This short task puts pupils in the role of spin doctors who have to ‘big up’ the reputation of Richard the Lionheart. There is a lobby of people who feel that his statue outside the Houses of Parliament should be replaced with a more suitable monarch. Pupils have to refute the criticisms levelled against Richard, first by analysing how Professor Gillingham and another historian do it very succinctly, before having a go on their own. The emphasis is on how to refute, not simply reject arguments – a skill for life.
The PowerPoint talks you through the various stages which are:
- – looking at the evidence against Richard.
- – looking at what might be said in his favour.
- – analysing how historians set about turning criticism into praise. This is the key part as pupils are introduced to historians’ clever devices and have good practice modelled before attempting their own short analysis.
Set up the challenge. In this age of protests about statues a group of activists is campaigning for Richard I’s statue outside of the Houses of Parliament to be removed. The students’ job is to launch a reasoned case for keeping it.