Educating young adults and being able to inspire them to share your passion for a particular subject is one of the main reasons why people choose to train as a Secondary teacher. Imagination is crucial, as is the need for patience and the ability to develop and sustain excellent relationships with pupils, communicating clearly with them and breaking down complicated concepts into manageable building blocks for learning.
This PGCE will equip you with a range of academic, professional and vocational knowledge, understanding, skills and values necessary to become a high quality and effective teacher of History
The programme aims to develop reflective and analytical skills as well as providing practical experience in planning effective lessons, helping pupils to learn, and effective teaching and learning strategies.
Your Launchpad sessions
The Faculty of Education have organised a number of virtual Launchpad sessions. Although not all of these sessions will be relevant to your specific degree, you may find a number of these sessions useful.
Subject knowledge audit
Please complete the Subject Knowledge Audit and bring it with you for your first teaching session in September – don’t worry if there are lots of gaps! You are encouraged however to start enhancing your subject knowledge, especially on Medieval and Early Modern Histories.
Getting to know the curriculum
Download copies of these key documents:
- The National Curriculum for History (for teaching from Sept 2014)
- The Historical Associations’ Guide to Progression in History under the 2014 National Curriculum
- Ofsted 2021 Research Report [History]
After reading these three documents, please write up to two sides of A4 in answer to the following questions:
- How would you summarise the key aims of school History as set out in these documents?
- What understanding of the nature and purpose of History do you feel underpins these aims?
- To what extent do the visions of History in these documents cohere with your own?
Use the search feature on the HA website to find the “information” pages on the following key terms. Write your own definitions of them. You should bring these definitions with you in September.
- Substantive knowledge and substantive concepts
- Second Order concepts
- Causation; similarity & difference; significance; interpretations; change & continuity
Now is a good time to develop your knowledge further. Here are some suggested websites to visit:
Subject (content) knowledge reading
For filling in any specific gaps in your subject knowledge of key periods, the Oxford Very Short Introductions series are a good place to start, as are the Hodder and Stoughton Access to History series. The Historical Associations’ podcasts are also invaluable.
1. Pick an overview book on the history of Britain (or England if you cannot find one you like on the whole of the Isles). If you are stuck on what to choose, Simon Schama and Michael Wood both have useful and very readable overview books. David Olusoga’s “Black and British” is also well worth a read!
2. Read your chosen book. As you read keep notes on:
- Interesting stories which would get pupils interested
- Themes and links which run over time
- Key people and events you didn’t already have knowledge of
3. Prepare a summary (1-2 pages of A4) in which you outline the big story (stories?) of the development of Britain according to your book ie. What is the story of Britain according to Schama, Wood, or Olusoga?
Target your own areas of weakness in subject knowledge around KS3. Don’t forget you can go beyond the limits of the National Curriculum too! Make use of the following to get you started:
- Statutory documents including The National Curriculum Programmes of Study and GCSE Subject Content
- Key Stage 3 textbooks – these can often be bought cheaply online or can be accessed digitally for a limited time for free. Hodder Education offer a good range of books.
- Extended reading books
- Specialist podcasts – the Historical Association offers a range of targeted podcasts related to the curriculum. For more specialist podcasts you might also like to try more specialist podcasts like “You’re Dead to Me”, “In Our Time”, or “The History of England”.
Rather than just reading about subject knowledge you should aim to do tasks which will embed your understanding. This might include:
- Creating concept charts or maps
- Creating timelines and overviews
- Creating written summaries or narratives of key periods
- Answering exam questions on a topic area and using mark schemes to check your work
- Completing textbook questions from your chosen textbooks
- Anything else you find helpful
Join the Historical Association
If you haven’t already joined the Historical Association then this is highly recommended. We are particularly interested in their journal Teaching History, that covers both theory and practice in addition to subject knowledge development.Join the Historical Association
Join the Chartered College
You should also sign up to join the Chartered College of Teaching (this is free!)Join the Chartered College of Teaching
Suggested reading for ‘Preparing to Teach’
This list is not exhaustive, however it will allow you to choose the books/articles/documents to read in relation to your programme. Please note, we do not recommend rushing out to buy texts before you arrive, however you may be able to find some second hand or online.
Teaching history in secondary schools:
You will receive an extensive reading list when you begin the course. In the meantime, you might want to consider reading the following on teaching history in secondary schools:
- Kitson, A. and Husbands, C., (2011) Teaching and Learning History 11-18, OUP: Maidenhead
- Haydn, T. (ed), (2008) Learning to Teach History in the Secondary School, Routledge: London
- Counsell, C. (ed), (2016) MasterClass in History Education: Transforming Teaching and Learning Bloomsbury: London
- Cannadine, D., Keating, J. & Sheldon, N. (2011) The Right Kind of History, Palgrave Macmillan: London
- Davies, I. (ed) (2017) Debates in History Teaching, Routledge: London
Educational matters in the secondary sector
Have a read through of the following key areas and, if possible, make your own notes about what you are reading and your thinking as it emerges. Do remember you may question what you are reading – i.e. you can engage critically with the material here.
Specialist Educational Needs in mainstream schools (SEND)
Tackling educational disadvantage
- Chris Kyriacou’s Essential Teaching Skills (2014 Edn), and Effective Teaching in Schools (2009) ISBN 0-7487-2888-0, published Oxford: Oxford UP
Use the boxes below to find a list of suggested documentaries to watch:
- Sword, Musket & Machine Gun (BBC)
- Beyond the Walls: In Search of Celts (BBC)
- Inside the Medieval Mind (BBC)
- King Alfred and the Anglo Saxons (BBC)
- Pompeii: New secrets revealed with Mary Beard (BBC)
- Britain’s Viking Graveyard (4OD)
- The Celts (4OD)
- Britain AD: King Arthur’s Britain (4OD)
- Secrets of Great British Castles Episode 1: Netflix (Subscription required)
- Warrior Women Amazon Prime (Subscription required)
- England’s Forgotten Queen: The Life and Death of Lady Jane Grey (BBC)
- Six Wives of Henry VIII (4OD)
- Gunpowder, Treason and Plot (4OD)
- Who killed Malcolm X? Episode 1: Netflix (Subscription Required)
- The English Civil War A Nation Divided. Amazon Prime (Subscription required)