Modern answers;Reviews;History;Primary;Books

10th April 1998 at 01:00
LEARNING TO TEACH HISTORY IN THE SECONDARY SCHOOL. T Haydn, J Arthur, M Hunt. Routledge. pound;14.99.

This is an excellent companion to Learning to Teach in a Secondary School, and is one of a series updated to meet the new DFEE standards for Qualified Teacher Status, which will eventually cover all national curriculum subjects.

Quite rightly, it starts with a thoughtful chapter on "Why teach history?" and points out that in an era of spin doctors, media manipulation and sound-bite politics there are newly important answers to that question.

Another chapter deals sensibly but not uncritically with the requirements and limitations of the national curriculum. A major central section offers down-to-earth and positive advice on how to plan objectives and strategies in the context of the ever difficult key elements of that curriculum; the development of chronological awareness and historical understanding and of historical interpretation, enquiry and analysis.

There are particularly valuable chapters on IT and historical resources, special needs, assessment and external examinations. And, last but not least, there is guidance on the application and interview for that all-important first teaching post - and a book list.

Throughout, the emphasis is on the sort of teaching that produces both enjoyment and learning. There is no room here for that still too common staple diet of worksheets and word searches - nor for the Black-adder episode, saved for a wet Friday with 9Z. With this beside you, though, you wouldn't need either. It's full of good ideas and better advice.

If there is a reservation, it is perhaps that history as narrative - history, literally, as story - is underweighted. But that is hardly the authors' fault. Their book is valuable. Mentors will certainly want to use it, and so, I'm sure, will the rest of the history department.

Make sure they buy one, and keep your copy under lock and key.

Next: Learning to teach primary science

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