Life and times of The Trouserer

1st December 1995 at 00:00
REFORMATION AND COUNTER REFORMATION By Carol White Longman A Sense of History series. Pounds 5.25. - 0 582 08256 0.

EXPANSION, TRADE AND INDUSTRY By Christopher Culpin Collins Living History series Pounds 7.25. - 0 00 327253 2. Teacher's Notes Pounds 9.50. - 0 00 327283 4

FROM WORKSHOP TO EMPIRE, BRITAIN 1750-1900 By Hamish Macdonald Stanley Thornes Key History for Key Stage 3 series Pounds 5.99. - 0 7487 1931 8 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY WORLD By Neil DeMarco and Richard Radway Stanley Thornes Key History for Key Stage 3 series Pounds 5.99. - 0 7487 1932 6 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY WORLD By Josh Brooman Longman Pounds 4.99. - 0 582 24975 9. Teacher's book Pounds 15.99 + VAT - 0 582 24976 7. THE ERA OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR Teacher's Notes Collins Living History Pounds 4.20. - 0 00 327284 2. EXPANSION, TRADE AND INDUSTRY TEACHING HANDBOOK Longman A Sense of History series Pounds 8.99. - 0 582 08933 6

SOCIETIES IN CHANGE TEACHER'S RESOURCE BOOK SHP John Murray Pounds 19. 99. - 0 7195 7041 7 PEACE WAR TEACHERS' RESOURCE BOOK SHP John Murray Pounds 19.99. - 0 7195 7042 5

Mark Williamson reviews a selection of new and revised textbooks and teacher's resource books spanning lower secondary studies.

For history teachers everywhere Christmas has come a little early. Carol White's Reformation and Counter Reformation shows that source-based and narrative are not incompatible and that there are gifted textbook writers around who can write serious history for teenagers without condescension or impenetrability.

The story itself is carefully crafted and meticulously chronological with the key players from Rodrigo Borgia to St Teresa of Avila entering on cue, but there are refreshing and important perspectives as well as full coverage of the doctrinal and political issues. There is a distinct emphasis on social and economic factors such as pluralism, church taxation and, not least, the personalities of the individuals involved - the catalogue of vices in "How corrupt and sinful were the leaders of the Church in 1500?" (page 8) is a potent appetiser. Art is also highlighted as the commonly accessible medium by which ideas were communicated. Medieval views of the saved and damned were used to set the scene and throughout the text paintings, woodcuts and sculptures exemplify the various theological viewpoints. There is a useful summary chapter on Reformation Art. Even Michelangelo did not escape the rigours of Caraffa's counter-measures; another painter, Daniel of Volterra, earned the nickname of The Trouserer by painting clothes on naked figures.

Questions encourage pupils to interrogate the evidence and review and assessment pages at the end of each chapter test pupils' abilities to use primary and secondary sources, consider contrasting evidence and demonstrate knowledge and understanding in essay form.

Clarity and accessibility are features long associated with the popular Collins Living History series and Christopher Culpin's pre-Dearing Expansion, Trade and Industry, accompanied by a post-Dearing set of teacher's notes, maintains the standard. An introductory timeline, colour-coded for each monarch, gives an overview of developments from the opening of the Bridgewater canal in 1761 to the Diamond Jubilee; by contrast the scale and intricacy of the symbols on an adjacent map showing the occupations of workers diminish its usefulness.

The aim of each of the five units provides both a summary of the content and continuity with the previous units. Each unit is sharply focused; the unit on transport traces developments from the age of the packhorse to the express trains of the late Victorian period with sections on the great roadbuilders, stagecoaches and canals. Visual sources invite pupils to compare the reality of canal life ("I married a boat girl, a real woman she was in her way, stronger than a horse") with its romance. The age of slavery, child labour and the growth of the trade unions generates much material for collaborative work and teachers will find suggestions for such activities helpfully detailed. Indispensable teacher's notes show how the unit can be structured for the required overview and depth studies and offer examples of "pathway suggestions" focusing on people's lives, popular resistance, technology and local study. A planning grid incorporates key concepts and identifies where in the assessment tasks key elements 2, 3 and 4, which require specific targeting, are to be found. A valuable chapter relates each unit to IT and, as is always the case with this established series, practical teaching suggestions show optimum use of the material provided.

An innovative fold-out reference guide emerges from the new Key History for Key Stage 3 titles from Stanley Thornes. The guide includes timelines, definitions of terms and, in From Workshop to Empire, Britain 1750-1900, a step-by-step guide to the evaluation of sources. By folding out the card pupils can use the questions as an aide-memoire. One hopes its durability will not be in question after a year or so of regular use.

Key points appear as "Remember" boxes on most pages in these substantial texts with accompanying explanations of key words. This level of support is necessary because topics are fully exploited and depth studies are precisely what they claim to be; the study of Nelson's navy and Wellington's army includes detailed battle plans of Trafalgar and Waterloo as well as a comparison of careers. Arkwright and Brunel and, inevitably, Gladstone and Disraeli are also offered up for scrutiny among depth studies which include one on local sources - history around us - and one on women. In The Twentieth Century World three major depth studies are provided on the Western Front, National Socialist Germany and the soldier's experience in the two world wars with additional opportunities to undertake work on the Holocaust, the atom bomb and the end of empire. Both titles show the myriad opportunities that are to be discovered in the new Order to be responsive to pupils' and teachers' interests and to pursue history at a level of fine detail using largely primary sources.

This is a series written for young historians and pupils who engage with these texts are unlikely to drop the subject in key stage 4. Teachers' guides are available.

The free choice of depth studies which should avoid any possible duplication with GCSE courses is one of the features of the new Order highlighted in Josh Brooman's completely up-to-date handbook for his The Twentieth Century World (Longman). He calculates that, using Dearing's yardstick of 45 hours a year for each foundation subject, pupils should be receiving about 1.28 hours of history each week and roughly 17.5 weeks or 22.4 hours of teaching for each unit.

In a comprehensive survey of the post-Dearing world he recommends the development of individual portfolios for assessment purposes and offers three detailed plans showing how the study unit can be delivered for schools with different patterns of organisation; for each lesson the key elements are identified.

Such detailed planning, which is based on an adaptable model, is assisted by the author's approach through a series of sharply-focused topics mainly in the form of questions - Who were the Nazis? How did Hitler become a dictator? What was life like in Nazi Germany? Brooman does not expect pupils to study all 112 pages and it is unlikely that there would be time for the three depth studies. Without returning to an unrelieved diet of double-page spreads, Longman has put together a highly illustrated broad ability course which can be easily restructured for almost any timetable.

In coming to terms with the new Order, most publishers are adopting the pragmatic solution. Collins, Longman and SHP (John Murray) have each brought out revised teacher's handbooks for the study units that remain with new material on such matters as overview and depth and the changes to assessment. There is a general recognition that, since the key elements incorporate the competencies that previously took the form of attainment targets, assessment activities in the pupils' books remain valid. Different publishers face different challenges. Whereas SHP may have to make minimal changes and a handbook such as the one accompanying Longman's Expansion, Trade and Industry can respond by offering alternative routes using existing material, a text such as Collins's The Era of the Second World War cannot adequately source the new study unit 4 merely through the addition of four new copy sheets to the teacher's notes. At the sharp end, massive curriculum change becomes a messy business, but the common bond between publishers and teachers which is essential in times of adversity seems to be as strong as ever.

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