What to look for in excellent history lessons: Your starter for 12

It has been a while since OFSTED published any revised criteria. With the departure of chief history HMI Mike Maddison in 2014-5, I doubt very much that there will be any new guidance in the near future. Even if there was, I doubt if it would differ greatly from its predecessor which said this about OUTSTANDING history teaching:
Teachers’ practice is informed by excellent knowledge of continuing developments in teaching and learning in history.

  • They routinely promote rigorous historical thinking.
  • Teachers communicate their passion for history and consistently challenge and inspire pupils to produce the best work they can.
  • History is very skilfully presented as a dynamic and organic subject to be explored and investigated rather than as a subject to be received. As a result, pupils approach historical enquiries as keen and skilled investigators.
  • Teaching makes pupils alive to changing views of the past and helps them to understand how and why interpretations and representations change over time.
  • As a result, lessons are exciting and often innovative.

Lists such as this are only useful up to a point.  They do highlight what is characteristically present in lessons judged as outstanding, but much depends on how these different ingredients

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