6 signs to look for to show your pupils are becoming historically literate

1. Understanding how it is possible to know about the past

Pupils show an understanding of how it is possible to know about the past, even though there is no one alive today who has experienced it.

2. Understanding that peoples’s claims about  the past can be tested

They start to show an understanding of how people’s claims about what happened in the past can be tested. They can prove that statements are true by reference to evidence. They also grasp that the discovery of the truth requires imaginative reconstruction and interpretation.

3. Showing respect for evidence and concern for the truth

They show a respect for evidence, a concern for the truth and for valid argument, not mere assertion.

4. Awareness of multiple versions of the past

They begin to understand that there are multiple versions of the past, and are aware that the past is not simply ‘dead and gone’ but continually being re-interpreted. History is an unending search for the truth with the only certainty that there will be more to be said and that before long, others will say it.

5. Building a picture of the past

They show signs of building up a picture of

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