The latest book in the 100 Ideas series from Bloomsbury Publishing is on Outstanding History Lessons by Emily Thomas. In effect, this is a rewrite of the Julia Murphy title published by Continuum Press in 2004. However, this is a substantial improvement on the previous titile as this is a more thorough and detailed coverage of relevant history teaching techniques and gives many links (including from this blog) to further thinking and resources.
The book is logically structured, covering such areas as the role of evidence, teaching big concepts, revision, learning key information and setting creative tasks. Such a structure makes locating information and ideas simply and with ease. The material draws heavily on the work of cutting edge teachers, such as those found on Twitter, as well as Emily’s colleagues and people who she works closely with. Consequently, there are many great teachers referenced here which provides the reader an excellent list of people to research and draw further ideas from. Tweachers, further reading and blogs used to write the book are all listed and provides a superb reference point for further research.
The book is a mix of tried and tested Ideas which would be particularly useful to NQTs and trainee teachers, ideas which are developed and given a different twist as well as original ideas which can be applied to not only history topics but many other subjects as well. Particularly shining highlights include Idea 5 – Causal Equations, Idea 23 – The Selfie Portrait and Idea 9 – The Significance Tournament. All these ideas, I will adapt and try out in my lessons in the next few weeks.
This is a bumper time for History teachers in terms for subject specific teaching and learning books with Russel Tarr’s excellent A History Teacher’s Toolkit: Practical Classroom Strategies. Emily Thomas has produced an excellent title that compliments Tarr’s book and can add new ideas as well as revitalise more established ones to any history teacher’s armoury. Highly recommended!