Primary Children’s Developing Conceptions of historical Time: analysing approaches to teaching, learning and research.
Submitting InstitutionLiverpool Hope University
Unit of AssessmentEducation
Summary Impact TypeSocietal
Research Subject Area(s)
Education: Curriculum and Pedagogy, Specialist Studies In Education
Studies In Human Society: Sociology
Summary of the impact
Hodkinson's work has significantly affected children's learning of
history and has been instrumental in the formulation of the new curriculum
for 2014. He has been called upon over the past 15 years to provide expert
advice to the media (television and newspapers), curriculum planners and
Government Ministers. His research on chronology has also significantly
impacted upon, Initial Teacher Training, Continuing Professional
Development (CPD), teachers' pedagogy and is employed by Her Majesty's
Inspectorate in their work with schools as an example of effective
teaching. Most recently all schools in England received a pamphlet on the
teaching of the new history curriculum which included exemplar material
based upon Hodkinson's research work in chronology.
Dr. Hodkinson's work studies the interrelations between a child's memory,
reading ability, mathematical ability, intelligence, chronological age,
gender, social class and teaching method and how such factors effect
children's capabilities of retaining historical information. Hodkinson's
research commenced in 1995 when an undergraduate student at Liverpool Hope
and developed throughout his career, most recently, as an Associate
Professor. His empirical work, the first of its type, undermined 80 years
of cognitive research asserting that chronological understanding is
positively correlated to maturation [Evidence 3.1&3.2]. The
fact that historical time can be taught and specific teaching methods
significantly affect children's ability to retain historical knowledge is
the focus of the case study.
Dr. Hodkinson has published numerous articles in teacher education
periodicals, newspapers and in CPD material for the Historical Association
[Evidence 3.3]. Indeed, the significance of this work was
recognised by the rare award of a Research Fellowship of the Historical
Association in 2009 [Evidence 5.2]. Professional papers on
chronology have been located in numerous professional journals [some 10 to
date — Evidence 3.4]. Indeed, Dr. Hodkinson, in 2011, was invited
to edit a special edition of Primary History — the only
professional subject journal in this field — on the subject of chronology
[Evidence 3.4]. With contributions from the lead H.M.I for History
Michael Maddison he demonstrated how chronology is best taught to primary
aged children. In a second work, Hodkinson was funded by the
Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) to produce a national
website for teachers that demonstrated best practice in chronology. He was
also commissioned by `Teacher's TV', to write and produce two television
programmes based upon his research work. This work has significantly
impacted upon the teaching and learning of primary history in schools [Evidence
5.1 and 5.6].
Dr. Hodkinson's work has also influenced educational curricula. In 1998
he was a member of the working party that reviewed the QCA schemes of work
for history. In addition, in 2000, he was invited to help revise the
History National Curriculum. He was also the Historical Association's
representative for the curriculum review led by Professor Rose. [text
removed for publication] In 2013 a draft scheme of work for History was
released for consultation. For the first time there will be a mandatory
requirement that the curriculum is taught in chronological order. This
orientation of teaching is one of the main recommendations of Hodkinson's
research. [This section supported by Evidence 5.1 and 5.6]
Dr. Hodkinson's work has also been subject to press attention and
referenced as good practice by UNESCO. These publications demonstrate how
teaching of chronology is poor and how his research suggests that
children's abilities in the learning of chronology have been seriously
References to the research
Hodkinson' work was entered in RAE 2008
1. Hodkinson, A. (2004). Does the National Curriculum for History and its
Schemes of work effectively promote primary aged children's assimilation
of the concepts of historical time? Some observations based upon current
research, Educational Research, 46(2), 99-119.
2. Hodkinson, A. (2009). To date or not to date, that is the question: a
critical examination of the employment of subjective time phrases in the
teaching and learning of primary history, International Journal of
Historical Learning, Teaching and Research. 8(2), 39-50.
4. Primary History (59) available at: http://www.history.org.uk/resources/resource_4872.html-
Details of the impact
Dr. Hodkinson's research into temporal cognition has been disseminated
through peer-reviewed journals, professional association journals,
pre-service and CPD activities, websites, newspapers, international report
and television programmes. This dissemination has led to an increased
public and professional awareness of the issues concerned with the
teaching and learning of primary history in general and specifically in
the area of chronological understanding.[Evidence 5.1, 5.2 & 5.3]
Dr. Hodkinson left his employment as a primary school teacher to
undertake research to understand why many children fail in their general
understanding of history and specifically of chronology. Having conducted,
what has been observed to be ground breaking research in this area [Evidence
5.1& 5.6], he was committed to ensuring that the work was
disseminated beyond a Higher Education audience and that he engaged the
teaching profession with these issues [Evidence 5.1, 5.2 & 5.6].
To this end, he has actively sought out membership of the Primary
Committee of the Historical Association — the only body of this kind for
teachers of primary history. Through this position he has engaged as a
consultant with CPD work both face-to-face and through the innovative uses
of electronic CPD units. He has also worked with the History Educators'
International Research Network, through one of its founders Professor Jon
Nichol, to influence history education in other countries. Such
involvement has led to the research being disseminated in Turkey, Iran and
also presently in the Netherlands [Evidence 5.1].
Hodkinson's work has directly influenced thinking in terms of the
temporal language and that children are capable of assimilating AD and BC
historic dates. His work, on the importance of dates, led to four articles
being published in the Times Educational Supplement [Evidence
5.3]. His work has also been recognised by educational publishers,
not least, Oxford cartographers/ Schofield, who employed him in 2009 &
2010 as a consultant for their major new resource — a world history
timeline and British timeline [Evidence 5.4].
The reach of Hodkinson's research impact is evidenced by
the viral nature and the proliferation of websites that now promote his
work on chronology. A Google search using the key words such as ` Alan
Hodkinson chronology' — reveals a wealth of websites that promote Dr.
Hodkinson's work in this area. In addition, Dr. Hodkinson's work is
referenced in numerous newspaper publications and an international UNESCO
report on Effective pedagogy [Evidence 5.5].
The significance of Dr. Hodkinson's impact is
evidenced by the invitation he has been offered to be involved with
curriculum development at a national level by both the QCA and by
government [Evidence 5.6]. His work in this area has been awarded a
Research Fellowship of the Historical Association [Evidence 5.2].
The greatest significance would appear to be, that in the draft schemes of
work primary history will now be taught in a chronological order for the
first time in the history of the National Curriculum [Evidence 5.1, 5.2
&5.6]. Further, the manner in which his work has been targeted
in the educational press and the way in which it is employed in teaching
training, both in-service and initial teacher education, combined with
requests to deliver training work in schools, universities and by the
Historical Association evidences the significance of his work in schools.
Sources to corroborate the impact
- Executive Editor Primary History, Chair of Primary Committee
of the Historical Association-Nuffield Primary History.
- CEO, The Historical Association.
- Call to bring history to order early on, Times Educational
3. Teacher rewrites history, Times Educational Supplement,
Matter of Time —Times Educational Supplement, 12/05/08.
Play the dating game — Times Educational Supplement, 25,06/04
1930's books revived to teach pupils traditional British history-The
- UNESCO/ International Academy of Education (2012) `Effective pedagogy
in social Sciences'. INTERNATIONAL BUREAU OF EDUCATION
- Ex-Senior Curriculum Advisor History QCDA