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Passion & Independence How history prepares students to thrive Based on a lecture given at the University of Durham April 2012. History teaching with passion. What historians say about teaching: some headlines. History teaching with passion.

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Passion & Independence How history prepares students to thrive Based on a lecture given at the University of Durham April 2012

History teaching with passion

what can students get from history teaching at its best
What can students get from history teaching at its best?
  • ‘History teaching can encourage students to think about the past, or distant societies, and reflect what it might mean for both the human experience and for today. History in many ways is uniquely placed to ask the big questions societies face, and arguably to point to solutions, challenges and impacts. It crosses every aspect of human activity – from culture to the environment, to gender relations, economics, welfare, nation-building ... the list could go on.’

History teaching with passion

what can students get from history teaching at its best1
What can students get from history teaching at its best?
  • ‘They get the realisation that they are the heirs of a vastly complex and messy thing called humanity ... history gives students the understanding that humans are irrational and illogical. That is necessary in coming to grips with the horrors found in history, but it is also essential in the appreciation of great beauties, the great triumphs that we as human beings been capable of.’

History teaching with passion

what can students get from history teaching at its best2
What can students get from history teaching at its best?

‘The study of history encourages people to think critically, to refuse to accept things as they appear on the surface. It produces individuals who are aware of the complexity of issues that confront society. History graduates have a greater sense, not only of the world they live in, but how it got there. Ultimately, this can only make for better citizens.’

History teaching with passion

people with particular personal characteristics
People with particular personal characteristics

A critical spirit – weigh up diverse arguments; evaluate complex evidence fairly; recognise bias; see beyond the taken-for-granted/current fashions; read between the lines; question all information; logical approach; eye for detail/error; self-reflexive.

A sympathetic imagination – tolerance; empathy; humility in never fully knowing; sensitivity to ‘messiness’ of human life; openness to the strange and different; fair-minded; open to others’ views.

A will to learn (and keep learning) – passion; enthusiasm; excitement; wonderment and awe; intellectual curiosity; openness to new information and experience; purposeful; persistent; confident.

An independent disposition– a healthy scepticism; considered independent judgement; recognise own needs; resourceful; self-motivated; self-reliant; not beholden to theory.

History teaching with passion

complex constantly changing world
Complex constantly changing world

What jobs can history open up?

History teaching with passion


graduates changing attitudes to work life
Graduates’ Changingattitudes to work/life

Creating work for themselves

Want good work

  • Makes a difference
  • Shared values
  • Flat structures
  • Self-development
  • Ethical & sustainable operation
  • Sharing learning & working in teams
  • 46% increase in graduates starting own business
  • More from arts and humanities
  • Third of those starting businesses start social enterprises

History teaching with passion

uk history graduates from 2010

UK History Graduates from 2010

6 months following graduation

The university you attend will have a huge impact on these figures

Getting into a good university for History means showing PASSION and INDEPENDENCE

to thrive in complexity requires ability
To thrive in complexity requires ability
  • Ability to recontextualise their skills, knowledge and understanding according to the requirements of different settings & develop a frame of mind whereby they continually look to improve
    • Warwick Institute for Employment Research, Changing Patterns of Work, 2010
  • To relate to, make & maintain relationships with people at all levels, inside & outside organisations
  • Collaborate & work in teams, more than one team at once, & adjust roles in ever-shifting situation
  • Willingness to learn continually, take risks, lead & deal with change & help others to do so
  • Self-management, self-confidence & self-promotion

Harvey, New Realities, 2000

History teaching with passion

how can history help


How Can History Help?

A Level Model

University Model

Lecturer's Holiday Reading

Chief Examiner's Reading from 30 years ago

Personal reading from list - not always connected

Exam Board Specification

Discussion groups based on independent wider reading sparking interest

Teacher Planned Lessons and Notes

Essays - possibly connected to reading. Could be harder or easier than previous years

Practice Essays Based on Exam Mark Schemes

Growth as an historian

An A Level Accreditation

History teaching with passion

hgs history hybrid model
HGS History Hybrid Model

Teacher's Holiday Reading

Chief Examiner's Reading from 30 years ago

Exam Board Specification

Independent reading using library/blog

Teacher and Student led Lessons and Notes

Wider reading improving writing style

Practice Essays and Technique

An A Level Accreditation AND Growth as an Historian

History teaching with passion

‘It is impossible to predict what disciplines will be of most economic and social value in a rapidly changing world. Most of the big breakthroughs in the development of products and services these days come from collaboration among different disciplines.’

Richard Lambert, former Director of Confederation of British Industry

'You go into the humanities to pursue your intellectual passion; and it just so happens as a by-product, that you emerge as a desired commodity for industry.'Damon Horowitz, Director of Engineering, Google.

History teaching with passion


History teaching with passion


lightbulb moments
Lightbulb moments

‘Seeing the lightbulb above their heads when they understand what the study of history is all about – when they’ve made a qualitative leap.’

‘That moment when the penny drops and you can sense that a student has begun to understand the process of thinking historically.’

‘History teaching matters when it is meaningful in some way – beyond the usual skills development. Sometimes there is that flash of recognition when they see the past/their community/their own life/their future differently.’

History teaching with passion


love engagement and making a difference
Love, engagement and making a difference

‘I teach history because I love history ... In teaching it you have the sense that you are opening minds to things they never considered previously.’

‘I want to inspire an enduring love of history that lasts well-beyond the degree.’

‘I really get a kick out of seeing students develop, particularly to the point when they don’t need me anymore ... I like the fact that I can make a difference to so many lives.’

History teaching with passion


david pace teaching love of the subject http www vimeo com 23920330
David Pace – teaching & love of the subject

History teaching with passion


sean brawley connecting research teaching http www vimeo com 23920539
Sean Brawley – Connecting research & teaching

History teaching with passion


david pace i love the interaction http www vimeo com 17606410
David Pace – I love the interaction

History teaching with passion