The advent of the new GCSE history specifications for first teaching in September 2016 has forced us to consider how we help students to develop chronological understanding over different time scales, be it a thousand years of a development study or 200 years of a period study. This will be a new departure for many current Modern World teachers, but I’m sure we’ll all rise to the challenge.
With the growing emphasis now placed on chronological understanding at Key Stage 3, it should not be long before we see the benefits at Key Stage 4. In the meantime, we can easily start increasing our repertoire of techniques and strategies for our GCSE students. . Both the International Relations sections of the Modern World courses and the Line of Development studies within SHP demand a really secure grasp of chronology in order to make judgements about progress and regress, and to explain the relative importance of events.
Strategies for developing an understanding of chronology
- Sequencing event cards on the table top, then spacing them out to show the interval between events. Always useful if done before studying a cartoon or photograph so that students are aware of, and use contextual information