article ‘an inspiration’ to teaching and learning at Concord

Monday September 17, 2018

A Concord teacher has had her research article published in ‘Teaching History’ – the secondary education journal of The Historical Association. Head of History, Dr Danielle Donaldson, started her research during her teacher training at Sawston Village College – a comprehensive school in Cambridgeshire, and hopes that it will ‘aid teaching and learning strategies’ at Concord. The article, published this summer, ‘Through the Looking Glass’ seeks to explore how pupils’ substantive historical knowledge informs the language and analysis of change and continuity. It also explores relationships such as pupils’ understanding of change through time, and the interconnection between verbs, knowledge and concepts. Explaining the importance of teacher research, Dr Donaldson said: “Teacher research provides the motivation for teachers to stay current with professional development and curriculum debates within their subject. “It enables teachers to stay at the “cutting edge” of their profession and have a wider pool of resources to draw upon for challenging and inspiring students.” Dr Donaldson’s research suggests that extended writing on change and continuity should comprise a synthesis that can either be ‘thick description’ or non-chronological narrative or historical argument. When asked about the inspiration behind the work, Dr Donaldson said: “My project was inspired by the links between English language and Historical knowledge. We often think of these as separate areas of academic study, but language is integral to how we communicate complex ideas. “My research showed that it works both ways – the quality of your English language can betray weaknesses in Historical knowledge and understanding. “In Concord, I notice and focus on similar patterns. As a result, I have integrated more strategies to help students recall knowledge and concepts before tackling historical arguments or sources.” The article is available to read online (with a subscription) at the Historical Association website, in the journal of Teaching History: