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Do primary history books show a concern for explanatory understanding?

Blake, A.; Newton, L.D.; Newton, D.P.; Brown, K.


A. Blake

K. Brown


This article explores the extent to which books covering history topics identified by the National Curriculum (see Glossary for more information), available for use by the teacher in Key Stage 2 (children aged 7 to 11 years), demonstrate a concern for explanatory understanding. Following a discussion about the meaning and importance of understanding in history and the classification of possible alternative conceptions held by young children identified by researchers, forty‐three history books available to the Key Stage 2 teacher were analysed in terms of the types of verbal structures of exposition they employed. Results suggested a concern more with descriptive than explanatory understanding. Teachers seeking to support children's explanatory understanding in history are advised to be more selective in their choice of text and consider the use of alternative or additional strategies.


Blake, A., Newton, L., Newton, D., & Brown, K. (2003). Do primary history books show a concern for explanatory understanding?. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 26(2), 149-159.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2003-10
Journal International Journal of Research & Method in Education
Print ISSN 1743-727X
Electronic ISSN 1743-7288
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 2
Pages 149-159