Active Learning on

General Issues in History Teaching

This section discusses general aspects of history teaching which are not Key Stage specific.

There is no logic to the development of this section, other than that, over the years I've become interested in particular issues at particular moments – and written about them!

A More Intimate Relationship with the Past

Can researching your family history help make you a better history teacher?

Read this article summarising ten things I’ve learned from my family history since 1830 that would have been useful to me in teaching.


Ian Coulson’s ‘Handy’ Guide to Medieval Architecture

A brilliantly simple idea

… how to use the fingers of one hand to explain and remember Norman, Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular styles


2019 Ian Coulson Annual Bursary for Local History/Archaeology

The latest (2019) teaching materials from the Ian Coulson Bursary have been published, commemorating a great history teacher, colleague and friend.

These new resources provide a synoptic unit for the end of KS3 but can be adapted for other pupils.

They consist of 9 ‘snapshots’ of episodes from the history of Kent, enabling pupils to produce a piece of extended writing arguing which event had the greatest impact on the people of Kent.

For more information and a link to these free materials see HERE …

Helping Students Think about the Provenance of Sources

A couple of ideas putting analysis of the source before what it says.


Music in the History Classroom

Neil Bates enthuses about the value of music in the classroom and provides examples from his own classes.


Bringing random acts of kindness to schools and classrooms

It may not be History but this feels like a really important addition to the site – perhaps the most important of the year.


Helping students understand more about studying history

Two discussions:

• one on the broader picture of the process of studying history HERE …

• the other on helping students identify different types of history books (Updated 2019) HERE …

Flipped Learning and Independent Study – a 1970s forerunner?

A quick description of how we tried to give students more independence in A level studying – all of forty years ago.


40 Years On

What's been so compelling about history teaching? An exploration with the help of Sam’s Magic Triangle.


Using the Historic Environment

A fieldwork discussion and a case study:  

• Reviewing the use of fieldwork and trips in History courses HERE …

• Goodrich Castle – a fieldwork case study HERE …

Using Personal & Family Histories
in the Classroom

My DadA variety of suggestions for ways to use your own histories to motivate students and deepen their understandings.


Open Evenings

So how do you make History attractive to Year 6 children looking round your school? Here's one idea that certainly fits the bill in ‘Capturing Imagination’


Help for Non-UK Readers

Help for non-UK readers – a translation of English educational terms in use on this website


And also …

Other general issues which you can find via the navigation tabs at the top of every webpage are:

Chronological Understanding

Raising Attainment

Teaching Medieval History in Schools


Planning Issues at KS3


Top of the page

This Section

Are All History Books the Same? Updated 2019

Relationship With The Past

Flipped Learning & Independent Study

Helping Students with Provenance

40 Years On

Ian Coulson Bursary: Resources

Coulson's 'Handy' Guide

Music in the Classroom

Fieldwork Review

Fieldwork Case Study

Using Family & Personal Histories

Random Acts of Kindness

Open Evenings – Capturing Imagination

Help for non-UK Readers


And …

Other general issues which you can find via the navigation tabs at the top of every page:

Chronological Understanding

Raising Attainment

Teaching Medieval History in Schools

Published Articles

Planning Issues at KS3


And …

Browse the old diary entries HERE…