Monthly Archives: September 2017

Emotive and Controversial History

In the Social Studies elective, we were asked to read the T.E.A.C.H report (Historical Association, 2007). I found this report extremely interesting to read because it focused on how teachers fail to focus on emotive and controversial history. I had never really thought of this as an area in history that would be so important as I felt teachers were covering this without realising it. The report also gives examples of topics that integrate emotive and controversial history which will be extremely helpful when teaching.

The report states that many teachers avoid teaching history topics that are too controversial and emotive because they do not know how to address the issues with the children (Historical Association, 2007). Looking back on my experience in the primary school I could see this. Many teachers would do a topic with the children but did not fully go into detail of the controversial and emotive issues within the topic they were teaching. I taught World War 2 to primary 7 in first year and I feel I did not fully cover the controversial and emotive issues. I feel this was because I did not know how to approach them and feared what questions the children would ask just in case I could not answer them or did not know what to say. After reading more into this and attending lectures on it I feel a lot more confident to teach the controversial and emotive parts of a history topic.

Going forward as a professional I will ensure when teaching a topic, the controversial and emotive issues are covered as I feel children benefit from talking and learning about the issues, as it gives them a better understanding of historical interpretations. It also builds on their knowledge and questioning skills as they will ask questions based on what is being discussed and learn more about the history topic they are covering. However, it is important emotive and controversial history is taught at the correct level suitable for the children. If it is taught the children will become disengaged and may upset them emotionally.


Historical Association (2007) The T.E.A.C.H Report. Available at: (Accessed: 16 Sep 2017).