Teaching Strategy: Analysing People’s Motives

Helping students to compare and contrast motives

Where many historical actors are involved in the same event or change, the skill of multiperspectivity can be trained by analysing the motives of each of them very carefully. This brings out for students the common goals as well as the factors that distinguish the motives of some from the others. Historical actors may refer to both individuals and groups, such as nations.

A specific example

An example would be to prepare for your students individual profiles of the key princes and noblemen who participated in the first Crusade. Provide each student (or pair) with a card for each person. Their task is to decide what the motives of their character were. They then have conversations (in character) with other characters. They share motives and compare and contrast them. The class discussion following this task is to draw out the variety of motives and to connect these differences to issues to do with status in their country, within their family, their previous activities etc.

Thanks to Richard Kerridge.

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