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Att möta det förflutna i de historiska källorna. Ett utforskande av lärande och meningsskapande genom två källtolkningsuppgifter i historia
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Teaching and Learning in the Humanities (CeHum).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0142-9311
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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. no 2, p. 180-207
Keywords [en]
HISTORY TEACHING, LIFE-WORLD, CRITICAL ASPECTS, PRIMARY SOURCE ANALYSIS
Keywords [sv]
primärkällor, källtolkning, historieundervisning
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Arts, Humanities and Social Science Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-133776OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-133776DiVA, id: diva2:970964
Available from: 2016-09-15 Created: 2016-09-15 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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