This study focuses on the comparison of the English and the Dutch primary history curriculum regarding the understanding of historical time. We compare different aspects of both curricula that can apply to other subjects as well, for example the question 'what age would be appropriate to start a subject in primary school?' Here, we emphasize that exposure to different learning processes is more important than pupils' age and maturity. Drawing on analyses of curriculum documents, surveys (n = 128) and interviews (n = 25), we explored how the understanding of historical time is addressed in the intended and the implemented primary curricula for history. The analysis of the data indicates that teachers in both countries do not teach all objectives of the understanding of historical time. Although in England the history curriculum starts earlier, the episodic structure of the curriculum is not very helpful to support pupils' understanding of historical time. In the Netherlands the framework of 10 eras is mostly taught chronologically; however, neither the sequence nor the dates of historical periods are explicitly taught. Apparently, the teaching and learning of historical time in both countries needs improvement and we conclude with some suggestions to accomplish this.

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Journal of Curriculum Studies
Department of History

de Groot-Reuvekamp, M., van Boxtel, C., Ros, A., & Harnett, P. (2014). The understanding of historical time in the primary history curriculum in England and the Netherlands. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 46(4), 487–514. doi:10.1080/00220272.2013.869837