‘Knowledge’ Organisers in History

Goldilocks History

Recent writing on knowledge organisers has got me thinking. I find their name somewhat perplexing, and the discussions on their use too simplistic.

The first thing that strikes me is that we need to be flexible with their use. I also believe that teachers are, and that critics like Sue Cowley, fail to understand their nuances.  These are not given to students as before teaching, and students asked to memorise them out of context. My standard practice is, however, to give them to students before teaching commences. The process of constructing the documents is valuable, in pinning down precisely what I want all students to know, as recommended by Joe Kirby. Students are asked to learn them before the teaching but this is not to strip the teaching of its wonder. Quite the contrary. When students spend less time remembering who a historical figure is, they are able…

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