1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice
  3. The Teacher Q&A will be closing soon.

    If you have any information that you would like to keep or refer to in the future please can you copy and paste the information to a format suitable for you to save or take screen shots of the questions and responses you are interested in.

    Don’t forget you can still use the rest of the forums on theTes Community to post questions and get the advice, help and support you require from your peers for all your teaching needs.

    Dismiss Notice

Please can you help me understand what AD mean?

Discussion in 'History' started by taspat, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. Hi
    I'm a primary trainee teacher. I'm going to be teaching the children about the Romans. I need some advice please. When I introduce the key dates e.g. 43 A.D, I want to explain to the children what A.D means. I have no idea, I've looked on the Internet and this has confused me even more. Could somebody please help? Also, how could I explain it to the children in child friendly speak, they are year 4.

    Thanks in advance.


  2. Hi
    I'm a primary trainee teacher. I'm going to be teaching the children about the Romans. I need some advice please. When I introduce the key dates e.g. 43 A.D, I want to explain to the children what A.D means. I have no idea, I've looked on the Internet and this has confused me even more. Could somebody please help? Also, how could I explain it to the children in child friendly speak, they are year 4.

    Thanks in advance.


  3. Hi,
    A.D Means Anno Dominie or In the Year of Our Lord. It is basically used to denote the difference between years B.C. Before Christ and afterwards. You could explain it to Year 4s using a number line that shows B.C like minus numbers then going into A.D. years. Remember there was no year zero though. Hope this helps :)

  4. Hi many thanks for your reply but I'm still really confused. So does BC stand for before christ and AD stand for after christ was born? I am going to use this interactive time line to show them. Do you think it is ok?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/primaryhistory/romans/ (the timeline is at the top of the page).
    I can imagine the kids are going to ask why does it say 0 please can you help me with how I can explain this to the children?

  5. I think that the timeline looks great. I wouldn't worry about the whole zero thing too much...concentrate on getting them to understand that BC is before christ and the numbers count back from zero and A.D is after the birth of christ and the numbers count up. The timeline should really help with that...
  6. MarkJH

    MarkJH New commenter

    A.D. means Anno Domini (Latin for 'In the Year of Our Lord'). The AD/BC system was devised by a monk, Dionysius Exiguus ('Denis the Little') in what we now call 531 AD. In a letter to a bishop called Petronius, Dionysius complained that the dating system then in use had as its year one the first year of the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. As this Emperor had been a notorious persecutor of Christians , Dionysius proposed a new system starting with the birth of Jesus, which Dionysius calculated as having happened 531 years before he wrote his letter. This would become 1AD (there was no concept of '0' at this time) and so years 'before Christ' became 1BC, 2BC and so on. Unfortunately Dennis got his sums wrong and came up with the wrong year for the birth of Christ, but that's another story...
  7. MarkJH

    MarkJH New commenter

    Just to make clear-the BBC Primary timeline is incorrect. There was no Year 0: The supposed year of Jesus's birth was designated 1AD, the year before was 1 BC. The first century AD therefore began in 1AD, the second century in 101AD and so on... that's why pedants like me claim that the 21st Century actually began on 1st January 2001 not 1st January 2000! Although Dionysius Exiguus came up with the basic idea of AD it was developed by the British monk the Venerable Bede and others over the next few centuries into the BC/AD system we know today. Please note that BC and AD are now sometimes known as 'Before Common Era' and 'Common Era'.
  8. Sorry oldgreywolf...I'm sure you never have typos in any off your posts! And the OP is a primary trainee who didn't know quite how they were going to teach this...are your students allowed to get things wrong ever? Luckily we're different to scientists in that we have slightly deeper coneptual debates rather than just worrying about the 'stuff' we teach...
  9. MarkJH

    MarkJH New commenter

    Perhaps that should be 'Oldgreytroll'? We've all got to start somewhere. 'Judge not, that ye be not judged' to quote an (exactly) 400 year-old book.
  10. Just an addition

    Some people are now using BCE and CE.
    BCE is before common era - the years are the same as BC though, ie 42BC = 42BCE.

    CE is Common Era and 2010 AD= 2010 CE.
    It seems to be mainly in american publications but does crop up.
    Depending on the cultural mix of your class you could ask them the year in the jewish, muslim and chinese calanders (or others depending on the mix).

    The year zero - well ask them how old they were before they were 1 year old? Or if they have baby siblings how old they are (the siblings).
  11. Anyone who has come through a proper education must know what AD means - for someone intending to teach history not to know is inconceivable.

  12. This is a bit harsh. I may not hold a degree in History but I have studied history at GCSE and A Level. I have good GCSEs, A levels and a first class degree and so I find it quite insulting that you think I have not had a proper education just because I have asked for help! Teachers are not perfect, I needed help and asked for it which shows that I care about the chidlren's education and about improving my own subject knowledge. Thank you to all the people who took their time out to help me.
  13. Crowbob

    Crowbob Senior commenter

    This is a sad indictment on our education system if true.
    I would have hoped that during your degree you were taught how to research things. If you cannot understand (from the numerous web answers out there) the concept of AD/BC I really do despair for the young people you are teaching. May sound harsh, but there it is.

  14. octo1

    octo1 New commenter

    Um, yes, I will have a go... and I guess I can include you on the list now, as muddle is perfectly valid in that context. Look it up. Pot, kettle?
  15. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    Some things you really ought to know from an effective education. You would have heard the words BC and AD so many times - how can you avoid it if you study history? It is also dead easy to post a question on a forum but a little bit of research would not go amiss.
    It is weird though - what do people who are Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews or....atheists think about this? Should we adopt CE instead of AD / BC?

    Just a thought.
  16. MarkJH

    MarkJH New commenter

    Could someone please tell me what the point of all this self-righteous 'you should be ashamed of yourself for not knowing what AD is' business is? The person asked for help, some of us responded positively. What do you want the enquirer to do, don sackcloth and ashes and give up any idea of being a teacher? I'm frequently startled at the gaps in people's general knowledge, my own included. Get over it.
  17. I completely agree, I often find that I don't know things that others think I should and I frequently find the same of other well educated people! Also the OP is from the primary sector so there is no reason for her to have a history degree. Surely forums are for asking questions and those who come here just to b*tch should go somewhere else...
  18. katnoodle

    katnoodle New commenter

    Hear hear!
  19. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    But don't you think that after being in education for 15 years, you would have heard the words AD and BC countless times and just wondered what it might have meant. It's not something you can avoid. In history, it's mentioned lots of times.

  20. Crowbob

    Crowbob Senior commenter

    The OP is teaching history to our children. It is worrying that they do not know something as fundamental as the meaning of AD.
    What is more worrying is that they studied History during school and have qualifications in the subject. What is most worrying is that they did attempt research and still failed to understand the meaning. So they came here to be spoon fed the answer. Maybe it is not the fault of the OP (though I am not a fan of blaming others for my own failings). If I knew my child's teacher had such poor subject knowledge at such a basic level I would be looking to move them to a different school.
    I would prefer for them not to be teaching history to primary children.

Share This Page