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Summary of Unit 2

Academic History deals mainly with the substance of the past content arranged according to
the Historians perspectives-with accompanying notions of continuity, regress, progress and
These key concepts provide the foundation of History, without it History becomes a story
without shape and structure.
Concepts of History: Colony, industrialization, democracy and development
A concept is an idea of something formed by mentally combining all its characteristics and
Key concepts in History are: Chronology, Change, Continuity, Cause and effect
Teachers should be aware that most of the historical concepts we teach at primary school are
quite abstract in nature. Consequently children may find difficulties to grasp such ideas because
at their age they are evolving at a predominately concrete stage of cognitive development.
Therefore children need to be explained through concrete examples and through such activities
as: handling, cutting, drawing and coloring in order to ensure real understanding.
1. Concepts simplify the task of learning History. The amount of historical knowledge
prevalent around us is quite enormous. There are a number of books and various other
sources of information available on various aspects of our past. For pupils to read all of
these information is not possible.
Example 1: Someone who knows such concepts as colonization, exploitation,

slavery can understand similar situation in a different context

Example 2: To have an understanding of wars it is not necessary to read about all

the wars in History but develop a good understanding of the concept wars:
What does war mean?
What consequences does it entail?
Does it have a positive or negative impact on the country?
2. Concepts become a tool for further learning. Pupils who have developed an
understanding of a set of concepts will use them to learn future concepts. For example:
Learn about the concept of development


Law and Order

3. Concept teaching is child-centered approach. It involves the child and makes reference
to what he can see and experience. Teaching historical facts in isolation is subjectcentered and may not be very appealing to children as they have to remember a lot of
Key concepts of Historical Thinking that underpin all thinking and learning in History:
1. Historical significance
2. Cause and consequence
3. Continuity and change
4. Historical perspectives
1. Historical significance
This concept requires students to determine the importance of something (issue, event,
development, person, place and interactions) in the past. Historical importance is determined
generally by the impact of something on a group of people and whether its effects are long
What impact did French Revolution had on the issue of slavery in Mauritius?
Why does Mauritian population comprise of different ethnic groups?
How did abolition of slavery affect the development of sugar industry in the country?
2. Cause and consequence
This concept requires students to determine the factors that affected or led to something (an
event, situation, action, interaction) as well as its impact/effects. Pupils should be trained to
look for cause and effects to explain historical events. This exercise requires pupils to operate
at a higher level of thinking. This entails that pupils develop the capacity to analyze a
situation. They further develop an understanding of the complexity of causes and
Something may be caused by more than one factor and many consequences both intended
and unintended.
What was the consequence of the Dutch settlement on the fauna and flora of the
Why did the French decided to settle in Mauritius?
3. Continuity and change
This concept requires students to determine what has stayed the same and what has changed
over a period of time. Continuity and change can be referred to:
Ways of life
Political parties
Economic parties
Relationship with the environment

Social values and beliefs

Students make judgments about continuity and change by making comparisons between
some point in the past and the present or between two points in the past.
Why is Farquars administration referred to as the period of change and continuity?
How has the life of the people changed or remained the same after independence?
4. Historical Perspectives
This concept requires students to analyze past actions, events, developments and issues
within the context of the time in which they occurred. This means understand the social,
cultural, political, economic, intellectual context, and the personal values and beliefs that
shaped peoples lives and actions. Students learn that in any given historical period, people
may have diverse perspectives on the same event, development or issue.
What were the facts that led to the arriving of the Indian Indentured Labourers in

How was the living and working condition of the Indian Indentured Labourers?

Time sense in History

Developing time and space sense among the people is found as the most complicated task

by teachers
Time and space are in fact two of the most abstract concepts in History
All the events of History have occurred at a definite time so History devoid of this sense
of time and space is nothing but a story.

Measuring of Time sense

Time sense refers to the ability of establishing a relationship between the various events.
Time is a focal point or some definite point
It helps in understanding the flow of various events of society in the order they have

Elements of Time sense

Location, distance and duration- 3 elements which constitute time relations
Location of time most historical facts are localized and not indefinite
Location of an event refers to its placing on the Long line of time so that it may enable to
measure its distance from us.

By location we mean determining the events with the help of dates and periods. For
developing a time sense in the pupils or to teach the concept of time teachers can use:
a. Time chart
b. Time line
A. Time chart
It consists of a list of pictures pasted on it indicating the description of a particular
period/event. The main use of time chart is to provide a chronological framework within
which events and developments may be recorded

B. Time line
Quite helpful in developing time sense in an effective and easy way
It provides the pupils a scientific knowledge about dates of history
Match the dates with the correct pictures

2. Meaning of space sense

The location, direction and distance forms the basic elements of the space sense.
Teacher can make use of various devices such as maps, charts etc.

The most commonly used symbol for the representation of space. It shows location,

direction, distance, extent, area, land and water forms.

It conveys information about distribution of people, animal and vegetable life, climate,

economic resource etc. it helps visualizing important historical happenings.

Through oral and written accounts we cannot understand and appreciate properly

Pupils should be initiated in the art of drawing maps since the beginning of school

Teacher should first try to make the pupil familiar or with the general lay out of the map

Give the idea of directions, scale and other symbols
Pupils should then be asked to draw map of their own locality- their experiences widens/

drawing of sketch maps of their town, country and finally the world.
At every stage they need to have a clear understanding of location, distance and direction

Teaching Time to lower primary pupils

Ascertain that children at the lower primary understand the concept of:
1. Clock-time (hours & minutes)
2. Calendar time (days, weeks & months)
3. Historical times which deals with events over the years and centuries
Exercises can be done orally during the English and French lessons:
Yesterday it was Sunday. 1 did not to school.
Today is Monday. 1 am going to school.
Tomorrow is Tuesday. 1 will go to school.
Such exercises may help the teacher confirm whether the child understands the concept of time
and distinguishes between the past, the present and future
In Standard III, time is also explained, through the personal experience of a child which is
presented on a time line. With the help of the teacher, the child records events from his/her
memory and tries to order in a chronological way:

1. Develop the skills of ordering and sequencing

2. Recall facts
3. Example: Grouping all pupils born in one particulars month
Time and Space: Studying the locality past and present
Lower primary

Study space in the classroom and in the school yard

Move to the location of the school, their house and the street where they live
Deal mainly in the real and the present; reason from what they can see around them
Plan of school locality

Children already understood time, they can elaborate on the concept of change happening in the
locality; they can note old and new buildings and their use, means of transport.

Discover information for themselves through interviewing elders

Note the occupation of people living there.
Find out how old is their school


Explain agricultural and industrial activities in certain localities for history and
geography lessons.

Through questionnaires involve parents or other elders in the locality to provide

information to pupils about different interesting sites and events that happened in the

school area
Pay particular attention to the specificities of each place (rural, urban, coastal and others)
and the activities that are carried out in each area (agricultural, industrial, fishing or

Study the life of people in earlier periods of history
Different historical events are analyzed in more depth
Children go further than recalling events and remembering 'when' and 'where' they

Link events with causes and consequences.

Teaching Causes and Consequences

Lower primary questions:

When did an event happen?

Where did it happen?
What were the activities of the people involved?

Upper primary:
Deal with more complex situations where they need to find out why events occurred and what
were their consequences?
For example: 19th century witnessed important socio - economic changes. The most important
was the development of the sugar industry. Since pupils are required to study the concept of
change in Time and Space, this topic provides an excellent opportunity for pupils to understand
change and development at a particular time in a particular period in the history of the country.
Teachers are required to guide their students in the teaching and learning of the various aspects
of the development and explain the different stages and the important changes. An example is
provided below:
Mauritius and the Sugar Industry Great Britain depended on its colonies for certain items of food
and raw materials. Mauritian planters were therefore encouraged to develop the sugar industry.

When taxes on sugar exported to Great Britain were reduced in 1825, important changes

The increasing need for labour

The area under sugarcane cultivation increased
Steam mills were introduced in the production of sugar
Centralisation of mills and estates started in the second half of the 19th century
The production increased

Key questions:
What do you understand by concepts? Name a few important historical concepts.
Why is it important to teach history around concepts?
How would you teach Time and Space to primary pupils?