Tonight’s #histedchat gave me lots of food for thought. The topic was “Context vs Concepts in History Teaching”. Concept based learning is something I am really interested in. I think it’s easy to say that it is important and ‘the way to go’ (of course it is!), but in my daily practice as a teacher, I am always wondering how I can better incorporate conceptual learning. This #histedchat gave me more food for thought.
Some things I found:
Historical knowledge and understanding
Historical knowledge and understanding requires mastery of the procedures, tools and methods of thinking that constitute the discipline of history.
The knowledge of history is reflected in the concepts that are used to explore what happened in the past. These include revolution, imperialism, religion, everyday life and the concept of ‘world war’. Historical understanding is developed through additional concepts that help to make sense of the past. International research on historical pedagogy has identified core components of historical understanding. There are various articulations of these core components, which comprise:
The principles behind the selection of what should be remembered, investigated, taught and learned. Establishing historical significance involves going beyond what is personally interesting or congenial: it requires judgments of contemporary import, consequence,
durability and relevance.
How to find, select and interpret historical evidence. This involves comprehending the nature of a primary source, locating its provenance and context, asking questions about it, distinguishing between the claims it makes and the assumptions and values that give it its present shape, and the ability to compare competing primary sources.
Continuity and change:
Dealing with the complexity of the past. This involves the capacity to understand the sequence of events, to make connections by means of organising concepts including periodisation, and to evaluate change with an informed understanding of the principles of progress and decline.
Cause and consequence:
The interplay of human agency and conditions. This involves an appreciation of motivation and contestation, short-term events and embedded circumstances, the ways that the legacy of the past shapes intentions and the unintended consequences that arise from
The cognitive act of understanding the different social, cultural and intellectual contexts that shaped people’s lives and actions in the past. This involves an understanding of the dangers of anachronism and an appreciation of diverse perspectives on the past.
Historical empathy and moral judgement:
The capacity to enter into the world of the past with an informed imagination and ethical responsibility. The discipline of history constrains the practitioner from imposing personal preferences on the evidence but all meaningful historical accounts involve explicit or implicit moral judgement, and historians require an awareness of their own values and the impact of these values on their historical understanding.
Contestation and contestability:
Dealing with alternative accounts of the past. History is a form of knowledge that shapes popular sentiment and frequently enters into public debate. This requires the ability to connect the past with the self and the present, and appreciation of the rules that apply to professional and public debate over history.
Applying historical understanding to the investigation, analysis and resolution of problems. History seeks explanation with a particular awareness of context and contingency. Through the components of historical understanding the study of history fosters the capacity to formulate problems in a manner amenable to informed reasoning.
I have much more to add about this topic (i.e. the MYP key concepts and related concepts, Lynn Erickson’s writing, links from the histedchat) but I’ll leave it for now. This blog will be a work in progress. Bed time now. 🙂