Medium-Term Planning Part 2: getting the question right

Clio et cetera

A brief browse through the pages of Teaching History from the last decade will show that one of the things that troubles history teachers most is ‘what is the right question to ask?’ I am not talking here about the day-to-day questions that history teachers use in all their rich variety in lessons. Instead, I am focusing here on getting the question right in terms of medium-term planning, by which I mean ‘what should the overarching question be for this scheme of work?’ For those who are new to the idea of an enquiry question, a good place to start is Michael Riley’s article in Teaching History 99 (2000). Riley wrote about how an ‘enquiry question’ (which incidentally is nothing to do with ‘independent enquiry’) can give focus to a sequence of lessons where, over the course of those lessons, pupils learn the knowledge they need to address the question…

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