Why does anyone do anything? Attempts to improve agentive explanations with Year 12

Teaching History article

By Sophie Harley-Mckeown, published 5th October 2020

Attempts to improve agentive explanations with Year 12

In this article Sophie Harley-McKeown identifies and addresses her Year 12 students’ blind spot over agentive explanation. Noticing that the examination board to which she teaches uses ‘motivations’ rather than ‘aims’ prompted her to consider whether her students really knew what that meant. Finding that her students’ causal explanations tended to be weaker when considering motivation, Harley-McKeown adapted the dartboard technique suggested by Chapman to the needs of her students; they in turn, in collaboration with their teacher, would suggest further adaptations of their own. Harley-McKeown offers some interesting ideas about teaching this difficult aspect of causation, as well as a model of thinking about how to use and adapt others’ metaphors as teaching resources...

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