In addition to thinking of imaginative and motivating activities for our lessons, it is often helpful to think about the roles give to pupils. Dorothy Heathcotes’ excellent work on the Mantle of the Expert convinced me that pupils often do their best work when given a specific role which makes the feel more powerful, rather than simply a school pupil. For that reason, I have listed the 20 or so examples I have seen over the past 18 years where pupils have been given an important role to play. The list is not exhaustive and you will soon find other contexts than the ones provided.
20 different roles for learners in history
1. Press officer (offering explanation that does not reflect badly on the client e.g. William the Conqueror after the ‘Harrying of the North’, or claims for the throne after the death of Edward the Confessor)
2. Forensic scientist (death of Harold, murder of the Russian royal family etc))
3. Archaeologist (looking at the evidence of the Black Death’s effects on villages)
4. Lawyer (defending Mary Tudor)
5. Archivist (looking at the details of the cahiers de doleances prior to the French Revolution, or studying papers producing by abolitionists