What role does a ‘sense of place’ play in pupils’ ability to construct large-scale historical narratives? An investigation into the ability of Year 9 pupils to narrate the history of the Cambridgeshire Fens

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Mellor, Joshua
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‘Sense of place’ is a concept whose currency is growing in history teaching, but whose elements and purpose remain elusive. Drawing on cultural geography, environmental history and work in history education around world-building and narrative, this paper documents an explorative case study that aimed to examine the role that building a ‘sense of place’ might play in pupils’ historical learning. The case study centred around a five- lesson enquiry in which Year 9 pupils explored the story of the Cambridgeshire Fens since c.1600. The paper argues that a ‘sense of place’ can be framed as a tool which supports historical thinking or as a constitutive element of historical thinking itself. Considering this choice can help teachers to determine the types of knowledge that pupils need in order to build a ‘sense of place’, and how such knowledge can be built.
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PGCE Secondary History
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