History

The latest Ofsted report ‘History for all’ observes that when achievement was good or outstanding in history pupils were ‘engaged enthusiastically in their learning and developed a sense of curiosity about the past’.

This calls for teachers with a real passion for the subject, combined with the rigorous and creative thinking necessary to capture and respond to young people’s interest, and enable them to develop the analytical and communication skills that the discipline demands. The course looks to support successful history teaching based on developing engaging and rigorous historical enquiries that link substantive historical knowledge with critical historical thinking.

Aims of the history programme

The Internship programme in history has been designed by teachers and tutors working in close partnership. Our aims are to:

  • equip you with a wide variety of strategies to engage young people in the process of historical enquiry, developing both their knowledge and understanding of the past, and their independence as learners
  • encourage you to examine your own preconceptions about the nature and purpose of history and of learning history in the context of young people’s lives today, so that you can develop a clear rationale for the choices you make about exactly what to teach and how
  • offer insights into young people’s learning, and explore what it means to make progress in history
  • equip you with a range of strategies for assessing young people’s understanding so that your teaching can take account of their existing conceptions both of the past and of the ways in which we acquire historical knowledge
  • provide experiences in planning and managing effective and engaging lessons in which students learn to ask and answer important questions, evaluate evidence, identify and analyse different interpretations and learn to substantiate the arguments and judgments they make
  • develop your ability to reflect on and analyse your teaching, and make decisions about how to modify and adapt it to be more effective for students’ learning
  • introduce you to a range of resources, research, and theoretical perspectives on which to base your future growth as a teacher

Ways of working within the partnership programme

These themes are explored in both school and the university, through an integrated programme in which the ideas and questions about teaching and learning that you encounter in one context can be explored and tested out in the other. In school you will be involved in all aspects of a teacher’s role. You will observe experienced teachers, and discuss your observations and your own developing ideas and practice with them; you will plan and teach collaboratively, and design and develop resources for that teaching. You will work both with individuals and small groups of pupils, as well, of course, as taking responsibility for teaching history to whole classes. In the university you will work with other history interns in seminars and workshops using a wide variety of approaches intended to develop your own repertoire and understanding of effective teaching and learning strategies, informed by both practical and research-based, theoretical perspectives. We will draw extensively on your own experiences in school and on the skills and expertise that you may bring from previous work with young people or in diverse professional contexts. One key aspect of the PGCE programme is the space to share knowledge and understanding of the variety of contexts.

Further Details

Teaching on the PGCE course is strongly informed by the history education research which takes place in the Department, some of which is undertaken collaboratively with partner schools. Course tutors are active researchers and experienced in writing for trainee teachers and practising history teachers.

See also History Education Research Group.

Making an application

If you are committed to learning to teach history in comprehensive schools, can demonstrate your commitment to working with young people through voluntary work or other experience, and have a good first degree in history or a closely related discipline (such as Politics, Economics, or Archaeology), you are encouraged to apply. If you think Oxford isn’t for people like you, talk to us! The vast majority of our students have degrees from outside Oxbridge. We offer a good course and are looking for good prospective interns, eager to meet the challenge of bringing the past to life for the diverse range of young people in our schools.

If you are uncertain about the appropriateness of your degree, please contact the PGCE office. Those who have studied related subjects, such as Law or Sociology, may have developed highly relevant ways of thinking and structuring knowledge, and can bring invaluable alternative perspectives to bear. However, getting to grips with a lot of unfamiliar subject matter can be very demanding if you do not have a secure grounding in the key concepts and processes of the discipline. It would be good to look at the national curriculum key concepts and processes to consider ways in which your degree has prepared you to teach these. To support the development of subject knowledge, the course has intern -led subject development workshops.

You would also need to explain carefully in any application why you are keen to teach history when you have not studied it at degree level, and show how you have taken steps to develop your subject knowledge.

We ask all applicants who are called to interview to spend a day in a comprehensive school prior to the interview. Since we base a significant part of the interview around this experience it will need to be fresh in your mind. This observation visit is, however, a minimum requirement (intended to serve as a basis for specific questions in the interview) and, especially if you are unfamiliar with comprehensive education, you should aim to have gained as much relevant experience in school and with young people as you can.

PGCE History Picture Gallery

Page last modified: October 17, 2017