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An investigation into the role of language in the teaching and learning of history

By Susheela Curtis


... there is a danger that written work in history becomes simply transactional, in response to questions, rather than a vehicle for the development of thinking about people in the past... (Husbands, 1996, p.6) The premise of the research is that learning is enhanced by explicitly teaching pupils how to use specific vocabulary and structures of language which reflect patterns of thinking related to learning history. Hence this research focuses on exploring scaffolding strategies to enhance pupils’ understanding of the analytical nature of history and to move them away from recounting information towards more discursive and critical writing (See Case Studies). The early chapters explore how my working context led me to this research: this includes, the context in which I worked and the language and learning theories which informed my work. They also explain the reasons why Action Research was the most appropriate method. Chapter 4,‘The Preface’ describes the processes of learning pupils were guided through, and the ‘Case Studies’ provide concrete examples of the hierarchy of activities and an examination of the resulting pupils’ texts. They also demonstrate the Acton Research cycle. The final chapter defends the thesis as the lived experience of a teacher who attempted to make a difference.. The Appendices 1-5 give further examples of pupil’s texts relating to most of the case studies and Appendix 6 provides some evidence to support the final chapter. The ‘data’/material on which this thesis is based was collected by 2000, hence documents, books, reports referred to have largely been pre 2000

Topics: LB Theory and practice of education
Year: 2010
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  10. (1979). Working in history classrooms I observed that not just pupils with EAL, but many other pupils found the language demands of school subjects hard to meet. Hence even today the slogan of the Bullock Report ‘All teachers are language teachers’

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