Solving the history textbook conundrum: a five-point manifesto

Clio et cetera

There’s been a bit of chat recently on Twitter about the use of textbooks in lessons. In history, this is part of a wider debate that has been going on for some years. You can read a decent review of the literature on this here, and it is worth noting that England is relatively unusual in not making much use of textbooks in history lessons. Debates around textbooks usually come down to the same tired old arguments. Some of these arguments are about teaching methods: it is not uncommon to hear that reading textbooks is dry and dull, and not something that will inspire children about the past. Whilst I have some sympathy for the children who have been on the receiving end of dull textbook lessons, I do not think this is an argument for not reading in history lessons: reading is so central to what historians do…

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