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Whose (hi)stories? A study of the challenges facing trainee teachers in the teaching of hidden and marginalised Histories in the History curriculum

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posted on 08.07.2022, 09:11 authored by Rhonwen Bruce-Roberts

This research aims to explore the challenges faced by trainee teachers studying a PGCE in Secondary (Hi)story (11-16) in teaching a diverse (Hi)story curriculum that is fully inclusive of hidden and marginalised (hi)stories. The research also examines the trainees’ perceptions of the strategies implemented on the PGCE course and assess the impact this had on their own understandings and practice. The data for this research paper is based on questionnaires completed by a total of ten postgraduate students enrolled onto the PGCE Secondary (Hi)story with QTS course. The foci of the questionnaires are to identify the key issues surrounding a diverse (Hi)story curriculum; an exploration of pedagogies and content; managing pupils; students’ concerns. A confidence and subject knowledge continuum was developed to further explore students’ confidence and subject knowledge in teaching hidden and marginalised (Hi)stories within the current National Curriculum (DfE, 2014). The research findings suggest that the university sessions and external sessions have had a positive impact on students’ confidence and subject knowledge development. However, students’ understandings of diversity within a (Hi)story Curriculum remains complex and multi-layered. All students that participated in the research demonstrated an awareness of the significance of diversity and inclusion in (Hi)story education. However, students acknowledged that moving beyond having an awareness of diversity was challenging and many expressed uncertainty and limited confidence on how these (Hi)stories should be taught effectively in the (Hi)story classroom especially when teaching in ‘traditional’ (Hi)story departments.  The research has identified that the training sessions on the PGCE has had a positive impact on subject knowledge development in terms of pedagogies and historical content which has led to increased awareness and confidence in teaching a more diverse (Hi)story in the classroom. However, this confidence and awareness is slow in reaching some (Hi)story departments, therefore there is a need for additional support beyond the course to ensure that subject knowledge and confidence does not stagnate during their ECT year in terms of consistency of further developing their practical knowledge, understanding and experience of teaching diverse (Hi)stories. 

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