1st Edition

Mentoring History Teachers in the Secondary School A Practical Guide

    240 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    240 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Mentoring History Teachers in the Secondary School supports mentors to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding essential to the successful mentoring of beginning history teachers who are undertaking their initial teacher training or being inducted into the profession as early career teachers. The authors critically explore models of mentoring and place subject specificity at the heart of every chapter, offering practical mentoring strategies rooted in the best evidence and research from the history teaching community.

    This book is a vital source of encouragement and inspiration for all those involved in developing the next generation of history teachers, providing accessible summaries of history-specific thinking on a range of topics alongside mentoring support. Key topics include:

    • Understanding what being a subject-specific mentor of beginning history teachers involves
    • Establishing a dialogic mentor-mentee relationship
    • Supporting beginning teachers to develop the substantive and disciplinary knowledge they need to become excellent history teachers
    • Guiding beginning history teachers through the lesson planning process
    • Conducting subject-specific lesson observations and pre- and post-lesson discussions
    • Supporting beginning history teachers to consider the purpose of history education and how they can navigate this in relation to values education, the use of ICT, and the teaching of controversial and sensitive issues.

    Mentoring History Teachers in the Secondary School offers an accessible and practical guide to mentoring beginning history teachers, with ready-to-use strategies to support and inspire both mentors and beginning teachers alike.

    1.  Mentoring Beginning History Teachers

         Victoria Crooks


    2.  Supporting Beginning History Teachers to Develop Their Subject Knowledge

         Terry Haydn


    3.  Supporting Beginning Teachers to Understand and Utilise Substantive and Disciplinary Historical Concepts

         Victoria Crooks


    4.  Helping Beginning History Teachers to Plan, Deliver and Evaluate Lessons

         Victoria Crooks and Laura London


    5.  Working with Beginning History Teachers to Support All Pupils’ Learning

         Victoria Crooks


    6.  Developing Beginning Teachers’ Reflective Practice Through Lesson Observation and Feedback

         Laura London


    7.  Exploring the Relationship Between Values and History Education

         Terry Haydn


    8.  Supporting Beginning History Teachers to Teach Controversial and Sensitive Issues

         Laura London and Victoria Crooks


    9.  Supporting Beginning Teachers’ Use of ICT in the History Classroom

         Terry Haydn


    10.  Continuing Professional Development for Beginning History Teachers and Mentors

            Laura London


    Victoria Crooks is Assistant Professor in History Education and the Subject Lead of the Secondary History PGCE course at the University of Nottingham.

    Laura London is a lecturer in education in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning at the University of East Anglia.

    Terry Haydn is Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of East Anglia, UK.

    ‘Mentoring History Teachers in the Secondary School is a very welcome and much needed addition to mentoring literature. It shows very clearly just why generic approaches to learning to teach a subject are not enough to support mentees become the very best history teachers that students in our schools deserve. The book celebrates the importance of subject-specific mentoring and supports mentors to reflect on their own practice as well as providing a wide range of strategies, tasks and discussion points to structure training activities and mentor meetings. Not only will this book be useful for ITE and ECT mentors, it will also provide food for thought for any history teacher looking to develop their own practice, with chapters ranging from developing substantive and disciplinary knowledge, to lesson planning and ways to engage with the History subject community. The book draws on an impressive range of literature and has lots of suggested reading for mentors and mentees alike. Whether you read from cover to cover or dip in for inspiration this book will be a valuable tool for new and experienced mentors, mentees and anyone supporting History teachers at any point in their career.’

    Sally Burnham, History teacher, Mentor and Lead Practitioner, Carre’s Grammar School


    ‘The authors set the bar high in their expectations of mentors and of mentees but provide the detailed scaffolding required to enable both parties achieve those heights. Four things stood out for me. Firstly, the authors’ awareness of the human relationships at the heart of mentoring, the need to respond to individuals, each with their own personality, strengths, weaknesses and preconceptions of what being a teacher involves. Secondly, the absolute importance of initial mentoring and career-long training in the context of the subject specialism, history teaching, with its individuality of aims, processes and challenges. Thirdly, the enthusiasm and commitment of the authors – their description of the ‘joyous responsibility’ of mentoring kept me turning the pages. Finally, they tell us about teaching as well as about mentoring – readers will come away with ideas to improve their teaching as well as their mentoring. If this book had been available when I was a young teacher and then mentor, its pragmatic idealism would have made my progress in both roles far more effective and rewarding.’

    Ian Dawson, former PGCE tutor, Director of Schools History Project and creator of thinkinghistory.co.uk


    ‘Hitherto there has been a void in literature containing subject-specific advice for History mentors and this wonderful book fills it emphatically. For too long subject-specific practices in mentoring have been overlooked, in favour of unhelpful generic approaches. Whilst the newly introduced Early Career Framework rightly places a welcome and long overdue emphasis on the role of the mentor, it does not offer a definitive recipe for action for mentors of beginning History teachers. This outstanding book offers such a recipe, guiding novice and experienced mentors alike through a range or pertinent aspects of the History mentors’ craft. It succeeds in outlining the challenges both trainees and mentors face in the crucial endeavour of mentoring. It explores policy, pedagogy, planning and classroom practice, and locates the pivotal role of the mentor, who is undoubtedly one of the greatest determinants in the success of a beginning History teacher. This timely and important guide serves as an ideal curriculum for mentors to follow and will undoubtedly become important to ITE providers and schools seeking to better support their trainee teachers. This book contains numerous practical examples that will inform the reader, supported with reference to a host of relevant academic and practitioner-based literature. Mentors truly matter, and this book will support all those wishing to help their trainees flourish in the secondary History classroom’

    Tom Donnai, Subject Leader, PGCE History, University of Manchester


    ‘We are at a challenging crossroads in Teacher Education. On one hand there has been an increasing focus on subject specificity in DfE policy and in Ofsted inspection. On the other hand, the ITE landscape has been reworked and underpinned by far more generic core frameworks for trainee and early career teachers. This book is an important contribution in enabling school-based mentors to support new history teachers in ways which transcend the generic. The authors give careful and comprehensive consideration to the many issues which new teachers encounter in schools and offer clearly grounded, practical and subject-specific advice and guidance to support mentors in helping trainees to navigate these. The reflection points and tasks are especially helpful for mentors seeking to develop their own practice and encourage new history teachers to reflect critically on theirs as well. The chapters themselves are lively and well written, drawing on a wide range of theory and research; making this accessible and relevant to specific classroom issues. On this basis alone, I would recommend this book to anyone mentoring a history trainee or ECT. The authors are driven by a clear and genuine desire to empower both mentors and new history teachers to be critically aware practitioners, so that they can have a positive impact on history teaching in the long term. This underpinning ethic provides a powerful justification for the authors’ recommendations and means the book will certainly stand the test of time. It should be read not just by mentors, but by trainees, new teachers, as well as all those seeking to reform the ITE system.’

    Alex Ford, Schools History Project Fellow & Senior Lecturer in History Education at Leeds Trinity University


    ‘At a time when the focus of new teacher education seems increasingly on general teaching techniques, this book is a timely reminder about the importance of the role of subject-specific training. It looks at how a mentor can guide a trainee or ECT to consider and overcome the unique challenges of teaching history. It does this by considering recent research, practical tasks to undertake and following up with further reading. The book comprehensively covers all aspects of mentoring, from the familiar topic of lesson planning to the less obvious potential and pitfalls of new technology. As a PGCE and ECT mentor this provides lots of sensible, well thought out advice about carrying out the role well, showing how the theory of teaching history underpins the proaction in the classroom and giving the beginning history teacher a stronger base from which to start their career.’

    Swerupa Gosrani, Assistant Head of Humanities, History Teacher and mentor, Belper School in Derbyshire


    ‘As Crooks, Haydn and London point out, high-quality mentoring of beginning teachers is vital to the health of our education system; high-quality mentoring of beginning history teachers is vital to the future of school history. The authors show that such mentoring requires a distinct, subject-specific body of professional knowledge, beyond the knowledge of what makes effective history teaching. Yet, mentors are all too rarely provided with the opportunities to develop this necessary knowledge. Now, with this thorough, deeply researched and wide-ranging exploration of all that history mentoring involves - within and beyond the classroom - the authors provide an indispensable and timely guide for all those working with history teachers in the early stages of their career.

    Throughout, the authors draw on both research and their extensive expertise in working with beginning history teachers to identify their particular needs as history teachers: issues that are specific to the subject, such as handling controversial and sensitive histories in the classroom; aspects of teaching that beginning history teachers often find difficult, such as planning sequences of lessons as rigorous historical enquiries; misconceptions and knowledge gaps beginning history teachers often have. Readers are then provided with a wealth of practical, carefully-designed suggestions for mentoring activities that will help to address these particular, subject-specific needs, along with countless references to further useful resources and ideas about how to make the most of them with mentees. These well-structured practical ideas, along with the light shone on often-neglected areas of history teacher development, will change the way I mentor and work with fellow mentors. But more than that, by placing a microscope over all aspects of the history teachers’ craft and how they can be developed, the book will change the way I approach my own continuing development. I would encourage all history teachers to read it.’

    Jonathan Grande, Head of History and Network Lead for History (KS3/4), Ark Pioneer Academy


    ‘This book is the key to being an excellent History mentor. Terry Haydn maps the territory, exploring the range of substantive knowledge required with realistic advice about how new teachers can acquire it on the journey. The curriculum turn in schools means that historiographical knowledge is needed too, or enquiry questions posed lose their power. Disciplinary understanding matters, or our new teachers will be helpless when called upon to explain differences in historical arguments and interpretations. The development of AI means that how we teach every subject will change, (Wineburg), and the best time to start thinking about this is now. New teachers are expected to collect generic strategies as if they are walkers in Scotland bagging Munros. It takes a very skilled History mentor to enable new teachers to turn these climbs into useful approaches in the History classroom. Vic Crooks and Laura London do this brilliantly. They understand the practicalities: they know you have little time for mentoring and you care deeply about the progress your pupils need to make. The ideas and examples explored in this book will enable you to understand what is at stake and help you to enjoy the role and do it well.’

    Ali Messer, Associate Professor and PGCE Tutor, University of Roehampton


    ‘This book is an important and timely addition to the general literature on mentoring and more specifically it is a new and major contribution to mentoring in history. The book emerges at a time when a new landscape of teacher education is crying out for subject specific mentoring in schools. More than ever, we need well-educated/trained beginning teachers – teachers who can think and make subjects and particularly history come alive. We need confident beginning teachers who are able to justify pedagogical approaches and at times challenge orthodoxy. Mentors and mentoring have key roles to play in this development and yet there is a paucity of literature about subject specific mentoring. This book, written by leading authorities in the field, explores such key components as lesson planning, observation and how to support beginning teachers across a range of areas. It offers new and innovative approaches, for example the section on helping beginning teachers to plan lessons is a must read for all – including beginning teachers.   

    At the heart of this work, and a central plank of the book, is the consideration of the mentor/mentee relationship and how this is conceptualised and understood by both parties and how this changes and develops during the training and ECT year. So often in works like this there is a lot of focus on, for example, how to plan a lesson or how to manage a class – the very practical elements/advice – with less attention on the why or rationale for the planning of lessons and the actions we might take in classrooms. This book offers both these dimensions. Through linking practical elements of mentoring to strong theoretical frameworks and through the provision of questions for discussion, a range of tasks to undertake and suggestions for further reading a more holistic view of how beginning teachers develop in history teaching is provided. I particularly commend the chapters on supporting beginning teachers to teach controversial and sensitive issues in history and the chapter on exploring the relationship between values and history education. Both chapters provide clear insights into difficult and, at times, challenging aspects of mentoring. After over 25 years of being involved in History teacher education there was much in this book that I found very refreshing and thought provoking. It is an essential read for all involved in history ITE.  

    Gary D. Mills Associate Professor of History Education, University of Nottingham, President of HTEN


    ‘The long tradition of good practice in relation to nurturing and developing the mentors of beginning history teachers in schools has been disrupted and eroded in the last decade or so because of the turmoil in the ITE sector. The literature on good practice has been quite scattered and hard to reach. This book comes to the rescue. Colleagues with breadth and depth of experience in the field have synthesised very effectively the research and practical theorising that underpin best practice. Mentoring History Teachers in the Secondary School is a highly practical guide which also emphasises the ethical dimension of the role of mentoring the next generation of history teachers during their first few years of practice. Its focus on excellence in history teaching, and what beginning colleagues need to learn as they make the first part of their journey towards professional excellence, means that the book will have longevity, even as the world of teacher education continues to change. Both new and experienced mentors, and those leading teams of mentors, will find this an invaluable companion for their work.’

    Helen Snelson, History PGCE Curriculum Leader, University of York. 


    ‘Mentoring History Teachers in the Secondary School is essential reading for any History mentor or indeed History teacher. It is a timely and practical guide to History mentoring that draws on a wealth of subject-specific research and provides insightful links to classroom practice. The task-based scenarios in each chapter will be particularly invaluable to mentors; helpful question prompts to use with mentees are suggested to steer meaningful professional discussion and reflection. The authors clearly not only have a deep understanding and extensive experience of the specific challenges that face new History teachers, but also what quality subject-specific mentoring encompasses. It is this subject-specific focus that makes this book so unique and so useful for History mentors.’

    Chris Weight, History Subject Lead for Suffolk & Norfolk SCITT