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Historical enquiry with archaeological artefacts in primary school
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0142-9311
2019 (English)In: Nordidactica: Journal of Humanities and Social Science Education, ISSN 2000-9879, no 1, p. 78-104Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article contributes with knowledge of primary school pupils’ learning of historical enquiry with an intercultural perspective on the Viking age and investigates what it means for pupils to learn to interpret archaeological artefacts. Research was conducted as a Learning study with 10 and 11-year-old pupils and lessons were performed as historical enquiry with archaeological artefacts. Three questions are posed: (1) how were the pupils’ historical consciousness activated by the archaeological artefacts, (2) how did the pupils experience the task of interpreting archaeological artefacts with an intercultural perspective, and (3) what are critical aspects for this learning? Three variation patterns that activated pupils’ historical consciousness are identified, including (a) material, (b) cultural and (c) normative contrasts. Four perception categories for historical interpretation of archaeological artefacts and three critical aspects are also identified. It is suggested that it is critical for the pupils to discern (i) historicity, (ii) historical representativeness and (iii) intercultural interaction in relation to artefacts and historical narratives. The study suggests that teachers could start from archaeological artefacts to activate pupils’ historical consciousness, rather than from textbook narratives and that pupils’ perceptions should be seen as a resource in enabling historical learning. Also, historical enquiry appears to be a reasonable approach to teaching intercultural perspectives on a historical content. These findings can be valuable for history educators and researchers who engage in teaching historical enquiry with an intercultural perspective from material culture.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. no 1, p. 78-104
Keywords [en]
HISTORY TEACHING, INTERCULTURAL LEARNING, HISTORICAL ENQUIRY, SOURCING, ARCHAEOLOGICAL ARTEFACTS, PRIMARY SCHOOL, PHENOMENOGRAPHY, VARIATION THEORY, HISTORICAL CONSCIOUSNESS
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Arts, Humanities and Social Science Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-168131OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-168131DiVA, id: diva2:1305929
Available from: 2019-04-19 Created: 2019-04-19 Last updated: 2019-09-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Lära historia genom källor: Undervisning och lärande av historisk källtolkning i grundskolan och gymnasieskolan
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lära historia genom källor: Undervisning och lärande av historisk källtolkning i grundskolan och gymnasieskolan
2019 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Learning history through historical source materials : Teaching and learning historical source interpretation in primary and secondary school
Abstract [en]

This doctoral thesis is concerned with how students learn historical source interpretation and the design of facilitating teaching practices. Source interpretation is at the core of historians’ professional practice and, while being a key aspect of historical learning, it is sometimes misunderstood or misrepresented in history teaching. To better understand these issues two educational design research field studies were conducted in middle and upper secondary schools to explore how students learn historical source interpretation. The historical content in upper secondary school concerned the process of democratisation in Sweden, while the middle school content was the Viking Age. Source materials in upper secondary school included various text sources, while archaeological artefacts were used in middle school.

The research object was historical source interpretation, or the ability to understand the meaning of sources in relation to the historical questions and contexts formulated and dealt with in history teaching. Source interpretation is one element of the ability to reason historically. It is a theoretical construct that has a heuristic function along with the development of historical consciousness. Four research questions are addressed: i) What do middle and upper secondary school students know when they have developed the ability to reason historically when engaged in source interpretation, ii) What are critical aspects of learning to reason historically when engaged in source interpretation, iii) What are similarities and differences between middle and upper secondary school students' learning of historical reasoning in source interpretation, and iv) How can history teaching facilitate the learning of historical reasoning through source interpretation?

An interventionist and theory-informed research methodology, in the form of learning study, was used to develop teaching practices while generating empirical data. A compilation of four peer-reviewed articles simultaneously contribute knowledge to the practice of history teaching and to the theory of history didactics. Two articles address the first two questions of the qualitative meaning of learning source interpretation using phenomenography and variation theory to analyse students' perceptions and to identify the critical aspects of discernment that students must learn. From the perspective of variation theory, it is argued that learning source interpretation can be regarded as obtaining differentiated ways of seeing, as previous experiences are supplemented with more complex perceptions.

The third question is addressed by comparing students’ developing of source interpretation skills in middle and upper secondary school. One finding of the comparison is that younger students’ learning reflects an increasing understanding of what history is, whereas older students learn to use the disciplinary tools and methods of history. Two articles address the final question regarding the role of teaching by combining content-based conversation analysis with variation theory to analyse students' learning processes when working with source interpretation tasks. It is argued that students’ preunderstandings can be regarded and used as resources in teaching and learning. Finally, seven design principles are suggested to guide teachers in organising their teaching practice. These include motivating historical research through source work and activating historical consciousness through sources.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för de humanistiska och samhällsvetenskapliga ämnenas didaktik, Stockholms universitet, 2019. p. 188
Keywords
history teaching, historical enquiry, primary source analysis, source criticism, source interpretation, interpretation of historical sources, historical consciousness, intercultural historical learning, learning study, phenomenography
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Arts, Humanities and Social Science Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-172259 (URN)978-91-7797-767-4 (ISBN)978-91-7797-768-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-10-11, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-09-18 Created: 2019-08-28 Last updated: 2019-10-16Bibliographically approved

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