summerhill School, Kingswinford, also uses plenty of historical scholarship with his pupils. Liam enthuses about The Importance and Power of Teacher Talk in the arsenal of the effective teacher. He writes about how it is often the ‘intangibles’ that separate the good from the great teachers.

Meanwhile, Lindsay Bruce discusses the history teachers’ role in teaching literacy. Lindsay outlines the issues or barriers we face before providing you with a whole host of practical ideas that you could adopt and use in your own classrooms.

As well as these excellent articles, Katrina Shearman (Head of History) and James Beaver, (Newly Qualified Teacher) reflect on their first term in this “new normal” of teaching during the Covid-19 pandemic. And, one of us two editors explains our ‘Where in History‘. The historical event, time or era that we would have liked to witness.

What’s next?

We really hope you enjoy this new free resource. AND we hope that you are inspired to get involved to read more, to comment on the articles and to share your practice … and even write for us.

If you do have an idea about an article or a short reflection please visit our Write for us page and fill out the form. Or you can email us at: editors@practicalhistories.com

Richard McFahn and Aaron Wilkes

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