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School of History

Our Teaching Ethos

When you graduate from the School of History, you will have developed a range of attributes and skills alongside your knowledge and understanding of the past. These will have been acquired as part of the taught curriculum and also in your activities outside of it. Our teaching ethos is based on three key qualities that historians try to acquire and improve:

  • build a wide range of knowledge about the past and the different ways in which it can be studied
  • acquire new knowledge through individual research in libraries, archives and online
  • use a range of technology to access, interpret and present information, and recognise the implications of that technology for the historical process
  • process, analyse, synthesise and apply large amounts of information – for example by reading the different sides in a complex historical debate, summing up and critiquing the arguments involved, and using the concepts involved in a different historical setting
  • evaluate evidence and employ it to make considered judgements about complex issues
  • develop persuasive arguments, selecting appropriate supporting material and recognising counter-points
  • employ a range of primary and secondary material confidently, identifying and attempting to fill gaps or shortfalls in historical understanding
  • use a wide range of sources in different formats – including for example oral histories, the built environment, works of art, material artefacts and film as well as written documents – bringing these sources into relation to enable the study of the past
  • approach learning as an active intellectual and practical search for knowledge and understanding
  • understand and enjoy the processes and products of research, including its critical and iterative nature
  • apply research skills flexibly for tasks small or large, with the ability to recognise appropriate sources, and the volume of them required to acquire deeper understanding
  • be open to different historical subjects and approaches
  • seek out and adapt to new and unfamiliar challenges and tasks
  • appreciate the tried and tested and be open to new, creative solutions to historical challenges
  • use initiative to identify, refine and solve intellectual and practical problems in historical research
  • prioritise and organise to deliver the best possible work in the available time, including working under tight deadlines
  • express knowledge, understanding and opinion clearly and concisely in a variety of formats, adapting tone and style to fit the circumstances and demonstrating an awareness of the importance of referencing and presentation to the credibility of our work
  • reflect on our own learning, respond to and be able to give criticism appropriately
  • recognise the importance of diversity and collaboration to research, innovation and effective teamwork and act accordingly
  • accept and demonstrate an awareness of our responsibilities to the present and the past, including the upholding of high ethical standards both in our behaviour towards other members of the School and wider society, and in our treatment of historical sources
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