Teaching historical enquiry at Key Stage 4

Some of the best GCSE lessons I have ever seen have been enquiry-led where students have been given a little more scope to raise their own questions, research independently and write up their findings in creative ways. Before coursework became so formulaic, there were excellent examples of students showing how they could think and write as historians. What I hope to do in this section is to offer you a few differently focused enquiries in the hope that they will stimulate better ideas of your own.

Cameo 1: Transportation

Students following the SHP Crime and Punishment course were asked whether they thought that transportation acted as an effective deterrent.  In order to answer this question they first had to decide what information they might need.  They also needed to raise further questions of their own and to work independently through sources which were supplied on demand.  They were not given the sources or the questions to ask. To start with they needed a little guidance but they soon got into their stride. The teacher was kept busy drip feeding in gobbets of information, but only in answer to specific questions.  Students were not allowed to ask for more information. They

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