Terry G. Iyasere
Thelma Wiltshire, (2000), Telling and suggesting in the Conwy Valley. Teaching History, pp. 32-34.
This journal tells how Thelma Wiltshire applied a 'telling' and 'suggesting' strategy to an inquiry involving an historical site. She describes how the curriculum materials were designed to give students a precise language to talk about layers of certainty and uncertainty in their work. The content Thelma Wiltshire chose ranged across historical periods and involved complex source materials. She uses a lot of modeling of language use, followed by opportunity for students to produce the language themselves.
Students were given two types of clever starter: 'This source tells us…' and 'This suggests…'. The point is not to reach the right conclusion but to encourage students to think about the status of the conclusion they want to reach. 'Tell' and 'suggests' gave them a way of naming that status. It also gave students and teacher, as a group a way of discussing the problem together. The vocabulary distinction of 'tells and 'suggests' helped all abilities to stay focused on the issue and to discuss it openly. This strategy would serve in subsequent learning students development of showing their understanding and ability to ask better questions of historical sources.
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