“History is about time and the evidence that has survived. Historians need to work with this evidence and ask questions of it in order to develop substantive knowledge. In so doing they construct meaning through identifying change and continuity, causes and consequences, and the significance of past events. This process is on going and dynamic and results in the continued evolution and emergence of interpretations of the past. History teachers have a duty to unravel this process for young developing minds so that they may begin to understand and engage with developing the mantel of the expert”
What are Threshold Concepts
Engagement with the debate over Threshold Concepts has the potential to help us with reflection on the history curriculum offer and answer some questions with a view to developing History department pedagogy. Threshold Concepts are the BIG IDEAS that will help students develop a deeper understanding of what it is that historians do so that they can then begin applying these rigorous thinking tools to the various areas of historical topics they encounter in their journey through the school history curriculum.
They are not meant to be instantly understood. Once opened, they introduce students to troublesome knowledge; a new way of seeing the subject and specific topic they are studying. As students become more confident, working their way across the thresholds difficulties, it is anticipated that they will begin to recognise and understand these big ideas and recognise links and connections across the Key Stages. It is further anticipated that they will become useful in helping them think hard about what they are doing, whether that's reading analysing historical sources and interpretations or writing their own responses using their developing understanding of chronology, historical substantive concepts and histories second order concepts.
TC #1 Chronology
TC #2 Substantive Knowledge
TC #3 Cause and Consequence
TC #4 Change and Continuity
TC #5 Similarity and Difference
TC #6 Significance
TC #7 Evidential Enquiry
TC #8 Interpretations