Although many aspects of the Key Stage 3 strategy have not necessarily placed the emphasis where I would have liked for history, I think that the two aspects of Thinking Skills and AfL have certainly led to improvement. It is easy to think that most of what has been presented is fairly old hat, but this renewed focus has had the effect of producing many more examples of high quality classroom activities which can now be shared. With most schools confidently talking about living graphs and history mysteries it has become much easier to discuss the teaching and learning process using shorthand phrases that are commonly understood. What follows here is less theory and more practical examples of what has worked in classrooms. You will not be surprised to find a strong correlation with the Outstanding Lessons, many of which feature these approaches.
Thinking skills in a nutshell
A simple diagram (see downloadable resources) reminds us of the key areas to focus on. This will need little explanation. What it does not show is the theory behind ways of using different thinking skills techniques and the focus on metacognition. For the former, have a look at the file called 8