Whenever a new initiative is introduced the natural reaction is to assume that what we have been doing up to now is in some way deficient, lacking this vital ingredient. Whilst I very much welcome the focus on thinking skills, I can reassure you that if you have been teaching history as a problem-solving rather than an information disseminating process then you have little to be worried about. There is certainly an interesting new emphasis on the metacognitive, exploring how pupils think through issues and discussing it with them, but much of the rest is a well-trodden path. I am really pleased that thinking skills is now such a strong element of the primary curriculum. I am convinced that history has a key role to play in developing just the sort of competencies that we want our young people to develop.
Why we need thinking skills
Historical narrative, explanation, role-play, TV programmes etc can give children the information, or they can find it out for themselves, but how do they understand it? How do they represent it in their heads? In what form do they store it? Is the knowledge accessible for use? Can it be retrieved and applied or