Teaching interpretations in history at Key Stage 1

For many teachers of infants, interpretations is the hardest of all the ideas to get across.  It is an abstract idea that can easily confuse, rather than clarify, if we are not careful.  It means that people looking back on the past tend to see it differently. Sometimes this is because the medium used, e.g. TV wants to tell the story differently for a particular reason e.g. dramatic effect, or there may be people who want to present characters in a particular light.  A museum to commemorate Florence Nightingale’s nursing achievement is hardly likely to be damning.

I remember one of the best teacher educators you would ever wish to find, Dr Mike Riley, offering an anecdote to infant teachers which sums the concept up beautifully.  Mike read a class of  KS1 children the story of Orphan Mary, about a Victorian mill girl who injured her finger in the moving machinery of a  weaving shed.  The story ended happily enough, but one girl wasn’t happy.  “That’s rubbish!” she protested, she would have been hurt far worse than that!  She would have lost her hair or her arm!  Mike then asked the girl why the author of the story had chosen

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