Children’s Rooms as Private Time Machines: an ethnographic approach to a hidden part of historical learning

Ritter Römer

Free open seminar, 20th May, 5.30-7.30, UCL Institute of Education

Professor Dr. Christoph Kühberger, Department of History, University of Salzburg

Children’s rooms can be understood as time machines. They contain many toys in which interpretations of the past are inscribed: plastic knights, princesses, ancient ships, computer or board games set in the past etc. They are therefore hidden places of informal historical learning. Christoph Kühberger tries to present this private world of children from a perspective of history education through an ethnogaphical approach.

The focus is on the “natives” themselves and their playgrounds. Their use of products of historical culture and the related understanding of past and history will be examined. Theoretical moments of research practice are also in the focus, as are authentic objects from the rooms and interviews with the children. In this way, an attempt will be made to reveal a new basis for teaching history. The aim is to understand children’s prior understanding in order to be able to build on it in school-based historical learning.


Christoph Kühberger, PhD is Professor for History and Civic education at the University of Salzburg (Austria). He was Professor for European Cultural History at the University of Hildesheim (Germany) and Professor for History and Civic education at the Pedagogical University of Salzburg Stefan Zweig (Austria). Current research interests: History Education and Civic Education, Ethnographic Research in History Education, Toy Research, New Cultural History, Ethics of Historical Sciences.

Relevant pre-reading


Refreshments will be provided. Registration is essential.



Posted in Seminars

Finding Wonder in History Education

Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington, Australian National University

UCL Institute of Education, 3rd May, 5.30-7.30pm


This seminar turns on one idea: that history is strange. In unpacking this idea, Marnie Hughes-Warrington will outline the journey to and beyond a new history of histories told in her History as Wonder (2018) and explore how it might change the views of history we present to students. Using examples of histories from different times and places, she will show how the discipline of history carries the imprint of its entanglement with philosophy, and that in appreciating this we can explore the ethics of history in the classroom. This will set the stage for a glimpse of her new work, on how the various sizes and scales of histories teach us about ethics, and the questions they raise about whether our approaches to ethics in history making are fit for the twenty-first century. No background in history or philosophy are needed: all are warmly welcome.


Marnie Hughes-Warrington is professor of history at the Australian National University. She is the author of several historiography books, including Fifty Key Thinkers on History (three editions); History Goes to the Movies (2007); Revisionist Histories (2013) and History as Wonder (2018).

Free Seminar. All welcome. Refreshments will be provided. Registration is essential. Register here.

Posted in Seminars

Do you teach about the Holocaust in an English secondary school?

Do you teach about the Holocaust in an English secondary school? If yes, please take part in this national survey.

The UCL Centre for Holocaust Education is conducting an exciting new study to explore teaching about the Holocaust in English secondary schools. The research will explore the current landscape of Holocaust education in England, finding out more about teachers’ aims, definitions, content, pedagogy, assessment, knowledge, understanding and curriculum planning.

If you work in an English secondary school and teach about the Holocaust you are invited to complete the survey. It is vital that we have as wide a response as possible to enable an accurate picture of what is happening nationally to be created.

We appreciate that completing the survey asks teachers for their time. In recognition, the Centre is  giving respondents the opportunity to enter a free prize draw for two chances to win £100 worth of Waterstones’ vouchers.

The survey can be accessed here:

Posted in Research call, Uncategorized

Research and Practice in Citizenship, History and Religious Education

UCL Institute of Education, 9th July 2018, 5.30-7.30pm

Are you interested in Citizenship, History and / or Religious Education in schools, museums, NGOs or other educational settings?

If yes, join us for an evening celebrating research and practice in Citizenship, History and Religious Education at the UCL Institute of Education.

The event is FREE and will consist of:

  • Short presentations by students on our Humanities Education MA on their classroom research in Citizenship, History and Religious Education;
  • Contributions from staff who teach on our programme; and
  • Opportunities to network and to find out about our programme.

Refreshments will be provided. Registration is essential (please follow this link).


Posted in Seminars

Small Cards, Big Picture: Constructing students’ narrative frameworks

A HIESIG Open Seminar, Monday 9th April 2018, UCL Institute of Education, 5.30-7.30pm

Dr. Lindsay Gibson, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta

Most history teachers agree that one of the purposes of learning history should be to develop students’ ability to construct narratives and synoptic “big picture” overviews of the past. Despite this commonly held belief, many students leave school with fragments of historical knowledge and narratives, but few can assemble the knowledge accumulated throughout their school history career into coherent narratives, and those who can often produce narratives that are formulaic, simplistic, and naïve.

Few empirical studies have investigated the degree to which historical thinking pedagogy and resources designed to strengthen students’ frameworks of knowledge have any impact on facilitating and accelerating students’ ability to construct narratives that are coherent and purposeful, include accurate historical details, are comprehensive in terms of the inclusion of significant events from the history of Canada, and include perspectives of different historical individuals and groups.

In this presentation I discuss the theoretical background, research design, methodological approaches, research instruments, data collection and analysis procedures, and results of a small-scale (n=~22) pilot study that investigated the extent to which historical thinking pedagogy and the use of historical event cards improved students’ ability to construct high quality narratives about the history of Canada.

To register for this free seminar, please follow this link.

Posted in Conferences

Using the Past in Education. Free Day symposium (11.30am-7.00pm), Thu 22 March 2018

Organised by the International Centre for Historical Research in Education (ICHRE) and the London History in Education Special Interest Group (HiESIG), this free event will focus on the ‘uses’ of the past in educational settings – in schools, colleges and universities; in public commemorations; in popular literature and entertainment; and through political activity.

Both within and beyond formal education, the past has the power to shape citizens and their view of themselves and their communities. Curricula, textbooks and official publications and proclamations have all sought to bring history in the service of citizen-building and in the creation of desired societies.

This symposium will critically examine the purposes and outcomes of educational uses of the past, contextualising its function in a range of educational settings.

The event is free and takes place between 11.30am and 7.00pm at NCVO, 8 All Saints Street, London N1 9RL. To register please go to this link. Registration closes the 16th March.

Speakers include Peter Yeandle (University of Loughborough), Arthur Chapman, Maria Georgiou, Mary Woolley (Canterbury Christ Church University) Chris Edwards, Qianyun Yu, Alice Pettigrew (UCL Centre for Holocaust Education) and Simon Bendry (First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours Programme).

Posted in Conferences

The TeachFirst / Harris History / UCL Institute of Education London History Teachmeet 19th March

An opportunity for all History teachers of varying experience to share great ideas, passions and insight for effective learning. A fun, free and informal event joinly organised by TeachFirst and their History ambassadors, history consultants from the Harris Federation and History educators at the UCL Institute of Education..

Schedule: 18:00 -20:00

Location: Room 802, UCL Institute of Education

Registration (Free): Eventbrite link

Key note: Dr Arthur Chapman, UCL Institute of Education: Teaching historical interpretations

Key note: Dr. Christopher Dillon, King’s College London: Supporting post 16 students in their understanding of interpretations.

Posted in Conferences