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English history teachers’ views on what substantive content young people should be taught

Harris, R. and Burn, K. (2016) English history teachers’ views on what substantive content young people should be taught. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 48 (4). pp. 518-546. ISSN 1366-5839

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/00220272.2015.1122091

Abstract/Summary

Public and policy discourse about the content of history curricula is frequently contested, but the voice of history teachers is often absent from such debate. Drawing on a large scale on-line survey of history teachers in England, this paper explores their responses to major curriculum reforms proposed by the Coalition government in February 2013. In particular it examines teachers' responses to government plans to prescribe a list of topics, events and individuals to be taught chronologically that all students would be expected to study. Nearly 550 teachers responded to the survey, and more than two-thirds of them provided additional written comments on the curriculum proposals. This paper examines these comments, with reference to a range of curriculum models. The study reveals a deep antagonism towards the proposals for various reasons, including concerns about the extent and nature of the substantive content proposed and the way in which it should be sequenced. Analysis of these reactions provides an illuminating insight into history teachers’ perspectives. While the rationales that underpin their thinking seem to have connections to a variety of different theoretical models, the analysis suggests that more attention could usefully be devoted to the idea of developing frameworks of reference.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Improving Equity and Inclusion through Education
ID Code:49559
Uncontrolled Keywords:history education; curriculum; history curriculum; secondary school curriculum
Publisher:Taylor & Francis

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