Lesson 1 - Black and Tans

Understanding 1917 & Beyond

Lesson 1 - Black and Tans

The Royal Irish Constabulary Special Reserve – or Black and Tans, due to their initially mixed British Army/RIC uniforms – was a temporary auxiliary force recruited to assist the RIC during the War of Independence. Initially, mostly made up of ex-British soldiers, they quickly gained a reputation for their heavy-handed approach in response to the Irish nationalist uprising.

Resources with links to Statutory Requirements



  • Review the resources and links to explain who the Black and Tans were and what part they played in the War Of Independence.
  • Discuss the perceived consequences of the conduct of the Blank and Tans in Ireland during the War Of Independence.
  • Using the information from the links as an example, prepare and complete a creative response to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the topic.

Opportunities for Cross Curricular learning

Using ICT

The resources examine the topic utilizing a number of different media, which serve to engage pupils with the material, challenging them to think more creatively and encourage discussion.

The resources could inspire tasks that would support presenting, researching, desktop publishing, working with moving images, working with images and working with sound.


The resources provide pupils with the opportunity to develop their talking and listening, reading and writing skills through independent learning and shared experience.

Opportunities for Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities

Using the content, pupils have the opportunity to investigate meaning, explore ideas and analyse the information they are provided with. Within their individual learning, through group work and by questioning ideas, there is ample scope within the materials to include a focus on TS & PC. For this section, the following strands from the TS & PC framework are the most obvious to consider:

Managing Information

Pupils have the opportunity to:

  • plan and set goals and break a task into sub-tasks;
  • use their own and others’ ideas to locate sources of information; and
  • communicate with a sense of audience and purpose.

Thinking, Problem-Solving and Decision-Making

Pupils have the opportunity to:

  • make links between cause and effect;
  • justify methods, opinions and conclusions;
  • use different types of questions; and
  • make connections between learning in different contexts.

Being Creative

Pupils have the opportunity to:

  • experiment with ideas and questions;
  • make new connections between ideas/information;
  • learn from and value other people’s ideas;
  • challenge the routine method; and
  • take risks for learning.

Working with Others

Pupils have the opportunity to:

  • listen actively and share opinions;
  • give and respond to feedback;
  • take personal responsibility for work with others and evaluate their own contribution to the group;
  • be fair; and
  • suggest ways of improving their approach to working collaboratively.


Pupils have the opportunity to:

  • be aware of their personal strengths, limitations and interests;
  • organise and plan how to go about a task; and
  • focus, sustain attention and persist with tasks.

Opportunities to develop

Possible Task

Using image editing software, edit two existing images with captions that explain who the Black and Tans were and why they were viewed in a controversial light during the War Of Independence.

Working in pairs, research and save two suitable images and script captions to go along with the images. Use image editing software to combine the image and captions to produce a creative response to the topic.

Areas of Learning: The Arts (Art and Design), Language and Literacy (English/Irish with Media Education), Environment and Society (History)

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