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Lära historia genom källor: Undervisning och lärande av historisk källtolkning i grundskolan och gymnasieskolan
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0142-9311
2019 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Learning history through historical source materials : Teaching and learning historical source interpretation in primary and secondary school (English)
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 The historical content in upper secondary school concerned the process of democratisation in Sweden, while the middle school content was the Viking Age.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 [en]
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: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-172259ISBN: 978-91-7797-767-4 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7797-768-1 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-172259DiVA, id: diva2:1346457
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
List of papers
1. Vad kan gymnasieelever när de kan tolka historiska primärkällor? Ett utforskande av innebörder och kritiska aspekter av historisk källtolkning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Vad kan gymnasieelever när de kan tolka historiska primärkällor? Ett utforskande av innebörder och kritiska aspekter av historisk källtolkning
2014 (Swedish)In: Faglig kunnskap i skole og lærerutdanning: nordiske bidrag til samfunnsfag- og historiedidaktikk / [ed] Lise Kvande, Bergen: Fagbokforlaget, 2014, p. 90-112Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The article uses phenomenography to explore how fifteen upper secondary school students perceive a historical primary source in an interpretative process, and the difficulties the students encounter when examining the source. Empirical data was collected through a series of group interviews where students were asked to respond to a historical letter. Three research questions are addressed: Firstly, how do students experience, or perceive, the historical primary source? Secondly, what is critical for the students to discern when they interpret the historical source? Thirdly, what does knowing how to interpret historical primary sources actually mean? The phenomenographic analysis of the interview material resulted in four qualitatively different categories of experiences of the historical source that the students examined. The first category constitutes a temporal dimension of experiences, the second a human dimension, the third a contextual dimension and the fourth category can be seen as an epistemological dimension. The main results, however, are three critical aspects that emerge between the four categories of experiences. The analysis shows, firstly, that it is critical to discern how temporal perspectives affect the way we interpret historical sources. Secondly, that it is critical for the students to discern the historical perspective on the source. Secondly, that it is critical for them to discern the perspective of historical actors. And thirdly, that it is critical for them to discern the subtext of the source in relation to the historical context. Based on the three critical aspects and their meanings, the meaning of knowing how to interpret historical primary sources is discussed, as well as the possible consequences for the teaching of history.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bergen: Fagbokforlaget, 2014
Keywords
historiedidaktik, källtolkning, kritiska aspekter, fenomenografi
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Arts, Humanities and Social Science Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-133777 (URN)978-82-321-0404-8 (ISBN)
Available from: 2016-09-15 Created: 2016-09-15 Last updated: 2019-09-04Bibliographically approved
2. Att möta det förflutna i de historiska källorna. Ett utforskande av lärande och meningsskapande genom två källtolkningsuppgifter i historia
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Att möta det förflutna i de historiska källorna. Ett utforskande av lärande och meningsskapande genom två källtolkningsuppgifter i historia
2014 (Swedish)In: Nordidactica: Journal of Humanities and Social Science Education, ISSN 2000-9879, no 2, p. 180-207Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article uses a form of content focused conversation analysis to explore processes of learning and attributing meaning when upper secondary students work with two primary source assignments in history. Empirical data was collected through audio recordings of students’ collaborative work on the assignments, which consisted in analysing two primary sources in small groups. The article addresses one primary research question: what is characteristic for the processes of learning and meaning-making when students work with two source analysis assignments? As a first step, the students’ learning processes, understood as a change in participation in the learning activity, are described. As a second step, the article describes how the students’ construct meaning when working with the primary sources. The main results are descriptions of the students’ learning, and meaning-making, processes. Based on the analysis of the students’ conversations it is suggested that the temporal aspect is discerned in a contrastive process between the present and the past in terms of values, ideas and societal conditions. In relation to the human aspect the students experienced a difficult balancing act in contrasting their own perspective with the historical actor’s perspective. However, a successful strategy was to take on the role of hypothetical historical agents. Finally, in relation to the contextual aspect once the students were involved in a process of inquiry and reasoning they managed to discern subtexts of the sources in relation to the historical context. It is suggested that certain aspects of school culture might inhibit the students’ learning of primary source analysis, as they occasionally strive to find the "right answers" rather than engaging in interpretative work. One interesting finding was the vital role of the students’ life-world perspective in creating meaning while working with the primary sources, and it is suggested that this perspective should be regarded in educational design.

Keywords
HISTORY TEACHING, LIFE-WORLD, CRITICAL ASPECTS, PRIMARY SOURCE ANALYSIS, primärkällor, källtolkning, historieundervisning
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Arts, Humanities and Social Science Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-133776 (URN)
Available from: 2016-09-15 Created: 2016-09-15 Last updated: 2019-09-04Bibliographically approved
3. Historical enquiry with archaeological artefacts in primary school
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Historical enquiry with archaeological artefacts in primary school
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.

Keywords
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:nbn:se:su:diva-168131 (URN)
Available from: 2019-04-19 Created: 2019-04-19 Last updated: 2019-09-04Bibliographically approved
4. Historical enquiry in primary school: Teaching interpretation of archaeological artefacts from an intercultural perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Historical enquiry in primary school: Teaching interpretation of archaeological artefacts from an intercultural perspective
2019 (English)In: History Education Research Journal, ISSN 2631-9713, Vol. 16, no 2, p. 248-273Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article aims to explore how learning historical interpretation of Viking age archaeological artefacts from an intercultural perspective could be facilitated through historical enquiry in primary school. Three design principles were formulated for the teaching: 1) enquiry based upon an authentic intercultural question, 2) enquiry with a focus on source interpretation, and 3) enquiry using material culture in the form of archaeological artefacts. Two questions were addressed: first, how did the teaching design and practice facilitate the intended learning, and second, what obstacles to learning were encountered as a result of the design? Research data was analysed qualitatively using content-focused conversation analysis and variation theory. The findings in relation to the first question indicated that the design principles helped teachers facilitate learning through historical enquiry from an intercultural perspective, and that archaeological artefacts can inspire investigations into history by activating pupils’ historical consciousness. The answer to the second question indicated that pupils had difficulties responding to historical enquiries with synthesised inferences based on historical evidence. A revision of the final phase of the enquiry suggests that focus is on discussing reasonable explanations in relation to artefacts, rather than synthesising historical inferences based on evidence. This study points to possibilities of teaching historical interpretation and intercultural perspectives through historical enquiry in primary school and suggests that archaeological artefacts can be used to initiate historical learning.

Keywords
archaeological artefacts, historical enquiry, historical interpretation, intercultural learning, Swedish primary school, Viking age
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Arts, Humanities and Social Science Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-169579 (URN)10.18546/HERJ.16.2.07 (DOI)
Projects
In collaboration with the project ‘A common space’, supported by The Swedish National Heritage Board (RAÄ), grant number 3.2.2-5180-2016
Funder
Swedish National Heritage Board, 3.2.2-5180-2016
Available from: 2019-06-11 Created: 2019-06-11 Last updated: 2019-10-16

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