Who We Are
Our Aims
What We Do
How We Do It

HEIRNET’S aims reflect an optimistic view of the world in which we support liberal values rooted in the rule of law, functional democracy at all levels of society, individual autonomy, political, religious and related freedoms including freedom of expression. As such we draw upon the inspirational legacy of Karl Popper.

HEIRNET’s educational aims are:

1.To report and disseminate scholarship, pure and applied research, pedagogy and praxis into and about all aspects of History Education
2.To campaign for Thinking Historically as an educational entitlement of all 5-18 year olds.
3.To support History Education as a pillar of ‘Open Society’ liberal democracy in an age of populist ‘dictatorships of the proletariat’.
4.To provide historical, social, cultural, political and ethical perspectives on History Education including difficult and controversial issues.
5.To serve as an international open-source for publications, resources, news, links, social media and information about History Education
6.To develop a worldwide network to promote all aspects of History Education.
7.To act as a ginger group to promote thinking historically as an element in the education of all
8.To act as an objective source about History Education, national identity and citizenship for the creation and implementation of history and related curricula and policies.

To realise its aims HEIRNET focuses on the teaching and learning of history but within a wider cultural and social milieu that covers the Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts.

HEIRNET and the Teaching and Learning of History

HEIRNET believes the teaching and learning of history should be built around History’s academic disciplinary structures that involve substantive conceptual and syntactic conceptual frameworks.Substantive propositional ‘factual’ knowledge is based upon procedural knowledge consisting of history’s disciplinary skills, processes, procedures, protocols, forms of knowledge, i.e. different historical genres,  and syntactic concepts such as historical causation, chronology, historical perspective, the historical imagination and empathy. Such frameworks underpin the procedural knowledge of ‘doing history’ through the processes involved in:

  • questions and questioning;
  • the discovery, investigation, processing and analysis of sources, their provenance, the evidence they contain and its reliability for answering questions;
  • discussion, debate, logical thinking, speculation, empathy and the informed imagination that is crucial for historical understanding;
  • the framing and testing of hypotheses against the historical evidence
  • the reaching of evidentially based and supportable conclusions
  • the communication of historical knowledge and understanding using a range of appropriate genres.

HEIRNET and Thinking Historically

A liberal history pedagogy/didactics empowers citizens to link past, present and future defend and support their democratic rights and freedoms, drawing upon a mind-set of informed scepticism that enables us:

1. to think historically involving social, affective, inductive and deductive cognition that can encompass:

  • developing arguments based on evidence,
  • listening to the views of others,
  • understanding that there can be a number of plausible answers to a question,
  • sensitivity and open-mindedness
  • the ability to understand the complexity and sophistication of argument as an antidote to polarisation of judgment and opinion;

2.to see and consider that people in the past, like us, individually, communally and socially responded to their particular and unique circumstances;
3.to make affective and cognitive connections with the past (often not considered in debates about the processes of historical enquiry and assessment issues);
4.to develop awareness and understanding of different cultures;
5.to see themselves and their culture, communities and society as part of a continuum from past to present;
6.to know that historical understanding empowers them to influence the future;
7.to understand that curiosity about the past;

  • is an exciting and highly enjoyable dimension of enquiry, challenge, creativity and
  • importantly,  of  awareness of personal identity and ‘others’’ identities involving causes and effects, similarities and differences,           temporal awareness, multicultural and diversity issues;
  • can involve the multiple genres in a digital age covering the aural, iconic, tactile and verbal in multi-media world sans frontiers

8.to develop historical awareness and understanding of different cultures and their import;
9.to consider that they are members of a global community and the issues and responsibilities this involves.