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The Literature Of Historical Thinking/Reasoning/Literacy. Essay

1942 words - 8 pages

This concept shall be discussed in relation to 4 explorations of Historical Understanding from the years 2000 to 2008. The Readings that have been included are: Van Boxtel and Van Drie's study into Historical Reasoning, Peter Seixas in the Centre for Historical Consciousness, Peter Lee in the International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research and Chapter 3 of Making History by Taylor and Young for the Curriculum Corporation.
Within the current literature on History Education there has yet to be a consensus as the terminology that covers what is actually being taught in History. The popular notion of History is a collection of knowable facts about the past and what is to be taught in History classrooms is a regurgitation of these facts. However in the last few years and what this article will attempt to cover is the exploration by various scholars into what is actually being taught in History in schools. As Peter Lee puts it “there is more to history than knowledge of token past events, but there is not always agreement as to what this 'more' should be.” (Lee, 2005) What constitutes this 'more' is explored by a number of scholars in connection to what constitutes the “aim of history education" (Van Boxtel & Van Drie, 2008). Van Boxtel and Van Drie suggest that there are four terms that are used when describing the concepts, within the readings covered for this review the three main terms used are Historical Literacy (P. Lee, Taylor and Young), Historical Reasoning (Van Boxtel & Van Drie) and Historical Thinking (P. Seixas), Van Boxtel and Van Drie recall a forth; Historical Consciousness (Van Boxtel & Van Drie, 2008). Within the context of this review the term Historical Literacy will be used when referring to the wider concept however, when discussing the individual articles the native term shall be utilised. (i.e. Historical Reasoning when referring to the research of Van Boxtel & Van Drie, Historical Thinking in relation to Peter Seixas' work). In order to understand the skills that are set within the study of History a breakdown of the common terminology is required. This leads to a greater understanding of what is taking place within the classroom and to what teaching history actually means.
"Making History" is a Teacher's guide to History education written by Tony Taylor and Carmel Young in Chapter 3 the authors set out a very comprehensive index of the 'elements of historical literacy' which leaves great amounts of room for interdisciplinary study including with ICT and Science. The most pertinent examples from their index are those elements that relate purely to history. These include the elements involving Events of the Past, Narratives of the Past, the Language of History, Historical Concepts (Causation and Motivation), Making Connections (to the present from the past), Contention and Contestability ("Understanding the 'rules' and the place of public and professional history debate" (Taylor & Young, 2004)), Moral...

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