The essence of what appeals to pupils can often be summed up by the words, People, Puzzle and Point. Children engage best if there is human interest . They like to feel that history is a bit of a mystery so a puzzling starter is key. We need to remember at the same time, that some children find too much uncertainty bewildering and unsatisfying. They want to know ‘the answer’. None of you will need reminding of the motivational power of big colour pictures, crammed with detail or of the magic of handling 100 year-old objects.
What motivates juniors in history ?
Most pupils are engaged by the following:
1. Stories. At Key Stage 2 this can also include stories set in the past or using vocabulary to mark the passing of time.
2. Looking at people and what they did. Many lessons can be made much more exciting just by personalising the content, to prevent history always being third person, passive voice.
3. Sensationalising the content, without distorting. Putting an event in a real context and then finding a part of the story with real ‘pupil appeal’ is the key here.
4. Lessons that exploit pupils’ fascination