Getting past gobbets: creating well-read pupils in history

Clio et cetera

Pause, for a moment, and think back to your own school days, however distant those may be. Think back to your English Literature lessons, and see if you can produce a quick list of the works of literature that you read. I cannot remember everything, but I do remember quite a bit: Romeo and Juliet, the Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, A View from the Bridge, the Crucible, Gulliver’s Travels, the Wife of Bath, Simon Armitage, Benjamin Zephaniah, Goodnight Mr Tom, Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH…

Now think back to your history lessons. What were the great texts that you read? You can probably name some that you encountered. Perhaps Domesday? Remember Orderic Vitalis? Perhaps a few speeches: Elizabeth, Charles I, Martin Luther King, President Kennedy? But in what form did you encounter these? My hunch is that in most cases these texts are encountered in a nice square…

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